What Does It Mean to Be Agile, and Should You Jump On Board?

Agile methodology: it’s a buzzword that you’ll hear thrown around by IT experts. Everyone is talking about “going agile,” but what does it mean—and is it something your business needs to adopt, too?

The Agile method was developed by IT experts interested in revamping project management from the ground up. It is a methodology with processes and guidelines that are intended to directly address the challenges and limitations of traditional IT project management and development.

Rather than working on your IT project in solitary confinement, delivering and implementing it, and then addressing the issues that arise, Agile IT consulting firms embrace constant communication and feedback as the foundation of a project. In Agile, instead of the project being fixed and the timeline being fluid, the timeline is fixed and the project is flexible. Throughout the development process, Agile methodology calls for continuous planning, continuous testing, and continuous integration, so that you’re involved in every step of the development process until the project is complete.

Agile is intended to:

Reduce risk. Overall risk is significantly reduced by the iterative nature of Agile projects. Not only is continuous testing integrated throughout the process, but since features are delivered incrementally you can identify issues right out of the gate. Changes can be made at the earliest possible opportunity, ensuring that your project is as solid as possible and the risk of failure is decreased.

Ensure value. The process of continuous planning and continuous feedback means that as your project develops, you can ensure that it continues to meet your expectations and specifications as each stage is set in place. In addition, since the project is delivered incrementally, you’re able to realize the benefits of your new software as each piece becomes available.

Add flexibility. As a result of the circular process of continuous planning and feedback, your IT experts are able to stay flexible and on top of your changing business needs and requirements throughout the process. An Agile project is easily adapted to new ideas and directions, because change is not only accepted, it’s expected.

Offer visibility from start to finish. The fundamental principle of Agile development is an encouragement of active user involvement and participation. To work, Agile needs a cooperative, collaborative approach. This means you have insight into every stage of the process and the project, every step of the way.

In the end, a project that’s completed using the methodologies of Agile is intended to be sleeker, better and more strongly designed, and more robustly meet the needs of your business and your customers.

Your active involvement, the visibility into both product and progress for both you and your IT experts, and the flexibility to implement change on the fly help increase not only your partner’s ability to deliver the best possible result, but help you be more confident in the final outcome. This kind of collaborative communication can also help you forge a strong, positive, and long-lasting working relationship, helping future projects be even more successful.

Merrick Kennworth is a blogger that writes about many things including tech related issues for HillSouth He has a passion for life and living it to its fullest.  Follow them on Facebook to learn more.