All about Agile SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)
By Sourojit Das, Community Contributor - July 25, 2023
Today, businesses are constantly searching for strategies to keep up with the accelerated rate of market and technological change. When rapidity is the name of the game, development teams must be more fluid and adaptable than ever before.
Agile methodology is the latest buzzword when organisations require structure, organisation, greater adaptability, and cross-functionality. Agile product development methodologies adhere to the principles and values outlined in the Agile Manifesto for software development. Agile software development requires Agile testing as a prerequisite.
Between 2020 and 2021, the prevalence of Agile methodologies increased from 37% to 86%. But what motivates the pervasive adoption of Agile development methodologies?
Unlike conventional software development methodologies, Agile testing is performed concurrently with development. It is not necessary for developers to complete the development phase and then wait for testers to evaluate the software.
With instant evaluations conducted during the development phase, the development process can be made more efficient. The disruption of the sequence is the driving force behind the widespread adoption of Agile testing methodology.
What is Agile SDLC
Agile is a software development methodology that anticipated the need for adaptability and applied a measure of pragmatism to the delivery of the final product. Agile software development necessitates a cultural shift in many organisations due to its emphasis on the clean distribution of individual software components as opposed to the application as a whole.
Agile’s benefits include its capacity to assist teams in a dynamic environment while maintaining a focus on the efficient deliverance of business value. As teams work together and comprehend their specific roles in the process, the collaborative culture fostered by Agile increases the overall efficiency of the organisation. Because testing is performed throughout development, businesses utilizing Agile software development can release high-quality products with confidence. This affords the opportunity to make necessary adjustments and alerts teams to any prospective problems.
Agile has largely supplanted waterfall as the most popular development methodology in the majority of businesses, but it is in danger of being eclipsed or absorbed by the rising popularity of DevOps.
Must Read: How do Agile and DevOps interrelate?
What is Scrum vs Agile SDLC?
Scrum in Agile is a method that enables software development teams to focus on delivering business value in the shortest time possible by inspecting functioning software repeatedly and rapidly. Scrum Framework typically addresses the fact that requirements are susceptible to change or are typically unknown at the outset of a project.
|Agile is a continuous iteration of software development and testing,||Scrum is an Agile process that focuses on delivering business value in the minimum time possible.|
|Agile methodology regularly delivers software for feedback||Scrum delivers software after each iteration.|
|In the Agile methodology, leadership is crucial||Scrum fosters a self-organizing, cross-functional team.|
|Agile entails collaborations and face-to-face interactions between members of multiple cross-functional teams,||Scrum collaboration is accomplished through daily stand-up meetings.|
|Agile process design and execution should be kept straightforward||Scrum process design and execution can be innovative and exploratory.|
Difference Stages of Agile Development
In the Agile lifecycle, a product typically passes through six SDLC phases or agile iterations over the course of a structured succession of stages. Each phase lasts one to three weeks and comprises the following:
Stage 1: Concept
At the beginning of the Agile development life cycle, stakeholders and product owners collaborate to define the scope and priorities of the project. They examine costs, projected completion time, desired features, and requirements to ascertain the viability of the undertaking.
Stage 2: Inception
The second of the six phases of the Agile development life cycle is the inception phase. During this phase, the founder selects the appropriate team members, allocates roles, and provides development with the necessary tools.
Before commencing the development phase, it is essential to establish a plan and define the fundamental set of methods and templates that will be used for future development activities. This planning stage, also known as the inception phase, is divided into two sections.
UI/UX design, in which designers construct a prototype of the user interface and experience after conducting a comprehensive analysis of their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
Product architecture, wherein a dedicated team discusses the most appropriate tools to meet business requirements, such as frameworks, containers, and programming languages.
At the conclusion of this phase, the team and software architecture are established, enabling you to proceed to the subsequent phase.
Stage 3: Iteration
This phase is typically the longest and requires close collaboration between UI/UX designers and developers to ensure that all business requirements and feedback are incorporated into the code. During this phase, the team works through development iterations to complete the product backlog.
The iteration (or development) phase is fundamental to the agile methodology, as it enables the team to create a product with minimal features, with additional functionality introduced later. After the development phase has concluded, it is time to conduct quality assurance activities, produce technical documentation, and conclude the iteration.
Stage 4: Testing
After evaluating the digital product at the conclusion of each sprint, the final phase of testing is conducted to ensure that the software functions flawlessly. The Agile life cycle includes the following categories of testing:
- Unit Testing: At this juncture, the QA team evaluates the performance and functionality of each front-end and back-end component independently.
- Integration Testing: During this phase, various product components are combined to ensure their compatibility.
- Acceptance Testing: Upon completion of this phase, quality assurance specialists evaluate the digital solution’s compliance with end-user specifications.
- System Testing: The complete system is tested to ensure that all of its components function properly. If the tests pass, the QA team authorizes the subsequent deployment phase.
All of these procedures are conducted by the designated team in order to evaluate the code’s quality and the product’s ability to meet business objectives. After passing all phases of testing, it is time to disseminate the product. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you require quality assurance services performed by industry professionals of the highest calibre.
Modern Agile development is dependent on cross-functional team collaboration. Thus, the aforementioned metrics have become less pertinent because they no longer pertain to the team’s overall performance. In addition, because testing and development are becoming concurrent, it is essential to employ metrics that reflect this integrated approach. The shared objectives and expectations of Agile teams comprised of both developers and testers assist in the creation of new metrics that benefit the entire team from a unified perspective.
Thus new Agile software metrics, Sprint Burndown, Velocity, Cumulative Flow Diagram etc must be used in order to better estimate the efficiency of Agile testing procedure in the Agile SDLC.
Pro Tip: Automated functional testing in Agile is the utilisation of automated testing tools and frameworks to evaluate the functionality of software features in an Agile software development process. In an Agile development process, software is developed in brief iterations, with the addition and testing of new features in each iteration. By automating repetitive and time-consuming functional tests, such as regression testing, automated functional testing enables the testing team to keep up with the rapid tempo of development.
Stage 5: Production
In this phase, the primary objective is to deliver a reliable and efficient product that satisfies the needs of the consumer. It is achieved by conducting quality assurance testing to guarantee that the product is error-free and functions effectively upon release.
After completion of all final testing and verification, the product is ready for release. To familiarise users with the software, development teams frequently provide training on its efficient use. When the dedicated team completes all tasks, they enter the final phase.
Stage 6: Review
At this point in an Agile software development project, the focus shifts from achieving a successful launch to sustaining long-term success. Customers frequently provide feedback, propose new features, or interact with recent updates after the product’s successful launch.
It is now the responsibility of the development and operations teams, as well as the stakeholders, to provide continuous support for the application to ensure that it runs smoothly.
Every time a new feature is introduced, it must be verified in conjunction with all other features. With each new compile, there is a chance that newly written code will conflict with previously written code, thereby disrupting existing features and functions. The user experience must be enhanced by novel functions, not diminished.
Regression testing facilitates this by determining if new code conflicts with or muddles older features. With each iteration, it ensures that new code either improves or leaves old code untouched.
Must Read: How to run Regression Testing in Agile Teams
Agile vs Traditional SDLC
The pre-defined phases/stages of the software development lifecycle are the foundation of conventional software development methodologies. Here, there is a unidirectional flow of development from requirements to design to development to testing and maintenance. In traditional approaches such as the Waterfall model, each phase has distinct deliverables and documentation that have been subjected to a comprehensive review.
With Agile methodology, large undertakings are divided into smaller chunks. Prior to continuing on to design and development, team members work concurrently toward the same objective using an iterative process with periodic checkpoints.
Each Sprint concludes with a review and test conducted by actual consumers and users. If a result falls short of expectations, you will return to requirement analysis. This is the procedure for each surge.
This diagram can better demonstrate the main differences in terms of project variables like cost, time, quality, etc.
The below table demonstrated the key differences between Agile and Traditional SDLC models
|Agile SDLC||Traditional SDLC|
|Ability to change at any phase of the development process||The initial plan is crystal clear and will not change once the endeavour has begun|
|There is collective accountability and ownership||There is a top-down a hierarchy of responsibility|
|Continuous investigation, planning, and testing throughout the SDLC||Research and Planning only happens in the initial phase|
|There is a continuous collaboration and partnership between different teams||Specialised teams exist for different phases|
|This is optimal for large-scale projects with distributed teams||This is optimal for small or medium projects and relatively geographically stable teams.|
Unlike traditional SDLC like Waterfall, agile frameworks have a collaborative and cross-functional approach to planning, analysis, design, and delivery. This involves the whole team. According to the CHAOS Report by the Standish Group (2020), agile projects are more successful than Waterfall projects, which have fewer challenges and fewer failures.
Benefits of Agile SDLC
Agile project management adheres to the Pareto principle, which states that 20% of effort yields 80% of results. Using the Agile SDLC method, teams deliver 80% of the product in just 20% of the time, concentrating on the software capabilities that provide the most value to customers. Agile’s benefits are obvious and straightforward.
Here are some of the core benefits of Agile SDLC:
- Agile delivery and operational display
- Minimal resource requirements
- A pragmatic software development strategy that emphasises effective collaboration and skill-sharing
- Adaptability to changing conditions and requirements
- Early delivery of insufficiently operational solutions
- Minimal standards and simple documentation
- The possibility of concurrent development and delivery within a well-known context
- Simple administration and remarkable adaptability
Limitations of Agile SDLC
Despite its potential benefits, Agile is not for everyone. Therefore, it is essential to understand the disadvantages of Agile methodology. In light of this, the following are five major disadvantages of Agile.
- Poor resource allocation: Because Agile is predicated on the notion that teams won’t know what their end result (or even a few cycles of delivery down the road) will look like from day one, it’s difficult to predict cost, time, and resources at the outset of a project (and this difficulty increases as projects become larger and more complex).
- Limited documentation: In Agile, documentation occurs throughout a project and frequently “just in time” for constructing the output, as opposed to at the outset. Consequently, it becomes less specific and is frequently pushed to the back burner.
- Dispersed output: Incremental delivery may aid in bringing products to market more quickly, but it is a major drawback of Agile methodology. When teams focus on each component in separate cycles, the final product is frequently fragmented, as opposed to a unified whole.
- No finite conclusion: Due to the fact that Agile requires minimal planning at the outset, it is simple to deliver new, unanticipated functionality. In addition, it implies that initiatives have no definitive conclusion because the “final product” is never clearly defined.
- Difficult measurement: Because Agile delivers in increments, tracking progress necessitates a cross-cycle perspective. And because of the “see-as-you-go” nature, you cannot establish many KPIs at the outset of the project. This lengthy game makes it difficult to measure progress.
4 C’s of Agile
The 4Cs exist to help agile and other project managers remember how to best hold people accountable: clarity, commitment, comment, and coach.
- Clarity. Clarifying what is required is the first step. Clarity of purpose, strategy, and roles and responsibilities facilitates the ability to hold individuals accountable, as they will understand what is expected of them. It establishes minimum standards.
- Commitment. Commitment is bidirectional. During the daily stand-up meeting, an essential agile event, team members vow to what they will work on the following day.
- Comment. When objectives are not met and activities are not completed as anticipated, team members must be informed. They need constructive feedback. This is not criticism, but rather an opportunity to discuss with the team member why they were unable to meet their obligations.
- Coach. Agile project managers must assume the roles of instructor and mentor when assuming the servant leadership role. Intentionally schedule one-on-one meetings with each team member to determine how you can best assist them in their work and professional development, and to recommend steps they can take to reduce waste and become more productive team members.
In addition to remembering the 4Cs, a servant leader must also exhibit the desired behaviours and be perceived as having high integrity. Building trust with the team and holding the team accountable for their work are two crucial steps in ensuring that the team is performing at its peak and making progress toward becoming a high-performing team.
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