Top 10 Most Common Agile Software Development Questions

Your Most Frequent Agile Software Development Questions Answered

As you may know, for most companies today, agile software development is essential, given the environment of ever-changing expectations. More and more companies realize the value of Agile methodologies. In contrast to traditional methods, agile frameworks allow for fast adaptation to customers’ expectations; provides a framework for products of the highest quality and helps to develop a viable version of a product relatively fast. Sounds good right?

Should you be intending to give it a try, or just get to know a little more about it, we got you covered. Here are some of the top Agile software development questions that help you get a better picture about the agile process.

  1. Is Agile only used in IT?

It originates from IT; however, several diverse industries have adopted the methodology in some way and shape, including but not limited to the finance, automotive, healthcare & pharma, and engineering industries.

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  1. What is Agile?

Simply put, Agile software development is a collection of best practices; namely, that the development process is broken down to pieces in a way that each development cycle adds an additional functional feature to the software. The methodology has 12 basic principles, laid out in the Agile Manifesto.

  1. Are there multiple Agile methods?

There are indeed. Agile has various flavors; some of the more popular ones include Scrum, Lean, Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP), Crystal, Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) and Feature-Driven Development.

  1. Which one suits my project best?

This always depends on your specific goals, the product and the company itself. There’s no one-size-fits-all here; you should take the time to examine which methodology is the most appropriate for your project.

  1. What makes this approach better than traditional methods?

Agile software development allows for a user-centered development process therefore lending itself to increased customer satisfaction. The software is quickly released, and customer feedback can be built into subsequent versions. Due to this continuous improvement there is also a higher chance of having a product of greater quality. 

When using an agile approach, you’re working in smaller sprints making it easier for teams to recover parts of the development project if things are not working as planned. In this way the risks are reduced too.

  1. Is it the customers who tell what the product should look like?

Yes and no. They’re not telling what and how you should develop, instead what they need and consider important in a given software. That feedback should define the product itself. Agile helps by shifting the development process from feature-centered to user-centered.

7.Is this method faster than other ones?

Chances are it is, especially in contrast to more traditional systems. Agile software development allows you to build a functional raw version, that could be used to gather feedback from users that will later be built into the software until it meets their maximum satisfaction. In essence, Agile software development allows for value to be delivered sooner. The methodology enables teams to focus on the right things, so reaching the outcome  is more efficient and faster. 

  1. Do customers get a half-baked product?

They don’t. What they get is a minimum viable product (MVP) with usually one initial feature. MVP is a concept taken from agile scrum to describe a product with minimal features  that are just enough to meet the needs of early stage customers. Customers are then able to validate and provide feedback for further development of the product. 

Think of sharing photos as a feature on Instagram. One basic, yet fully viable feature is not much, but can be used as a starting point for further development.

  1. How long does the Agile software development process take?

It always depends on the very complexity of the thing that’s being built. Custom development can be anything between 4 to 12 months, with iterations of 2 to 4 weeks in length. The advantage here is that an early version can quickly be released to the public.

  1. Can you save money with this project management methodology?

Most certainly you can, though in an indirect way. Since Agile software development allows for releasing a very basic version of a product, no time and money is spent on developing features that eventually will turn out to be useless. Continuous feedback helps you better understand your target audience, thus making marketing more effective and simultaneously cutting its costs.

Closing Words

Agile is indeed an effective method of running projects, and not just in software development. However, there are some prerequisites for it to work. One is a company structure that allows for cross-functional development teams. Another is choosing the right framework for a particular project. In order to make things nice and smooth, try implementing the approach in smaller tasks to see what issues arise that need to be changed or improved upon. 

Guide To The BCG Matrix and Its Relation To Agile

Introduction To The BCG Matrix And Its Connection To The Agile Method

Though Agile is a product-oriented approach, for a long period of time, it was only focusing on a single product. Scrum, the most widespread of Agile frameworks, is no different. It’s a great framework for a product development and cross functional teams, but its shortcomings become all the more obvious when it comes to multiple products being developed in parallel. 

You don’t need to be a huge company to have multiple products; even two are enough to make you ask which one is more important right now? Which one should be developed? How should we prioritize product development tasks in conjunction with each other?

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The above questions became increasingly important as the need for scalability of Agile frameworks showed high growth rates. Even some scaled frameworks are unable to adequately answer them. Perhaps SAFe provides the best solution, where separate levels are given to the product portfolio, allowing for an agile management of it.

A simple way to handle the product portfolio is provided by the so-called BCG matrix (also known as growth-share matrix), which got its name from the Boston Consulting Group. The matrix shows two factors that organizations must consider when deciding where to invest:

  • competitive advantage
  • market growth 

Based on these, the products are classified in a two-by-two grid, with the categories being question marks, stars, dogs and cash cows.

The goal of the BCG matrix

The goal of using a BCG matrix is to

  • Identify each product’s place on a product life cycle curve
  • Find the optimal development strategy and market positioning based on its current position in its life cycle
  • Examine products’ relative position to each other and adjust the product portfolio accordingly

In order to understand the matrix, it’s important to revise what we know about the product life cycle. The curve splits a product’s life into four phases.

  1. Introduction: With the product being new, its success is questionable. Main objective is bringing it to the market and testing unique selling points and the product itself under market conditions.
  2. Growth: In case of a successful introduction, the product finds its buyers. Early majority comes after early adopters, interest in the product grows and competitors along with followers emerge.
  3. Maturity: Usually the longest of all phases. By the time the product enters this phase, competition becomes more intense. In order to hold its market position, the product requires constant development and innovation.
  4. Decline: The market for the product shrinks with the product becoming obsolete. Once the development is finished, the organization focuses on other products.

Categories of the BCG Matrix

The are 4 categories which are dogs, cash cows, stars and question marks – 1 for each quadrant.  This helps organizations to prioritize their business activities.

  • Stars 

 The product has a high market cap in a growing market. This is the growth phase. Stars have high business potential with this being the best strategic position. Challenges here are catering to growing needs and preserving advantage over competitors, which usually leads to more development being needed. Stars are in an especially important position, as their goal is to preserve their success and turn into cash cows down the road.

  • Cash cows

Products with a high market cap in a slowing market. These products are in their mature phases. The goal is to prolong this phase, maximizing profit. Development costs here are low, but nevertheless they’re still there. Tracking, support and updates are crucial. Cash cows generate large profits that could cover the costs of developing new products.

  • Question marks

Lower market cap products on a dynamic market, being in their introductory phase. Huge potential to turn into stars, even though this might require hefty investments. Agile plays a vital role here: incremental development, customer feedback and regular delivery can all contribute to learning whether or not they’re capable of fulfilling their potential to become stars or they’re not worth the effort.

  • Dogs

Slowing or shrinking market, low market cap. This is the decline phase. These products are often unprofitable, and from a portfolio management standpoint; terminating these products is often the way to go.

The above system can be applied to numerous international companies, such as Toyota, Samsung, Apple or Nestlé. Apple’s matrix-plotting is especially spectacular, as the brand has several top selling products.

Advantages and disadvantages of the BCG matrix

The matrixes are quick and easy-to-use tools for analysis. Like similar tools, they are somewhat restricted in their use, as the number of factors examined is few. It could come in handy when a quick overview is what’s needed; however, more complex portfolios require some more advanced tools. The greatest disadvantage of BCG matrix is that its static, meaning they only reflect the state of things in a given moment; therefore, it’s worth conducting the analysis multiple times during a period of time.

Why should the product owner attend the daily scrum?

Product owners, the team members who’re responsible for investing in the product that we’re delivering, are not mandatory participants of the Daily Scrum. But as people shepherding the investment, they are interested in them because it’s a valuable 15 minutes spent synchronizing with the team: an opportunity to be updated with what’s happening with the product. 

What if your product owner never shows up to any of your team’s daily scrums? That’s weird. 

What if your product owner never shows up to any of your team’s daily scrums? That’s weird. 

You want to go and figure out why because this is one of those agile smells – the symptoms of a problem that may not be revealing the problem itself. Just like you would when you notice an unusual smell in your kitchen, you need to sniff around to pinpoint what it is. Maybe the things we’re working on aren’t a priority to our product owner. Or we convinced our product owner to invest in what they don’t value or understand. In that case, we should stop and speak with them. 

If your product owner doesn’t attend the daily scrums, don’t wait too long to start sniffing. Because if they’re too busy to show up, they’re probably too busy to do the other things we expect of our product owners. So, take a deeper dive, starting from the obvious reasons why and then, the not so obvious reasons so you can uncover the truth and fix the situation in time.

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