You decide to develop software, put together the requirements for it, send them to a developer and expect the completed software after four months. That can work. However, problems will often occur with this approach. The software meets the requirements, but the end user does not use it simply because it is too confusing. Agile development is a counter-proposal to this classic approach, also known as waterfall.
What is Agile development?
In Agile development methods are grouped together, in which the user is involved either during, or even before, the start of the development process. The software is enhanced through constant feedback, until it meets the wishes of the client/ user. The goal is to find the best solution for both sides. With Agile development, the development time can be shortened, which can avoid annoying review loops after release. The costs can also be reduced with Agile development approaches. The permanent exchange between customer and programmer also minimises risks, such as malfunctions or a confusing user interface.
What are Agile methods?
Scrum and Kanban are methods of Agile development.
Scrum is an interactive and incremental process for managing project teams of three to nine people. This creates a long-term plan (product backlog), which includes the goal of the project. It is a list of requirements for the finished product. Then, there is a detailed plan (Sprint backlog) for an iteration (Sprint). The sprints will be continuously adapted and repeated until the product backlog is met. You can find more details on Scrum on scrum-kompakt.de
Kanban was originally used for a carmaker to make the production line faster. Every employee has a stack of cards. When they have completed their production step and are free to take on more work, they give the card to the upstream employee. There is then no product jams in a single production step. The name Kanban is the Japanese word for card. A detailed description of the method is shown in images on lean-production-expert.de.
Who uses Agile development?
The function of companies such as Google and Yahoo is based on Agile development. But also more and more European companies are relying on Agile software development, such as Siemens, Deutsche Telekom, 1&1, Audi or Springer. According to Scrum creator Ken Schwaber, more companies use Agile development than the classic approach.
You can find the manifesto and the principles of agile software development here:http://agilemanifesto.org/iso/de/manifesto.html.
More on Agile methods such as Scrum or Mobil-D: http://www.computerwoche.de/a/agile-methoden-im-vergleich, 2352712
See why Agile project management is so successful, and why you should rely on Agile development.