Understanding Agile: What Is Agile Methodology?

Have you heard of teams being ‘agile’, but weren’t sure how it worked? Or have you wondered if the agile methodology would work for your business?

We have to go back to the Agile Manifesto for the roots of the agile project management system. Written in 2001, the Manifesto laid out the method’s main principles.

It first applied to software, helping developers to create products much faster. Now, any team can use the agile methodology if they need to deliver products on a quick timescale.

So what is agile methodology? Read on to learn more.

What Does Agile Mean?

The key to the methodology lies in the word ‘agile’. It’s a flexible framework that lets a company react to challenges. They’re literally agile in their approach to the work.

It’s also an umbrella term including different forms of the agile process. Other approaches include Extreme Programming, Kanban, and Scrum.

Software requirements can change throughout the lifespan of a project. By regularly reviewing the product, it’s easier to feed changes into it. 

Even if you don’t make software, this type of continual development works for other projects. It’s less ‘fixed’ and lets you adapt to changes in your industry.

What Is Agile Methodology?

In the old ‘waterfall’ development process, teams work in a linear fashion. They finish a phase of a project, then move onto the next. The work ‘cascades’ down the ladder until the project ends.

Under agile, things happen differently. 

The project is divided into phases. The team allocates a set period of time, known as a sprint, to each phrase.

Team members work on the project until the sprint ends. The sprint is considered finished even if the development isn’t complete.

This stops projects running over as sprints have a definitive endpoint.

The client views the work and provides feedback. Teams can embed any changes into the project on the fly as requirements evolve.

What Are the Advantages to Agile?

The agile methodology is a cyclical form of working. Everyone in the team knows what they need to be doing and when. This gives them an excellent way to stay focused.

It also gives many opportunities to get feedback during the development process. This is ideal if the market frequently changes or the client has new needs to address. 

Using the waterfall method, teams might make a product that is out-of-date on release. Thanks to agile, products stay up-to-date.

The agile methodology also works well with lean product management strategies. The finished product is more of a collaboration with the client.

Are There Any Disadvantages?

The only real drawback is that it focuses on the teams rather than the users. The teams place their emphasis on creating the product rather than designing it.

This can be a problem in software, with a focus on code over the design. In other areas, this may be less of an issue.

Enjoy Success With Agile

If someone asks you “What is agile methodology?” you can now answer. The methodology’s focus on continual improvement ensures the client gets the best possible version of a product.

It also means teams work on the most important tasks at each phase of project development. It’s a great way to manage which team members work on specific parts of the project.

Why not check out our management articles for more advice on project management frameworks?