Agile Software Development 101: Definition, Pros & Cons

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Are you new to software development? Are you wondering what agile software development is and how it differs from traditional methods?

Software developers are responsible for creating complex applications that allow people to interact with and use technology easily. In the past, software was built using the traditional waterfall method. This was problematic as it relied heavily on upfront planning and long coding and testing cycles and was only sometimes adapted to changes in project requirements.

By understanding the elements of agile methods, you will have an advantage when choosing the best Global Software Companies for your project. This article will discuss the basics of Agile Software Development (ASD), including its definition, advantages, and disadvantages compared to traditional development methods.

What Is Agile Software Development?

Agile software development follows an iterative approach, emphasizing customer collaboration, frequent delivery of software, and responsiveness to change. The values and principles of the Agile Manifesto serve as its foundation.

It was developed in 2001 by software professionals, including Dave Thomas, Ken Schwaber, and Mike Beedle. The manifesto outlines four central values: individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change.

The manifesto emphasizes that individuals and interactions are more important than processes and tools, that working software is more important than comprehensive documentation, that customer collaboration is more important than contract negotiation, and that responding to change is more important than following a plan.

Types of Agile Frameworks

There are five main types of agile software development methodology: Scrum, Kanban, XP (Extreme Programming), DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method), and Lean. Each framework has its own unique set of tools and processes for managing work.

  • Scrum is the most popular agile framework used by many software development teams. It focuses on self-organizing teams that work together to complete tasks in short sprints. The scrum framework comprises three roles: the product owner, the scrum master, and the development team.
  • Kanban is a framework that focuses on visualizing workflows and limiting work-in-progress (WIP) to increase productivity. It is based on the Japanese Lean manufacturing system and uses a Kanban board to track tasks and progress.
  • Extreme Programming (XP) is an agile software development methodology focusing on rapid feedback and continuous improvement. It encourages teams to work collaboratively to create working software quickly. The XP framework consists of four main activities: planning, coding, testing, and listening.
  • DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method) is an agile framework for managing projects that emphasizes delivery within fixed timescales and budgets. It is based on the principles of adaptive planning, evolutionary development, and early delivery.
  • The Lean framework is based on the Toyota Production System (TPS) and focuses on reducing waste and efficiently using resources. It emphasizes creating value for customers, continuous learning, and implementing small changes quickly.

Advantages of Agile Methodologies

Agile methodology has seen a rise in popularity in the software development industry due to its numerous advantages. It involves an iterative and incremental approach focusing on collaboration, customer feedback, and flexibility, enabling quick delivery of products that fulfill customer requirements.

Cost Savings

Product owners can save significant money by implementing agile methods as they can respond quickly to changing market needs. Agile practices use the user story as a base for creating a product that meets the customer’s requirements. With a proper project manager and segmentation, agile teams can increase efficiency while cutting costs or increasing their ROI (return on investment). 

Increased Productivity

Agile project management allows continuous delivery in a cross-functional team with short iterations. The unit can quickly identify problems and develop solutions during the development process, thereby eliminating the wastage of time and resources.

Agile gives developers more flexibility when developing software by allowing them to prioritize their tasks quickly and effectively. It means that modifications can more rapidly flow from one stage into another, cutting down on costly delays during the software development lifecycle. In addition, less time spent waiting for approval from stakeholders allows teams to react faster when something goes wrong, or changes need to be made during the process.


Agile development offers an advantage over traditional methods when it comes to flexibility. Working in short sprints allows teams to adjust quickly and pivot when needed without significant reworking or delay. This is especially beneficial for projects that are difficult to predict and require regular changes in scope, as teams can easily accommodate them without having to go back and rework the entire project.

Customer Satisfaction

With an agile approach to software development and by improving the development cycle of the software or any engineering product, customers are more likely to be satisfied with the end product. Agile offers customer satisfaction through frequent delivery of features and iterative development, allowing for customer feedback at each process stage. This helps create a product that meets customer requirements and prevents last-minute surprises or changes.

Disadvantages of Agile Methodologies

Agile methodology has its disadvantages, as certain risks are involved with this approach. Even though an iterative process can improve team dynamics by self-organizing cross-functional teams, certain pitfalls can happen along the way.

Lack of Documentation

The agile methodology needs to emphasize comprehensive documentation, as the focus is shifted towards short sprints and quick deliveries, which can lead to miscommunication between team members. This lack of documentation can also create difficulty for teams needing to maintain and update the product in the future.

Tight Schedules and Overburdening Teams

Due to the iterative nature of agile methodology, it is easy for teams to become overburdened as they try to meet tight delivery deadlines. Sprint planning focuses on delivery over output. This can lead to burnout and frustration among team members, decreasing productivity.

Outdated Practices & Technologies

One of the main disadvantages of agile methodology is that it relies heavily on outdated practices and technologies. Adopting new methods and technologies during the development cycle may be challenging as teams are focused on short sprints, causing them to miss out on recent technological trends and advancements.

Final Thoughts

Agile software development offers many advantages over traditional methods, such as increased productivity and flexibility. It also presents risks, such as needing more documentation and overburdening teams. 

Ultimately, the decision to use agile methodology is up to the product owner. The benefits can outweigh the potential risks if the project is suitable for an agile approach. Choose wisely!


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