Agile software development has become an integral part of software development today, and for good reason.
Through the experience from a large number of projects, it has turned out that it is very difficult to collect all the information at the beginning of the project, and what the actual product should look like in the end. In addition, many requirements on the customer side only develop in the course of the project, for example when he gets an insight into the possibilities or begins to test the functionality with the prototypes. Nevertheless, even an agile process does not replace initial planning and a rough representation of which goals you want to achieve. This is the only way to prevent development from starting in the wrong direction or from making mistakes in the software architecture that later lead to additional costs. We therefore recommend that our customers carry out a requirements analysis with us adapted to the scope of the project.
But what does agile software development look like? Roughly speaking, one works in mostly short and iterative development cycles. After each cycle, the results are discussed with the customer and the direction of development can be adjusted if necessary. As a result, the requirements are continuously adapted and refined and you can react well to unforeseen events. But so that not everyone reinvents the wheel and defines their own agile process, standards have prevailed. One of the most popular frameworks for agile software development is Scrum, which we want to describe further here. We show how it works and why it is an effective way to develop software.
What is Scrum?
Scrum is an agile methodology for increasing productivity and quality in software development. The core idea behind Scrum is that it breaks down large software development projects into smaller, more manageable parts. This allows teams to focus on specific tasks or functions in a particular sprint, giving them the flexibility to adapt as new ideas or requirements emerge. At the heart of Scrum is the "Scrum Team", which consists of three main roles: the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Development Team.
How does Scrum work?
The focus is on a repetitive (iterative) development cycle called a sprint, which usually lasts 2 weeks. In order for the development to be completed in the so-called sprints, the requirements must first be prepared and recorded in writing. This task is typically performed by the product owner, who has an overview of the functional development of the project. On the one hand, he can work with a customer who works out the requirements with him in various meetings or the customer himself can slip into the role of a product owner. In the next step, these requirements are divided into work packages in a backlog. There are various elements that are available for structuring. In Jira, for example, you can create an "epic" as the top element that covers an entire subject area (an example of this would be goods tracking in the internal warehouse). Within an Epic, there can be different stories. This would describe, for example, the interaction between the warehouse employee and the system when he searches for a certain product in the warehouse. The story is then divided into tasks, such as developing a search window for products from the warehouse. In addition, tasks can be divided into even smaller packages, so-called sub-tasks.
The aim of this structure is that complex requirements can be broken down into manageable small work packages, some of which a programming team can fully implement within 2 weeks.
The next step is sprint planning. Here, the Product Owner "negotiates" with the Scrum Master (and often the team is also involved) which packages should be implemented in the next 2-week sprint. Here one tries to estimate the effort as well as possible with empirical values. Intensive planning is not intended, as this would take too much time. There are also different approaches to how effort estimation can be supported, for example by Sprint Planning Poker, which we do not want to go into here.
During the sprint, the team meets regularly (e.g. 15-minute daily meeting) to discuss their progress and adjust the plan as needed. At the end of the sprint, the team presents its work to the product owner and together it is checked whether all requirements have been met. Depending on the result, this affects the next sprint and its planning (for example, does a requirement have to be improved, or was a requirement more extensive than originally assumed)?
Finally, the team has a so-called retrospective meeting internally. It reflects internally on what has been done well and where mistakes may have occurred. Together you try to find improvements to avoid mistakes in the future and to get better with every sprint.
Why is Scrum effective?
One of the main advantages is that customers get transparent quick feedback on the progress of a project, at the latest at the end of a short sprint of 2 weeks. In addition, it is very easy for everyone involved to understand what is currently being implemented and how quickly the development is progressing. This creates a high level of transparency, especially for the customer, and prevents surprises from occurring later. But the team also increases its efficiency through small work packages, so that every developer can choose a package within a sprint that particularly interests him or where he knows very well.
An advantage of the high level of customer involvement through the iterative process that should not be underestimated is also the further development of the requirements. Requirements often change over the course of a project. On the one hand, this happens when customers become aware of new possibilities after interacting with a prototype. On the other hand, requirements can also be omitted, as their benefits can no longer be seen in the new interface. Such developments are very difficult to predict at the beginning and are of course a strength of an agile development process.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the continuous testing of the intermediate steps improves the quality of the entire solution. On the one hand, the software is generally tested more often and errors are detected at an early stage. As a result, these can be fixed quite easily without further developments building on them. Also, the knowledge about the functions is still fresh among the developers and you don't have to think yourself back into the logic much later.
If you would like to have your project developed using agile methodology, you can contact us for FREE consultation.