What is Agile methodology in software development?

Agile software development is a set of principles in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change. Agile itself has never defined any specific methods to achieve this, but many have grown up as a result and have been recognized as being "Agile".

Agile principles

Agile principles are based on Agile Manifesto, which was declared by group of enthusiasts in February 2001.

  1. Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable software
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even in late development
  3. Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)
  4. Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers
  5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  6. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  7. Working software is the principal measure of progress
  8. Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  10. Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential
  11. Best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams
  12. Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective, and adjusts accordingly

There are various methodologies that are collectively known as agile, as they promote the values of the agile manifesto and they are consistent with the above principles. The most popular ones are:

DSDM is probably the original agile development method. DSDM was around before the term ‘agile’ was even invented, but is absolutely based on all the principles we’ve come to know as agile.

Scrum is also an agile development method, which concentrates particularly on how to manage tasks within a team-based development environment. Scrum is the most popular and widely adopted agile method – probably because it is relatively simple to implement and addresses many of the management issues that have plagued IT development teams for decades.

XP (Extreme Programming) is a more radical agile methodology, focusing more on the software engineering process and addressing the analysis, development and test phases with novel approaches that make a substantial difference to the quality of the end product.

Short answer

  • Agile software development is a set of principles which promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change.
  • Agile methodology is based on principles declared in Agile Manifesto published in February 2001.
  • There are many various Agile methodologies, most known and popular are Scrum, XP (Extreme Programming), DSDM.

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