For a deeper understanding of Agile for mobile application development, one needs to understand the process of mobile application development. Any product that is installed on the mobile device, be it a game or a serious, useful application, requires implementation of at least one programming language, designs, ideas, text content, many hours of development, building, testing, and many other jobs and tools needed to perform the aforementioned.
Mobile application development is the product of a large amount of the work done by specialists from different fields, and most importantly – many hours of negotiations between the customer and the project management, between participants of the project and team leaders, and amidst developers. Any software, including mobile applications, can be considered an outcome of communication.
Proper allocation of tasks and the establishment of a permanent communication between members of the development process can, without exaggeration, be called the foundation of the high-grade project. Regulation of development procedures and teams’ organization is probably also the most difficult task in the project.
Agile methodology is one of the most effective approaches to the business software development that ensures the coordinated work of specialists and the continuous communication between team members and the customer.
What is Agile?
Flexible software development method (or Agile application development method) is the approach to product development, in which the whole process is divided into a series of development cycles. In fact, when using Agile for mobile app development, the entire array of tasks is divided into multiple sub-tasks, each of which is a separate mini-project for the development team.
With the proper division of assignments required for the project, as well as the distribution of specialists into dedicated teams, development risks, including errors, are minimized. Each element of the product, developed by a separate unit, is, in fact, a separate independent project.
The use of Agile in software applications development also involves regular communication within and between groups; constant interaction, both in project development environment and between customer and contractor. Thus, the maximum flexibility of the design process is achieved. This means that if a customer or project leader suddenly raises new demands to the product, it bears virtually no effect on the time spent and app marketing. Needed changes, as a result, become the task of one of the teams, not slowing down the work on the project as a whole.
Frequent direct face-to-face interactions create another positive trend: the minimization of the number of written documents used in the development.
Basic Agile Principles
Singling out the essence of the Agile method, we can identify several principles that compose its basis:
- Interaction between people is more important than the development of tools;
- Ready product is much more important than the related documentation;
- Continued cooperation with the client is more important than the terms of the contract with them;
- Willingness to quickly make changes to the project is more important than a steady adherence to the original plan.
Thus, the core of the Agile method lies not so much in dividing the project into independent tasks, but in the project’s priorities.
Why use Agile?
Why use Agile methodology for mobile development? When choosing the project work organization methods, it is important to understand their advantages, which one or another approach carries comparatively. As for the Agile method, its doubtless positive qualities include the following:
- Constant supply of valuable client software;
- Ability to make changes to the project and to put forward new demands to it at any stage of development (even before the release);
- Constant close contact between the customer and developers at all stages of the project;
- Regular delivery of the project’s software elements;
- Comfortable working conditions for both developers and the customer;
- Priority information exchange method is a personal conversation, which gives opportunities for all participants of the project;
- The main indicator of Agile implementation success is the high-quality working application;
- Developers, customers and sponsors have the opportunity to control and maintain a constant pace of work;
- Constant contact and control gives possibilities for permanent improvement of the product at the design stage;
- Usage of self-organizing teams to minimize the extra work;
- Self-organizing teams performing particular tasks, often give better results than a large team dedicated to everything at once;
- The presence of individual units that perform individual tasks is a guarantee of rapid adaptation to any new conditions to the project.
Agile methodology was developed and formulated in 2001, which means that this approach has been used for 15 years to the day, during which it proved to be effective, functional and relevant. The method was used in the development of many projects, including most successful and well-known. Today, Agile method is the basis of productivity in many prosperous software development companies. That would be the answer to why use Agile methodology.
Final Thoughts: Criticism of Agile
At the moment, there is no ideal model of work organization in the development of mobile applications, and the creation of such a model is unlikely to be possible due to the diversity of the projects, as well as the objectives and requirements that are applied to them. Agile also cannot be called the ideal approach, and the success of its results is primarily dependent on the environment in which it is applied.
Usually, the critics of Agile emphasize two main drawbacks of the method: the lack of integrity of the project and the low quality of the finished product’s architecture.
Indeed, at first glance, it may seem that Agile development approach as a whole and its concentration of attention on the development of the product components can lead to the loss of a coherent picture. If this is true, then most likely it is not because of a method’s faultiness, but its incorrect use. By and large, while designing the project’s elements, it is not necessarily to focus constantly on the overall picture, but it does not mean that the project map should be absent in principle. If there are those who are engaged in the development of elements of the future product, there must be those who will be engaged in constructing the whole out of the ready elements.
As for the poor quality of projects’ architectures, in the development of which Agile was implemented, critics say this happens because of the fact that developers are more focused on the rapid adaptation to the possible new ideas than the code’s quality. Allegedly, while preparing for changes and new requirements, developers practice the fastest and easiest ways of coding, ignoring the code quality. In fact, the competent administration of Agile implies that developers will have enough time and energy to respond to any alterations, not only quickly, but also qualitatively. As for bugged or “dirty” code, such phenomena are rather the result of carelessness and negligence of specific developers than disadvantages of the Agile method itself.