Why You Need Agile Development

The traditional "Waterfall" approach to software development costs too much and almost always takes much longer than expected. Agile Development does much better.

The Waterfall method looks like this:

Traditional Waterfall Software Development

When the requirement is well known and there are engineers who can produce an excellent requirements analysis, the waterfall method can work well.

Unfortunately this is almost never the case. It is certainly never the case when developing a new product or an MVP. As a result, attempts to develop new products using the Waterfall software development method always require more iterations of the method than expected and this results in excessive costs and missed delivery times.

The reason for this failure is that we are human beings: Nobody can fully define a requirement for something new without actually seeing the parts of the product coming together and testing them against the business need. An effective, pragmatic software development method is essential. The method that works is known as Agile Development. Agile development values:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

In practice, we realise this by delivering a working software application or website on the first day of the work. Of course it wont do everything that is needed so issues are prioritised and reviewed. Then they are addressed and delivered as daily updates that can be reviewed and tested on a daily basis by everyone involved. Thus the Agile Development method looks more like this:

Agile Software Development Method

Each iteration is focused on delivering something useful and tangible and therefore may need to vary in duration but the goal is always for it to be short (usually a day and never more than two weeks). The iteration is commonly referred to as a 'sprint'.

For more detailed information on agile development:


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