Agile Product Development: A beginner’s guide 

Vikrant Shetty

August 10, 2023

4:29 pm

With today’s evolving markets, companies need to constantly adjust their strategies and products. This is where Agile product development comes in. The main goal of Agile is to increase performance, improvement and respond effectively to change risk and uncertainty. These practices and methods are based on the principles and values of Agile Manifesto, a document that came to prominence in 2001.

Agile development, as the name suggests, is flexible, interactive and you can stay up-to-date with real-time information. In other words, teams build the product using short iterations that enable frequent feedback and speedy delivery. 

Agile Product Development Process

The Agile methodology is a process which focuses on breaking down projects into small manageable tasks, known as sprints or iterations. Each sprint usually lasts from 1 to 4 weeks where cross-functional teams plan meetings to discuss and evaluate requirements, progress, and results. This is done so that they can respond to change quickly. The main objective is to take multiple iterations before launching the final product to market. This creates not just the working product, but also a high-quality solution. 

The Characteristics of Agile

There are few characteristics that set Agile methodology apart from any standard method.

  • It operates in development cycles: Each cycle lasts about one to four weeks which are evaluated regularly. These iterations help you to focus on improving even the smallest details.
  • It is based on a fixed period of time: This way, the fixed time frame gives an ensured productive result at the end.
  • It is open towards the client: This helps you to understand exactly what the customer wants. The goal is to satisfy customers through early and continuous delivery. 

Agile Product Development: The Pros and Cons

Like any other methodology, Agile has its merits and demerits.

The Pros

  • High flexibility: Each iteration ensures continuous delivery and frequent feedback which allows the product to go through many judgments, even in the tiny details. Agile teams tailor the product to the customers’ expectations.
  • Reduced risk: Within a fixed time-frame, testing is done at the end of each sprint. This helps you to detect the problems early and solve them accordingly. It adds to high customer satisfaction.
  • Faster time-to-market: Frequent feedback gives the companies a competitive advantage. Agile teams can react faster to market changes and shift the priorities as the project moves forward. 

The Cons

  • Less predictability: Adjusting and shifting to different priorities at the project evolves makes it harder to predict the cost, time, and resources.
  • More time and dedication: Agile product development demands working in teams or groups. A considerable commitment from everyone involved in the project needs to communicate and collaborate on a daily schedule basis.
  • Lack of long-term planning: Projects can go off track and fall behind schedule due to frequent changing requirements. Eventually you might lose sight of the original purpose of the project. 

Responsibilities carried out in an Agile Environment

Some of the responsibilities that are explicitly defined in the framework:

Development team – Self organised group of people who have the necessary skills to produce, test, and run a product.

Product owner – A product owner adds maximum value to the product, produced by the development team.

Scrum master – A servant leader who coaches the team in Agile practices.

Stakeholders – Stakeholders belong to the broad category of the people who are affected by the development of a software project. 

Principles of Agile

Agile methodology contains the list of principles. Among the list of principles, the basic idea involve –

  • Accepting, acknowledging, and embracing the continuously changing dynamic of the market and flow with them rapidly.
  • High-quality, cost efficient, and timely delivery of product, along with collaboration and transparency, are the fundamentals to meeting market demand.
  • Keeping the solutions simple and well-designed are crucial for handling projects.
  • Product-lead organisations thrive on continuous feedback. Face-to-face communication with the customer is the best way to reach your goal.
  • Lastly, satisfying the customers as quickly as possible by delivering the desired product. 

Conclusion

In an ever-changing competitive market, more and more companies are recognising the benefits of Agile Product Development. You and your product team should understand and fully embrace the Agile values and principles, if you want to succeed. In the end, the most important thing to remember is to put the customer first and deliver high-quality exceptional products.

Vikrant Shetty

August 10, 2023

4:29 pm

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