Agile is a project management methodology that has been around for 20 years and it’s still going strong. There are many companies who use agile methodology to develop mobile apps, and the popularity of agile continues to grow.
The agile methodology can be used in any industry or sector and with any development technique, but it is especially helpful when developing mobile app projects because of its flexibility – also it was originally created to help with software development. In this article we will talk about why agile for mobile app development
Agile’s flexible role in mobile app development
Agile is the go-to project management tool for most mobile app agencies and with good reason. An app typically takes 6-12 months to develop, and planning for that time frame is no easy feat if an agency takes the traditional waterfall approach. The waterfall methodology specifies requirements before development and they are strictly followed throughout the entire development cycle, with little room for changes.
It’s typical that app development teams learn progressively as they are developing an app. Some original features may simply be outdated or no longer wanted as new mobile OS’s (iOS or Android OS) are introduced by Apple and Google (usually once a year) – or after testing the app with focus groups.
The same goes for new features the dev team learns about during development. Waterfall is not made for software development, agile is. Let’s look at agile’s core values.
Agile’s 4 core values
17 industry leaders met in 2001 and defined the four core philosophies of agile:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”
Agile favour giving each team member responsibility in the area of expertise. The result is an increased collaboration between team members and a heightened sense of satisfaction after successfully reaching a milestone.
“Working software over comprehensive documentation”
The agile manifesto states, “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software”. The agile philosophy requires that teams deliver smaller working pieces of the app during development instead of having a large upfront documentation process.
“Customer collaboration over contract negotiation”
This one speaks for itself – agile favours developing relationships with customers rather than strictly adhering to contracts. Agile teams focus on the most important features and work continuously during development closely with the customer to build an app they will love and use, rather than focusing solely on what’s written in a contract or specification document.
“Responding to change over following a plan”
This is a huge game changer in project management philosophy. As we mentioned, an app project is a lengthy process, and changes are likely to happen in that timeframe. Agile allows for the app to be changed at any time during development to meet any new requirements.
Agile paired with Scrum – a dominant combination
One of agile’s most popular subsets is scrum. Scrum adopts an agile approach to the development process through short cycles, or sprints – typically running between one week and a month long throughout the entire app lifespan.
Each sprint starts with individual goals which are reviewed at the end of each cycle. These goals can be adjusted based on new information and agile core values.
There are three roles in agile: the product owner, scrum master and development team – each with specific duties which we will discuss below.
The product owner is responsible for managing customer engagement throughout app development while also providing direction for the agile team. The product owner is there to make sure that clarity of vision, goals and objectives are constantly communicated throughout development.
The scrum master ensures agile core values and rules of engagement are followed. The scrum master also works closely with the development team to ensure that they stay focused on completing goals for each sprint, as well as ensuring any conflicts or roadblocks are handled quickly and efficiently before moving forward.
Developers work collaboratively during agile – there is no clear distinction between developers and designers as there is in waterfall. The agile team works together from the beginning of a sprint cycle to define requirements, build and test features – all with the goal of creating working software.
The agile methodology is the optimal project management tool when developing mobile apps. It provides a flexible framework for planning and development, while remaining adaptable to any changes that may arise in your app’s lifespan – making agile a winner for everyone involved in the app development process.
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Michael earned degrees in computer and business science, later graduating with top scores from Denmark’s prestigious multimedia program. His specialties include experimenting with digital technologies, creative direction, web and mobile app UI/UX design and is the co-founder of the app development agency Inspire Visual.
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