What is Agile Software Development & why is it so important?


Most successful software development teams embrace the continuous delivery approach. But have you ever wondered how this practice became the holy grail of software development? The roots of continuous delivery can be traced back to the inception of Agile methods. The Agile methodology has become more than just a buzzword; it has revolutionized many software teams and added immense value to the concept of DevOps. Numerous successful companies, including Google, Cisco, IBM, Apple, Microsoft, and Procter & Gamble, employ this methodology. Their software development teams have reported remarkable results, further affirming the effectiveness of this approach.

Before delving into the concept of agile software development, consider a moment when you participated in a complex software project, collaborating with various roles and individuals. Did you receive feedback? Did you explore new information to determine what works best? Did you engage with the team to achieve your desired result? If so, you've experienced agility and the Agile methodology. At its core, agility is about processing new information and swiftly adapting your strategy to achieve a constantly evolving outcome.

What is Agile?

Agile is a term used to describe a fast response and reaction to change. In software development, the Agile approach involves continuous delivery, team collaboration, ongoing planning, and learning to deliver an optimal end result. The word "Agile" was particularly chosen by the authors of the agile manifesto because it represents the core principles of the methodology which are adaptability and rapid response to change.

The Agile Manifesto was developed in 2001 with the sole aim of innovating better ways of software development for individuals and organizations. It's guided by four main values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change by following a plan

The adoption of the Agile methodology has become a competitive edge for software development teams and IT departments. Companies that have incorporated this approach into their software delivery processes are yielding great returns.

What is Agile Software Development?

Agile software development refers to a set of practices deployed based on the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto. It is a framework representing adaptive planning, iterations, and continuous delivery. Rather than focusing on a final product output, Agile software development prioritizes working in increments, with constant feedback and release cycles to launch a product faster.

Organizations that use the Agile methodology focus on the clean delivery of individual contributions to the software development process, not the entirety of the application. These companies are confident in achieving high-quality products due to the constant Agile process.

Beyond its processes, Agile is a mindset, a set of values that must be embraced to achieve great results. It is a way of thinking and responding — instant feedback, continuous delivery, failing fast, and team collaboration.

For companies in the development stage of a product, Agile is the process of managing a software development procedure in an iterative and adaptable way to create a minimum viable product (MVP). This MVP then undergoes various iterations based on continual feedback and collaboration, refining the product before its official launch to the market. Feedback is a crucial element in the Agile process because continuous iterations and collaboration ensure a premium product.

One distinguishing factor between Agile and other development methodologies like the Waterfall method is that Agile focuses on the people who do the work and how they work together. That is the collaboration of software teams to achieve a specific project.

Many businesses have tried to adopt this methodology but to fully adopt the Agile methodology in software development, it's essential to have an Agile team. This team is composed of specialized experts who collaborate on an assigned project to deliver a high-quality product. Agile teams operate under the principles of Agile project management, prioritizing speed, flexibility, and adaptability over traditional project management methods. These teams are structured to be highly responsive to change, customer feedback, and strategic adjustments, aligning with the principles of self-organization and cross-functional teamwork.

For successful software development, Agile teams adhere to key practices that enable them to manage unexpected situations and deal with uncertainty effectively. In its simplest terms, Agile development is the process of working on software delivery swiftly and collaboratively, while receiving and implementing feedback from customers frequently. This approach facilitates continuous product improvement and seamless adaptation to any changes in requirements or project direction.

Why is Agile Software Development Important?

Agile development is important because it enables software development teams to deliver high-quality projects within established timelines and budgets. This development process enhances collaboration and communication among the specialized professionals working on the projects. For example, at Devsu, we have a team of over 200 skilled tech experts who work on various complex projects. With the Agile software development method in place, our teams have seamless communication through daily stand-ups, planning sessions, sprints, and test-driven developments. The Agile development methodology helps us minimize the risk associated with these complex projects. Significantly, the Agile development approach enables changes to be made quickly without disrupting the project's timelines, leading to improved quality of projects and satisfied customers. It's unsurprising why the Agile method is so popular among organizations; it helps increase the speed of workflows and allows organizations to keep up with the fast-paced nature of their industries. This is why McKinsey & Company recognized agility for its transformational benefits, stating that "Agility is catching fire," and acknowledging that Agile organizations differ from traditional ones.

How Does Agile Software Development Work?

Imagine you're tasked with a set of projects and you want to adopt the Agile methodology, but you're wondering how you and your team can approach this. To help you tackle this, here's a clear process on how Agile development works:

Product Backlog Creation:

First, there's product backlog creation — this is where the product owner compiles a list of features, requirements, and tasks, also referred to as user stories, for the final product. This backlog is an ordered, prioritized list of the elements needed to deliver a quality product, and it's mostly handled by the product owner and scrum team.

Sprint Planning:

During the sprint planning, the scrum team decides the tasks and features they will focus on during the sprint. For example, the development team might decide to build a feature, document the code, and test the feature for bugs and errors. Sprint planning is the kickoff of the sprint and is done in collaboration with every member of the scrum team.


Usually, a sprint lasts for 2 weeks, or up to a month depending on the team and the project. During the sprint, the development team works on completing tasks that are in the sprint backlog. In the process, the team may encounter issues and roadblocks, but this is where the daily stand-ups help the team gain clarity. Different members of the team can assist in solving the problem. If specific tasks cannot be achieved within a certain sprint, these can be carried over to the next sprint.

Daily Stand-Ups:

Also known as "Daily Scrums," these are quick meetings held every day with team members. The purpose of these meetings is to provide updates on ongoing work, achievements, and to address any arising issues. These meetings occur at the same time every day and typically last for about 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the complexity of the issues discussed.


In the Agile process, small iterations and constant testing are vital to the success of a project. Therefore, the agile team has to integrate continuous testing throughout the software development process to identify and resolve concerns quickly.

Sprint Review:

The sprint review occurs at the end of each sprint. It allows team members to present what they've achieved so far in the sprint to the stakeholders or clients. The sprint review gives stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback and share what could be improved in the next sprint.

Sprint Retrospective:

After the sprint review, there's a sprint retrospective (also known as a retro) where the team reflects on the sprint. In this retro, they discuss what went well, what can be improved, and how those improvements can be implemented in the next sprint. Importantly, the team understands that this is about how they worked effectively together as a team, not about the project metrics. These insights will guide the next sprint.

Next Sprint:

For the next sprint, the Agile process cycle begins again with sprint planning.

What Are The Importance & Benefits of Agile Software Development?

traditional and agile methodology

Agile methodology has proven to be one of the most popular project management approaches. Data indicates that about 70% of US companies use the agile method. This explains why agile software development is important — it makes the work of executives, product managers, and project managers simple, well-organized, and more productive.

Beyond these, here are some important benefits of the Agile methodology:

High-quality Products:

With the Agile methodology, projects are broken into units, allowing for high-quality development, testing, and collaboration. The iterative approach ensures that processes are improved each time, with a focus on quality. The development team involves the client in the development process and can implement changes based on client and customer feedback. Because an Agile team operates in an evolving process, it's convenient for teams to quickly improve product quality, fix bugs, and identify any issues.

Customer Satisfaction:

The Agile method uses user stories to understand the key features and tasks that the development team should build. This approach helps shape the product, making it customer-centric, resulting in satisfied customers. The Agile process allows for beta testing of each software iteration after a sprint, to gain valuable insights from customers and implement necessary changes.

In the Agile approach, there's a high customer retention rate because customers are involved in the decision-making process, and each change and feature is designed primarily to benefit the customer.

Another significant benefit of the Agile approach is that it easily meets customer expectations because it reduces time-to-market and increases product launch speed. This gives companies the upper hand in the industry and helps them stay ahead of the curve.

When customers enjoy a product and its features, they are more likely to become returning customers. For instance, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has experienced significant growth in various industries. An organization that quickly adopts AI in its product can gain a first-mover advantage in this rapidly evolving field.

Collaboration and Communication with Stakeholders:

In the Agile process, there is an increased level of communication and collaboration with clients because they are engaged during the sprint and are involved in the product-building process. With this, clients have the opportunity to communicate their concerns and constantly reiterate the vision of the project, ensuring everyone is aligned. In this case, the software development team can deliver the working software early and frequently, building trust between the stakeholder and the team, which in the end, improves the quality of the product.

Reduced Risks:

During the Sprints in the Agile process, software developers have the ability to pinpoint and immediately resolve any issue or obstacle. This reduces the risk of unexpected failure and poor deployments in the future. It allows minor issues to be addressed before the product reaches the customers and prevents problems from escalating.

Using the agile methodology also gives businesses the opportunity to refine and reprioritize features and tasks to complete the product backlog, giving developers the opportunity to make continuous changes within a stipulated timeframe.


At the core of the Agile process is adaptability and flexibility, the ability to respond quickly to changes at any time. Additionally, software teams have the flexibility to adjust timelines, prioritize different features or tasks, and adapt their delivery according to evolving client requirements.

Predictable Product Delivery:

The use of sprints in the Agile process allows software developers to deliver features quickly, giving room for predictability. This is largely due to the opportunity for beta testing, which ensures the software aligns with the initial goals and requirements set at the beginning of the sprint. With this approach, product owners and scrum masters can easily estimate the time needed to complete a project.

Agile Software Development vs. Waterfall Project Management Methodologies

Waterfall project management is a linear approach to completing a project. It emphasizes that each phase must be completed before proceeding to the next one. This approach enables a well-defined method for executing software projects, where there is no advancement until that phase is approved.

In this project management method, a missed deadline can hamper the overall success of the project. This method is particularly suitable for projects that have all necessary resources available and defined requirements with little to no ambiguity. Despite its long-standing use, the agile method is slowly replacing the waterfall method in many IT firms. This shift is mainly due to the risk of setbacks, slow communication between stakeholders, and the rigid approach to completing projects.

Organizations are quickly adopting the agile method because it generates better results for product managers, incorporates changes intermittently when needed, and communication with clients is more frequent. Moreover, the waterfall approach is mostly used for projects that have strict requirements that must be completed before the next phase can begin. This is often seen in organizations such as the Department of Defense and the aerospace industry, where projects are guided by strict procedures that must be completed and approved before advancing to the next phase. In terms of communication with stakeholders, the Agile methodology allows for communication and collaboration, but the waterfall approach is very rigid, with little to no communication with the stakeholders until the end of the project. However, it is important to note that each of these methodologies are used for different types of projects depending on the complexity and requirements. A study reveals that the success rate for Agile projects is 64%, while waterfall projects have a 49% success rate. Therefore, choosing the right project management method for your project is imperative.

To summarize, the Agile software development approach has significantly improved the software delivery processes of many companies, enhancing project launches, and fostering better collaboration and communication among software development teams. Many project managers and executive leaders prefer this approach, as it keeps the team focused on a common goal and allows for the identification and resolution of obstacles before they evolve into major issues. This methodology has aided numerous companies in enhancing customer satisfaction, retention, and customer expectation management while reducing risks.

Devsu, Your Software Development Partner

As a software development company, we implement this approach in every aspect of our work. We prioritize significant collaboration and honest communication within our software development team. By employing this methodology, we can expedite the launch of your project. Get started today!


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