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Effective cross-functional collaboration can determine a product’s success in today's software product development environment. There are many different methodologies for the product development process. Using the proper methods helps your team succeed and gives you a clear guideline for product development. Agile software development became one of the efficient product development methods in many areas, including product design and product marketing. Let's deep dive into the agile product development method.

Agile software development vs. Waterfall software development

Agile and waterfall product development methodologies are the most common product development methodology. Agile product development focuses on an incremental and iterative approach; on the other hand, waterfall product development focuses on a sequential process.

Waterfall Software Development

Before the agile methodology came out, the waterfall was the most common and traditional software development methodology. As its name represents, waterfall product development starts with detailed release plans, including time, budget, and dependencies of the product development process. The waterfall, aka ‘top-down’ approach, was introduced around the 1970s and stood as an effective method to avoid incorrect, inconsistent development processes, and it helps to drive a successful outcome. However, waterfall product development has a strict timeline and no flexibility, and you never know how customers will react to the product until it is launched to the market.

Agile Software Development 

Agile software development focuses on customer-centric objectives such as user retention and feedback. It continually launches the product functionality, collects customer needs and feedback, and reprioritizes to respond to customer needs, market trends, and business goals. The most significant advantage of agile software development is that you can learn from the customers via product lifecycle and adjust the product roadmap to meet the customer needs to avoid huge project failure after launch. 

Agile Software Development Process 

Unlikely to waterfall product development process, which starts with the product team and product required documents, the entire agile team, such as the product management team and UX team, actively collaborate in the agile software development process. Agile involves an iterative process, which starts with user persona and user stories, and the product management team and UX team develop the best approach for the user to solve the problem.

The most common methods for agile software development are sprint and release. To iterate sprints, the agile team establishes the sprint goals, including new functionality, optimizing UX, and improving performance. Agile sprints expect the product launch cycle of around 2-3 weeks, allowing the team to have a responsive approach to product development.

Agile software development process
 Source: Dzone.com

There are 12 principles of agile product development by the Agile Manifesto.

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to do the job.
  6. A face-to-face conversation is the most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. The team regularly reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

The key components of agile software development are customers and team collaboration. In an agile environment, customer interaction with products, user growth, acquisition, and churn rate are the essential metrics for product success. Also, the agile process needs multiple teams to support, including the development team, product owners, and scrum masters, so it requires lots of collaboration and planning. 

Benefits of Agile Software Development 

The biggest advantage of agile software development is frequent feedback. It is a more flexible product development plan because Sprints allows teams to move the goals based on customer needs and quick product roadmap changes. Also, it decreases inefficient collaboration and incrementally delivers the values to the customers.  

Here are some key benefits of agile software development:

  • It helps to understand the customer needs and adjust the product roadmap to meet the customer needs
  • It allows responding quickly to new requirements and makes it easy to change 
  • It enables the team to collaborate and interact in the more efficient way 

However, agile software development is unpredictable because it requires constant changes during the process, and it can be risky to lose directions and go off track.  Nevertheless, agile software development can be an efficient and fast way to develop a better product. The most crucial goal is encouraging and collaborating with the team, listening to customer needs, and continually improving.  

Conclusion 

Agile software development is an efficient methodology that is more flexible than traditional waterfall software development. Waterfall software development is great for setting up long-term goals, but it is not easy to fix the problem, and the cost of change is high. Agile software development is great for iterating the product development process, and it is easy to fix the problem and avoid huge failure. The main goal of agile product development is to listen to customers' needs and improve the product based on feedback. Communication and collaboration with agile teams are the keys to successful agile product development. Many companies try to adapt the agile process to product development. However, not all product development suits the agile methodology. In this case, a hybrid model with waterfall and agile software development could be an excellent method for successful product development.

Are you looking for a better product development strategy? Tacpoint, Digital product design, can help you build your product's triumph. Hire us as your agile team. 

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