Agile Methodology: Finding Answers to the Frequently Asked Questions

Agile is one of the biggest buzzwords in the world of software development and testing today. So, what is it all about and how has it gained so much popularity all over the globe today? Agile is an approach to project management that focuses on assessing the performance and quality of the software product at every stage of the development lifecycle. According to a study by VersionOne, close to 97% of organizations are using Agile today. However, organizations need advanced software platforms for the successful implementation of Agile. The Digital Group has developed QARA Enterprise, which is a comprehensive test management tool for Agile teams. This article answers some FAQs on Agile methodology.

1] How is Agile Different from the Traditional Waterfall Methodology?
The following are the key points of difference between the two.
  1. Waterfall can be rigid while Agile is characterized by its flexibility.
  2. Waterfall views the software development as a single project while Agile views it as multiple projects that are all iterations.
  3. Changes in product development requirements are not allowed in Waterfall but is easy in Agile.
  4. Testing comes after development in Waterfall but in Agile, testing walks hand in hand with development, with a concept that is referred to as continuous testing.
  5. Waterfall primarily focuses on completion of product development while Agile focuses on making the software product meet the customer expectations.
2] What are the Types of Agile Methodology?
There are various types of Agile Methodology and some of the most widely used ones are given below:
  1. Scrum
  2. Lean
  3. Kanban
  4. Extreme Programming (XP)
  5. Crystal
  6. Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)
  7. Feature-Driven Development
3] What are the Testing Methods in Agile?
There are several testing methods in Agile and four popular ones are given below:
  1. Behavior Driven Development (BDD)
  2. Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD)
  3. Exploratory Testing
  4. Session Based Testing
4] How does Agile Methodology help organizations reduce costs?
Agile methodology can bring several benefits to an organization which helps them not jut reduce costs with increased efficiency & productivity, detection of bugs in the early stages of the product lifecycle, reduction of product failures, but also helps the company gain in terms of faster time to market and the highest product quality. When an organization consistently creates products with high product quality, it helps in creating brand value and creates a positive brand/product impression in the minds of the current as well as potential users.

5] What is the relation between Agile & DevOps?
Today, Agile & DevOps share a symbiotic relationship when it comes to helping organizations build products of the highest quality in the shortest time. While Agile is all about improving the project management skillsets of an organization, DevOps is all about helping development teams use the latest tools, techniques and strategies to improve how they work within their team as well as with other teams in the organization. Together, Agile and DevOps makes it possible for the development and testing teams coordinate better with the product teams.

6] How does one decide whether to use Scrum, Kanban or any other method of Agile?
It is important to note that Agile is not something that is One-Size-Fits-All as every organization is different on so many levels. So, there are different Agile methodologies – like Scrum & Kanban –  to cater to the different organizational needs and help them achieve their varying testing goals. Hence, before you choose an Agile methodology, study each one carefully to understand which one is designed to cater to your specific needs.

7] Does Agile offer easy scalability?
Due to the diverse organizational structures, scaling in Agile can be a challenge, but thankfully, there are scaling tools that allow for seamless scalability in Agile. While there are several scaling tolls, most of them are built with Scrum at their core. Some examples are SAFe, LeadingAgile, and LeSS.

8] What is Scrum?
Scrum is one of the methods of implementing the Agile principle. It serves as the process framework for Agile development that is lightweight and flexible. Scrum is the most widely used process framework for Agile today. What distinguishes Scrum from other process frameworks for Agile, are the 3 key roles – namely Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team Member.

9] What do you mean by the terms Scrum Master, Team Member, etc.?
Scrum is one of the popular methods of Agile and there are 3 roles in the Scrum project – Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team Member. The Product Owner is the decision maker and goal setter and works to ensure the product development process takes place in the right order and the right product is built. The Scrum Master is responsible for managing the team and helping them overcome challenges that may arise. The Team Member refers to the members of the team that work towards accomplishing the goals of the team.

10] What are the key practices in Agile?
There are several practices in Agile for organizations to follow when they wish to implement the methodology in their environment. Here are some important Agile principles:
  1. Daily Stand-Up Meetings or Scrum Meetings: Agile methodology says that a team working on a project should conduct daily meetings to ensure every member of the team is on the same page with regards to the project status.
  2. Continuous Integration: Involves input of code into the system several times a day and conducting tests before code addition to ensure it doesn’t affect code addition.
  3. Pair Programming: Involves 2 developers working together on a project, where the one who enters the code is the Driver while the one who plans the next step is the Navigator.
  4. Automated Testing: Agile encourages the approach of thorough testing to find bugs at every stage of the software development lifecycle and this level of comprehensive testing is possible only with automation.
  5. Planning in Agile: Planning in Agile consists of 3 stages – Release, Iteration & Task.
  6. Automated Builds: One of the key principles of Agile, it involves designing a software that is running at all times and this is achieved through automated compilation, building, deployment & testing.

So, the Agile methodology is indeed very empowering for the organizations that implement it as it helps the organizations design and develop products that match the highest quality standards and at the same time achieve the fastest time-to-market. In other words, the agile methodology has helped organizations stay competitive in the market by meeting customer expectations and making them happy with their products.

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