A Beginners Guide To The Agile Method

Our web design teams utilize portions of the Agile and Scrum methodology within our projects. Below is an overview of the Agile process and a simple definition of the Agile methodology for beginners starting in software design and website development or those wanting to integrate the methodology into their web design and development process.

The Agile Method and methodology is a particular approach to project management utilized in software development. This Method assists teams in responding to the unpredictability of constructing software. It uses incremental, iterative work sequences that are commonly known as sprints.

A sprint is a period allocated for a particular phase of a project. Sprints are considered to be complete when the period expires. There may be disagreements among the team members as to whether or not the development is satisfactory; however, there will be no more work on that particular phase of the project. The remaining steps of the project will continue to develop within their respective time frames.


There is terminology that is widely used during the agile process. This terminology includes the following:

  • Acceptance Test: An acceptance test confirms that a story is complete by matching a user action scenario with the desired outcome. Acceptance testing is also called beta, application, and end-user testing.
  • Customer: A customer is a person who understands both the business needs and operational constraints for a project that guides development.
  • Domain Model: The domain model is the application domain responsible for creating a shared language between business and IT.
  • Iteration: An iteration is a single development cycle, usually one week or two weeks.
  • Planning Board: A planning board is used to track the progress of an agile development project. After iteration planning, stories are written on cards and pinned up on a planning board priority order.
  • Planning Game: A planning game is a meeting attended by IT and business teams focused on choosing stories for a release or iteration.
  • Release: A release is a deployable software package that is a culmination of several development iterations.
  • Release Plan: An evolving flowchart that describes which features will be delivered in upcoming releases.
  • Spike: A spike is a story that cannot be estimated until a development team runs a time-boxed investigation.
  • Stand-up: This is a daily progress meeting; everyone stands up and meets to keep engaged and motivated. A stand-up is traditionally held within a development area.
  • Story: A particular business needs to be assigned to the software development team. Stories must be broken down into small enough components to be delivered in a single development iteration.
  • Time-box: A time box is a defined period during which a task must be accomplished.
  • Velocity: The velocity is the budget of story units available for planning the next iteration of a development project. Velocity is based on measurements taken during previous iteration cycles.
  • Wiki: A wiki is a server program that allows users to collaborate in forming the content of a Web site.

The General Principles of the Agile Method

  • Satisfy the client and continually develop software.
  • Changing requirements are embraced for the client’s competitive advantage.
  • Concentrate on delivering working software frequently. Delivery preference will be placed in the shortest possible period.
  • Developers and business people must work together throughout the project.
  • Projects must be based on motivated people. Please give them the proper environment and the support that they need. They should be trusted to get their jobs done.
  • Face-to-face communication is the best way to transfer information to and from a team.
  • Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  • Agile processes will promote sustainable development. Therefore, sponsors, developers, and users should maintain an indefinite, constant pace.
  • Constant attention to technical excellence and good design will enhance agility.
  • Simplicity is considered the art of maximizing the work that is not done and is essential.
  • Self-organized teams usually create the best designs.
  • The team will regularly reflect on becoming more effective and tune and adjust their behavior accordingly.

Benefits of Using the Agile Method

  • The Agile Method grew from the experience with the real-life projects of leading software professionals from the past. Because of this, the challenges and limitations of traditional development have been discarded. Subsequently, the industry has accepted the Agile Method is a better solution to project development.
  • This Method offers a light framework for assisting teams. It helps them function and maintains focus on rapid delivery. This focus assists capable organizations in reducing the overall risks associated with software development.
  • The Agile Method ensures that value is optimized throughout the development process. The use of iterative planning and feedback results in teams that can continuously align a delivered product that reflects the desired needs of a client. It easily adapts to changing requirements throughout the process by measuring and evaluating the status of a project. The measuring and considering allow accurate and early visibility into the progress of each project.
  • It could be stated that the Agile Method helps companies build the right product. Instead of marketing software before it is written, the Agile Method empowers teams to optimize the release during its development. This allows the product to be as competitive as possible within the marketplace. It preserves the relevance of the critical market, and it ensures that a team’s work doesn’t wind up collecting dust on a shelf. As a result, the Agile Method is an attractive developmental option for stakeholders and developers.

Criticism of Agile Development

  • It is developer-centric rather than user-centric.
  • Agile focuses on getting requirements and developing code and does not focus on product design.
  • Agile methodologies can also be inefficient in large organizations and specific projects.

Difference Between Agile and Traditional (Waterfall or Spiral) Development

Fundamental Assumptions
Traditional: Systems are fully specifiable, predictable, and built through meticulous and extensive planning.
Agile: High-quality, adaptive software can be developed by small teams using the principles of continuous design improvement and testing based on rapid feedback and change.

Traditional: Process-centric
Agile: People-centric

Management Style
Traditional: Command-and-control
Agile: Leadership-and-collaboration

Knowledge Management
Traditional: Explicit
Agile: Tacit

Role Assignment
Traditional: Individual—favors specialization
Agile: Self-organizing teams—encourages role interchangeability

Traditional: Formal
Agile: Informal

Customer’s Role
Traditional: Important
Agile: Critical

Project Cycle
Traditional: Guided by tasks or activities
Agile: Guided by product features

Development Model
Traditional: Life cycle model (Waterfall, Spiral, or some variation)
Agile: The evolutionary-delivery model

Desired Organizational Form/Structure
Traditional: Mechanistic
Agile: Organic

Traditional: No restriction
Agile: Favors object-oriented technology