How to Manage App Development in an Agile Environment?Posted by: Ashley Zimmerman | On: 20th Dec, 2018 | New Business
Agile development is a development process that involves breaking a project into a series of several short-term sprints. The goal is to have a working tool as soon as possible. That working tool can then be added to and edited as necessary.
Agile development arose as an alternative to waterfall development. Waterfall development involves a series of longer-term deliverables. Some developers see the waterfall method as being less stressful due to its more linear structure and longer working periods between deliverables.
Agile development, however, is far more flexible. The short-term stages can be a little more stressful. However, they can also mean that issues are easier to prevent. They also mean that once spotted, issues cause less lost time.
Because of its quick deliverables and versatility, Agile is the best way to create online tools and mobile apps. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have problems and risks. So, what problems and risks can come from Agile development, and how can you overcome them?
One major risk exasperated by Agile development is “feature creep.” Feature creep happens when updates and developments gradually lead a process away from the initial goal. Feature creep can happen with any development process. However, the short-term sprints involved in Agile development can make feature creep more likely.
The best way to avoid feature creep is to hold brief meetings between checkpoints in the development strategy. During these meetings, include stakeholders and developers. Have them ask themselves questions about the directions of the app. Are we staying true to the initial goal? Have we become distracted by any aspects of the project? Are there any aspects of the project that we should prioritize?
Like feature creep, budget overrun can happen with other development strategies. However, feature creep can make it easier if you lose track of the initial goal.
In Agile development, budget overrun can happen when updates and modifications grow out of control and take up too much of the budget.
To avoid budget creep, have the budget handled by someone not directly involved in the development of the app. This person should have access to meetings and reports from all of the developers so that they can see the project from “above.”
Developer turnover isn’t caused by one development strategy over another. However, Agile can make it more difficult to recover from.
The longer-term goals of other development strategies give incoming developers a more stable footing. The quick turn-around of steps involved in Agile can mean that new developers can feel a little dizzy stepping into the shoes of an outgoing developer.
Developer turnover can’t be prevented, but the negative impacts can be mitigated. This is best done by making sure that all developers carefully document and save all of their work on a project. These documents should be retained in a file that can be handed off to new developers.
In fact, with proper documentation, developer turnover can be less of a problem with Agile development. Because deliverables are smaller and delivered more often with Agile, it is less likely that developer turnover will occur in the middle of a step. This can make it easier for new developers to catch up.
Similar to the above cases, team fatigue can happen with any development strategy. However, the quick turn-around of stages in Agile development can feel particularly stressful.
One way to reduce this issue is to stress the stress the small size of deliverables. The short-term stages of Agile development mean that deliverables are small and repairs are easy. Be careful, however, not to trivialize stages.
It can also help to mark certain deliverables as being worth celebrating. Team fatigue is less common in other development strategies partially because milestones are easy to recognize and celebrate. Due to the smaller milestones in Agile development, this is not always the case. While celebrating every milestone would be ridiculous, commemorating larger or more noteworthy milestones can help developers to relax and appreciate progress.
Misuse of Project Management Tools
Another risk in Agile development is the misuse of project management tools like Jira and Trello.
These tools are used to track deliverables through a defined series of steps. Because Agile development involves a large series of small deliverables, it can easy for these tools to become a mess very quickly.
Avoiding this complication involves fighting the temptation to overuse these tools, especially the card format in Trello. Rather than making a larger number of cards for deliverables, make cards for topics or aspects. Then, create a larger number of categories for the smaller number of cards to move through. This can reduce confusion.
This may not solve all of your problems, however. One of the key aspects of Agile development is the ease of creating new milestones. When making categories, be very careful in their arrangement and be sure that cards stay in the appropriate categories. Whenever cards are moved, be sure that everyone involved is tagged so that they receive notifications.
It can also help to bring up project management tools at regular meetings to be sure that everyone is on the same page.
Some development strategies are like moving through a subway system. You are moving through a series of tunnels and it is often easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Agile is more like tunneling through a series of rooms. It can be difficult to see where you are going, and the light at the end of the tunnel might not mean that you are almost through. However, there are also more opportunities to get out of the tunnel.
Agile development can seem daunting. However, it is more productive to anticipate problems and work around them than it is to run from problems and use a less efficient development strategy. The versatility of Agile development makes it perfect for developing software and mobile applications when a well-organized team can avoid stress and confusion.
Do you have a web or mobile app development project that needs an expert team of developers? Get free technical consultation