If you’ve worked with a development agency in the past, then you’re probably somewhat familiar with agile development methodology. At least enough to know that it’s become the most popular approach to web development. It’s one of the most common buzz words that’s thrown around in pitch decks, interviews, and probably every development course in the U.S.

But what is it, and why does it matter? We’re here to breakdown what agile methodology actually means, and what you’re getting when you work with an agile development team. 

What is Agile Development?

Agile web development is a specific approach to managing software engineering projects through to completion. 

When a team of developers work around a shared framework and philosophy, projects are completed faster, more accurately, and with smooth collaboration internally and with the client. As most development teams have found, agile happens to be one of the most effective frameworks. 

Agile Vs Waterfall

Agile may be the favorite, but it’s not the only development methodology. Waterfall is the second most common web development framework. 

Waterfall methodology is linear. Steps happen sequentially from start to finish. One project is started and finished before another can begin. 

In contrast, agile methodology allows for multiple iterations. Small pieces of the project are tackled at a time, allowing for reflection and improvements before moving onto the next goal (or “sprint”). 

The goal of both methodologies is to produce a finished product that meets all of a client’s specifications, on time and under budget. But the approach to making that happen looks much different in both frameworks. 

The Benefits of Agile Methodology Over Waterfall

Here are some of the reasons why most software engineering teams prefer agile methodology over waterfall:

  • It’s more collaborative. Agile methodology builds in time for briefing internally, and with the customer, as the project progresses. In traditional waterfall methodology, the project is completed before the team ever gets feedback from their client. 
  • It allows for changes throughout the project. Some software development projects are complex, and involve many different aspects over the course of a few months. Agile methodology invites a team to learn as they go, so they can constantly improve their approach, and make tweaks to their project. Waterfall, on the other hand, assumes that the goals of a project will remain exactly the same from start to finish. 
  • Teams can work on multiple projects at once. Agile development breaks down projects into shorter pieces, or sprints. For agencies that are working on multiple projects at once, this method allows developers to work simultaneously on multiple products. They can make progress without completely stopping work on other projects altogether. 
  • More control over budget and schedule. When you’re working with a brand new site, app or software that needs to be built from scratch, it can be hard to predict exactly how much the work will cost month to month. Even the most experienced developers can’t predict every single challenge or setback. In agile methodology, because projects are broken down into segments with a specific start and stop date, costs are easier to estimate and manage over the course of the project. 

These are just a few of the reasons why agile methodology has become so popular in the software engineering world. It allows us to achieve better results for our clients that are in-line with their vision. 

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