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Agile software development at a glance

1. What is Agile software development?

Agile software development is a work mindset that focuses on three basic things:

  • Firstly, it emphasizes on lean culture that encourages continuous software improvement.
  • Secondly, it employs lightweight methodologies that elaborate self-organizing and cross-functional teams.
  • Finally, because customer needs are at the center of Agile, it shifts software engineers from traditional project-based mindset to product-based one.

Therefore, Agile allows new generations of software developers to get flexible and adaptive to changes in planning and engineering and during product improvement. In addition, it enables frequent product deliveries at minimum costs, time, and waste to increase product quality and customer’s satisfaction.

2. History of Agile software development

2.1 Context

As the world had become more and more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA), the traditional approaches from the taylorism time (industrial age) – like waterfall, which focused on machine processes and standardized processes were quickly felling off. Indeed, they fell off at solving today’s increasingly-complex problems and catering unpredictable requirements and impediments that occur accordingly. Meanwhile, lightweight frameworks and methods based on the empirical process – like Scrum, had demonstrated to be progressively capable of tackling these issues in a much effective manner.

2.2 The birth of agile methodologies and frameworks

Burning with curiosity, some respectable software engineers had brought this observation to the table in a sit-down in Utah (USA) in 2001. In search for what makes agile methodologies stand out against the traditional ways of working, they found some of the best agile values that Scrum, XP, DSDM, Crystal, and the like were having in common. This was when the Manifesto for Agile Software development was incubated and introduced to the world, allowing the software industry to take revolutionary shape as we know it today.

2.3. The focus of Agile Manifesto

According to agilemanifesto.org, the manifesto reflects “better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it” by putting more focus on “individuals and interactions”, “working software”, “customer collaboration”, and “responding to change”. Meanwhile, it minimizes the use of “processes and tools”, “comprehensive documentation”, “contract negotiation” and “following a plan”, in order to maximize the Agile effects.
Axon Active Agile Manifesto

3. Agile methodologies and frameworks

When we speak of Agile, we think of a way of working that entails a range of today’s widely-adopted lightweight frameworks and methods. Unsurprisingly, they includes more than 40 Agile methods (see below). The most popular are Scrum, XP, Crystal, among others, whose inventions dated even before the term “agile” was in, which was from the early 1940s to the 1990s.
40 agile methods

Reproduced from Barry Overeem (n.d.)

3.1 Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP)

According to the father of Scrum Jeff Sutherland (2019), this January marks the 25th anniversary of the first Scrum team. In fact, Scrum was introduced by the author and his fellow Ken Schwaber to the OOPSLA Conference audience in 1995. One year later, Extreme Programming (famously known as XP) was also invented and “mushroomed in use and interest” soon after, according to one of agile founders Jim Highsmith (2001).
Fit For XP Course At Axon Active

A Fit for XP training course provided by Axon Active

3.2 Kanban

In the case of Kanban, it originated from the Toyota Production System (TPS) method. It was also known by the name just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing, and later lean manufacturing. In fact, the method was invented in the late 1940s – early 1950s by Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno as an answer for his urge to stay ahead of the fierce competition at that time. Later, software industry adopted this waste-eliminating, time-saving method in the software production cycles and observed equivalent successes. During this period, PDCA was also adopted by Toyota and other like-minded companies. Short for plan – do – check – act, or plan – do – check – adjust, it enables corporations to build workforces that had critical-thinking, highly-innovative, problem-solving skills. These skills have been vital for companies to adapt to changeable contexts and secure the status quos of market leaders.

4. Applications of Agile in and outside software industry

4.1 According to VersionOne Collabnet

Though invented by software developers to address key problems in software field, the agile philosophy provably works in many areas. In reality, Agile methods and practices have been applied successfully in a wide variety of industries.

  • media and entertainment
  • healthcare
  • industrial manufacturing
  • automobiles
  • consumer products

VersionOne CollabNet, 2016, 2017, 2018

Reproduced from: VersionOne CollabNet 2018

4.2 From Axon Active’s experience

Within a decade of offering offshore software development services to clients around the world, Axon Active also works with and observes a number of other industries where agile software development is in great demand, including:

  • Advertising
  • Banking
  • Biotech
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Fintech
  • Information storage
  • Human resources management
  • Business process management
  • Postage
  • Real estate
  • Retails
  • Tourism
  • Transportation

4.3 Other applications

Agile is even reaching out beyond the business world. The Secrets of Happy Families author Bruce Feiler put his audience in awe introducing how he’s used basic Agile practices in managing household matters and raising his children. Watch his “Agile programming — for your family” TED talk in 2013 for more information.

5. What makes Agile worthwhile

5.1 Twelve Agile principles

The successful applications of Agile in both formal and informal contexts can be attributed to the 12 underpinning “backbone” principles created by the founders of Agile software development. These 12 principles focus on:

  1. Clients’ satisfaction
  2. Flexible adaption to changeable requirements
  3. Short time to market
  4. Daily communication between clients and development teams
  5. Developers who feel trusted and supported
  6. Face-to-face conversation among development team members
  7. Working software as the primary measure
  8. Sustainable development
  9. Continuous attention to technical and design details
  10. Simplicity
  11. Self-organizing teams
  12. Reflection and adjustment of the team

5.2 Reasons for using Agile

Because of above principles, Agile practitioners the world over have recognized several top convincing reasons for using Agile as announced in the latest 12th annual State of Agile Report 2018, including:

  • Accelerate software delivery – 75%
  • Manage changing priorities – 64%
  • Increase productivity – 55%
  • Better Business/IT alignment – 49%
  • Increased software quality – 46%

VersionOne CollabNet 2018 12th Annual State of Agile Report

Reproduced from: VersionOne CollabNet’s 2018 12th Annual State of Agile Report

5.3 Benefits of Agile working methodologies at Axon Active

5.3.1 Major benefits

As a successful software outsourcing company in Vietnam for clients based in the US and Europe, Axon Active has observed numerous benefits generated by Agile software development, such as:

  • Increased team satisfaction
  • Enhanced team productivity
  • Better product quality
  • Rapid response to changes
  • Complete transparency for both clients and outsourcing teams
  • Financial benefits such as increased sales, reduced support costs, and limited/no negative publicity and customer satisfaction.

5.3.2 Other benefits

Along with these benefits, Axon Active’s embodiment of agile frameworks and practices through its software developing processes has enabled it to maximize other important effects of software outsourcing services for clients on the other side of the globe. Some of these effects are:

  • higher flexibility
  • easy scalability
  • software outsourcing team’s absolute concentration
  • client’s full control over the team
  • shorter time-to-market

6. Agile-DevOps synergy

Due to the fact that Agile effectiveness is inversely proportional to the scale of projects and organizational contexts, many Agile practitioners are adopting DevOps. DevOps is another software development mindset that takes Agile a step further. To do that, it joins software development team and IT operation team into cross-functional squads. These squads are tasked to handle full life-cycle of projects instead of different discrete phases traditionally. As a result, it enables automated testing, deployment and monitoring and applying the same process for all deployment.

For that reason, Agile-DevOps combination at Axon Active makes it possible to save time and cost and increase agility, quality and efficiency during software development processes.

A documented trend among world’s tech giants

In the 2018 VersionOne State of Agile report, a consistent 71% of the majority of Agile practitioners surveyed are currently applying DevOps or planning to use DevOps in the next 12 months. It is because DevOps allows them to deliver outputs faster and more efficiently in such scenarios.

What’s more, in 2018, successful adoption of DevOps-Agile movements was observed in big corporations such as Amazon, Netflix, Target, Walmart, Facebook, Adobe, or Sony Pictures Entertainment. Following this trend, Axon Active is also using DevOps in software development services. Learn more about our agile working methodologies and practices.
VersionOne CollabNet 2018 12th Annual State of Agile Report

Reproduced from: VersionOne CollabNet’s 2018 12th Annual State of Agile Report

7. Agile trends for 2019-2020

We believe by bringing about obvious benefits for both software outsourcing teams and clients, Agile software development will become an even more common practice for a growing number of IT professionals. DevOps adoption will also be a notable trend among Agile practitioners in 2019-2020 due to the soaring demand of applying Agile software development methodologies into projects and organizations of larger scales in years to come.

We are the offshore partner you’re looking for

Looking for a well-versed, reliable offshore agile software outsourcing partnerAxon Active has years of experience in developing agile software and applications for web and mobile platforms. We are the only organization in Vietnam that provides official Scrum Alliance’s Certified ScrumMaster and Certified Scrum Product Owner certifications. Besides that, the exclusive Scrum and Agile coaching has enabled distinguished clients such as Soreco (Switzerland), CRIF (Switzerland), Metabiota (USA), H&L (Australia), among others, to successfully adopt agile and observe major agile transformation over the years.

Mr. Lee Atkins, Chief Product Innovation Officer of one of our long-term clients H&L, once said: “[Axon Active’s] understanding and practice of Agile was very high level. We really appreciate the way in which they embrace those new ways of working, particularly in software development.” Learn more about how to start software development outsourcing and start a project with us now!

 

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