Value Proposition of Agile Development
The benefits of Agile development have been extolled extensively across the web and almost every one of us is well aware of those benefits.
Some of the inquisitive members have taken the efforts to research and study the Agile development framework to understand why those benefits are the products of this framework under discussion.
I have no intention of going in that direction since it requires a detailed discussion that is possible in a classroom setting [reach out to your KnowledgeHut support to ask for one].
Through this article, I want to discuss the value propositions of Agile development with you i.e. in essence means, how the benefits of Agile play out for you on the ground during the execution time.
What are those actual in-hand benefits that you and your team will reap because of the good thing in Agile development called Value proposition? That is what I want to share with you.
The first value proposition that we are going to discuss is “Visibility”. The visibility to the product owner, project sponsors, managers, and engineering team about the current state of the project or product development and whether we are headed in the right direction or not.
Unlike waterfall model, where visibility is highest during requirement gathering phase then suddenly everything goes black and behind curtains with no idea about building the right thing, then suddenly we ship the product with the highest visibility.
Alas, that is too late to correct anything if things have gone in the wrong direction.
The value brought by Agile in this matter is that visibility remains high at all times; it slightly dips for a week or two during actual development, but it again picks up; so on an average, it remains consistent and at a higher level than waterfall model.
This can be easily understood through the means of this graph where the dotted line shows how visibility into the project direction suddenly dips during the execution phase, but it remains constant for Agile.
The word adaptability refers to the ability to accept changes or changing business scenarios and move forward in the new direction with the same vigor and enthusiasm. In any project, adaptability is highest since the project is being kicked off, requirements are being collected so any direction, request or change can be easily accommodated.
But things start to change in a traditional waterfall model soon enough and adaptability goes down considerably from the design stage and becomes lowest during shipping. Because once those things are finalized then there is no way to change them without starting all over again.
Whereas in the Agile mode, though adaptability remains highest during the initial phase, it continues to hover around the same range through the project duration since every sprint is a chance to pick up something new or change direction as per business need.
As you will see in the below diagram, adaptability looks like this:
How your project or product is delivered at the end or at regular intervals, and how it will help the business or your project owner is considered as business value. Because business does not get any value from your project until you deliver something that can be used by end consumers.
Needless to say, business value is always available to be consumed at the end of project cycle or rather we should at the time of shipping. The shipping can be at regular intervals [as in the case of Agile] or in the end [as in case of traditional development methods].
In this sense, both Agile and Waterfall sound similar to us but in reality, they are not. Because they vary in the way of delivering business value.
Since waterfall believes in shipping in the end or when the product is completely ready, so business value shoots up from 0 to highest suddenly towards the end. That part is obvious. Let us see how it evolves for Agile methodology.
Here in Agile, we start delivering incremental versions of the product from the first sprint; so Business value starts getting generated from Sprint 1 and continues to go up until the last sprint or the time when product owner asks us to stop.
This is clearly reflected in the graph shown below.
This is a remarkably interesting aspect of value proposition for any development model. We all want to avoid risks somehow; sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail miserably, and our worst nightmares come true at those times.
It is not my intention or objective here to dive into many ways to cut risks, but instead, analyze the concept of risk and how it varies according to the development model being followed by the team.
It is a common sense that risk is highest in the initial phase of the project since we are dealing with the utmost unknown at that time. Any wrong action or decision by us will lead to failure and a complete wastage of resources.
As we progress and start building something, the risk continues to go down and becomes 0 when we ship it. Because either we have succeeded by then or we have failed utterly.
Agile allows us to cut down risks faster than the traditional methods because the visibility is maintained at a high level throughout, so if something is going wrong then it is addressed immediately, owing to high adaptability.
If we pause and analyze for a while, we understand that high visibility, high adaptability and ability to deliver from early in the game allows us to have minimal risk score through the project rather than working hard for 1 year then finding out that you built something that was not required in first place.
That is how Agile development helps us manage risks effectively as long as we execute Agile properly.
So, as we saw here, any development methodology, related to software field or manufacturing or service-based industry can be analyzed over 4 value proposition parameters, namely: Visibility, Adaptability, Business Value and Risk.
In the above post, through means of graphical analysis, we compared Agile development methodology Versus Traditional waterfall and found that Agile development is much better to be followed in recent times with a condition that it has to be executed correctly.
You can read my other blog post about “10 deadly myths of Agile and Scrum” whereby I have explained how wrong implementation of Agile and Scrum harms us more than benefit us.
With this thought in mind, I take your leave and I hope that next time when you explain to your stakeholders about the need to use Agile, you have a better and stronger story to tell.
All the best!