Agile methodology proposes an incremental approach to software design. Instead of using a sequential design process, specific components of a design are assigned out and completed by various team members. This process allows for certain advantages in software development, but there are certain disadvantages which must be considered as well.
The Pros of Agile Methodology
1. There is a higher level of transparency.
Agile methodology will opening define all resource types that are being used during the development process. This allows everyone to actively participate in the design process, meet required definitions, and have a better idea of the associated costs that come with each specific component.
2. It creates more innovation.
Agile methodology also requires much more interplay between team members because various pieces of the puzzle must come together coherently, yet still with an independent perspective.
3. It allows business value to come first.
This methodology creates a point of emphasis on business value. The functionalities that provide the highest levels of value are completed first instead of approaching the project from a vertical point of view.
4. It encourages client participation.
Because there is much more transparency, clients are able to provide input that can help to improve the end product at each developmental stage. This not only creates a better overall product, but it also forms a deeper relationship with the clients so that repeat business becomes more likely.
5. Costs are much easier to manage.
Instead of being stuck with one generalized cost that isn’t broken down, clients are able to pay for their software development needs with regular installments instead. Payments occur when work has been completed and then approved. This provides greater detail in the value description of each functionality as it is created and can provide a roadmap so that items which may not be needed can be eliminated.
6. Rapid deployment can happen.
If time to market is a concern, then agile methodologies allow for a limited feature set to be rapidly deployed. This includes projects where external system integration is required.
The Cons of Agile Methodology
1. There isn’t any fixed pricing that can be offered to a client.
It is impossible to know what the end cost of software development will be when using agile methodology. An overview of the price isn’t made available until the project actually begins and there isn’t a definitive cost made available until the each functionality has been completed.
2. It requires resource availability from the client.
Clients must be able to proactively participate in the creation process when this methodology is being utilized. Sometimes clients just don’t have the ability to make those resources available and that puts a strain on the creation process. Clients are informed of this need during the sales process, but knowing this on paper and experiencing it first-hand are two very different experiences. The first couple weeks of a project can be very overwhelming.
3. It has its own unique jargon.
Not every client is going to be familiar with the language that is necessary, which means a learning curve must be implemented. Sometimes this jargon is even considered to be unnecessary by the client, which further strains the relationship that is being created with the software. It also means the software quality will be negatively affected without participation and that is ultimately a reflection of the development country.
4. It isn’t ideal for small projects.
Most development teams are forced to use a hybrid set of solutions for their needs because agile methodology is not suitable for maintenance needs or smaller projects.
5. It is highly repetitive.
Developers have client-facing roles with agile methodology, which means they are on the front lines when it comes to the learning curve that must be implemented. This can be problematic because the same learning curve must be implemented for every single client. They’re also required to encourage participation, which ultimately takes them away from the quality of the work being completed.
6. It doesn’t necessarily provide a full-featured application within a specific period of time.
Agile methodologies are based more on quality and participation more than speed. The timing of the project is always in flux and that can be problematic for certain clients.
If clients are unable to commit to a high level of involvement, then agile methodology is not going to work. When the circumstances are right, this can provide a win/win situation for developers and clients. By weighing the pros and cons of this system of development, the correct approach can be chosen so the best possible outcome may be achieved.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.