Agile is an umbrella term for several iterative and incremental software methodologies. While each of these is different in its approach, they all share common core values. They all involve continuous planning, continuous testing, continuous integration, and other forms of continuous evolution of both the project and the software.
The most important part of agile methodologies is that they all empower people and encourage collaborative working.
The idea is that software is built incrementally from the start of a project. Tasks are split up and prioritised by the client so the developer can get the most important elements completed first with continuous feedback.
Analysis, coding, design and testing are continuous activities rather than following one after the other. Agile allows developers and clients to add to a piece of software, continuously developing and improving it.
Agile development also allows for changes to the plan and is often welcomed. Because of the way agile works and its continuous processes, the cost of a change to the plan or software can be relatively flat unlike traditional development where any changes could incur hefty costs.
Unlike traditional development, agile is collaborative, quick and flexible. Once businesses can understand what it is and how it works, they can improve software development processes and more business value from a developer.
Unfortunately a lack of understanding is holding many businesses back in the adoption of agile. Research from CA Technologies showed that cost is not really a factor for businesses when it comes to becoming agile. Many respondents said they expected more investment in agile in the future and almost half expect growth in agile within the next 12 months, as the statistics below shows:
The research reveals that there is momentum when it comes to agile but there is more progress to be made; only 18% of respondents say their organisation is currently fully agile, a further 62% of respondents say their organisation is agile to an extent.
Looking forward, 2016 is set to be the year agile really comes to the fore, with more organisations adopting it and reaping the rewards. For the moment, IT departments are leading the agile revolution - 42% of respondents say that agile adoption has increased in their organisation.