08Dec 2017

Agile Methodology for Mobile App Development: A Brief Overview

Agile Methodology - Mobile App Development
The mobile technology is changing day by day. It had evolved a lot from its beginning days when it was used as a mere calling tool. Nowadays, it can be used for some tasks like texting, video calling, and several other office tasks as well like preparing spreadsheets, presentations, editing images, schedule meetings, sending and receiving emails, and managing social media. This has been made possible with the help of mobile apps and the smartphone. Even now there are a lot of innovations taking place on a regular basis and is forever changing. It is also necessary that the apps remain updated as per the current trends as there are chances that the app will become obsolete and you may not be able to utilize the full potential of the app or your device.

Mobile application development and keeping it updated in the current scenario is quite a complex process. Even more complex is the task of getting it downloaded on the user’s devices, and used frequently. It is because of a large number of apps available in the marketplace. While a majority of users use the smartphone, it is quite easy to get noticed, but it becomes quite challenging to get the user’s attention as there are a large number of options available for them that include the social media apps, chatting apps, games, and various other kinds of apps. Hence it becomes quite necessary for the business owners to design the best app in a short span of time and keep their apps updated as per the latest trends.

Apart from these, the development of apps requires implementation of one or more programming languages, design, ideas, development, testing, management and several such processes. A large number of experts in their field contribute to make the project a success. To facilitate the process, the Agile methodology for mobile app development turns out to be quite helpful. Before getting into the details about the Agile methodology of mobile app development, it is necessary to have a brief idea of Agile technology.

What is Agile Technology?

Agile Technology is a method of mobile app development where a complex task is divided into a series of development cycles. Each of the part acts as a separate task for a development team. Then the different parts of the project are provided to their respective experts and also different experts are assigned to their respective teams. It turns out to be quite helpful in the project that embodies rapidly developing technologies. The basic manifesto of Agile Software is that it values Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools, Working Software over comprehensive documentation, Customer Collaboration over contract negotiation, and Responding to Change over following a plan.

Why should you use the agile methodology for mobile app development?

Why should you use the agile methodology
Mobile app development is quite a complex task. It is because of the act that there are many manufacturers, and undergoes rapid change and receives several updates as compared to the desktop. The difference in the hardware, software, and different networks enhances its complexity even further. It is quite diverse as different users interact with their smartphones in different ways. It requires customer involvement, planning, regular evaluation, and risk management. This iterative and flexible approach can be used in the complex projects where the requirements of the customers change from time to time. It also requires you to engage with your customers on a regular basis and take their feedback from time to time. The difference between the desktop and smartphone is changing day by day as these are becoming more and more powerful with the increase in the processing power, RAM, storage, etc.

Hence you need to take care of specific factors in mind while developing the apps like:

  • On which platform to build the apps?
  • Which devices to target?
  • How the users interact with the traditional applications?
  • Which operating system versions to support?
  • What should be the visual layout of the apps?
  • What features should be incorporated into the apps?
  • How to keep the app updated as per the latest version?

Taking care of these factors helps a great deal in the development of the app and also ensures that you can get the best results and that your app performs the task that it is intended to do. It also ensures that your clients and users are satisfied with the product. It also enhances team cooperation, pair programming, and testing during development. This, in turn, leads to better utilization of the human resources and complete the project within the time limit and within the budget. It also helps you to save your time and money. While the traditional approach is quite costly to implement and provide quite less scope for change, the agile approach helps get rid of these drawbacks as it is quite flexible and cost-effective. It is also quite adaptive. Since the errors are checked at each step, quite a few errors make it to the final version of the app and help you to develop a good quality app.

Benefits of Agile methodology

Agile provides many benefits the users, businesses, and developers. Some of the benefits of the Agile methodology are as follows:

  • Follows a team-based approach and promotes teamwork and team spirit.
  • Helps you to remain updated with the changes by making changes, adding new features and remain updated with the latest trends.
  • Facilitate testing at each stage of the development, planning, and research.
  • Helps the project launch faster.
  • Helps to meet the customer’s requirements.
  • Emphasis is laid on people and interactions rather than the process and tools as the customer, developers and testers are in constant communication with one another.
  • Helps you to know the customers better.

Types of Agile Development

Types of Agile Development
There are seven different types of agile development methodologies that are used in software development. These are:

  • Adaptive Software Development
  • Crystal Methods
  • Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)
  • Feature Driven Development
  • Lean Development
  • Extreme Programming and
  • Scrum

Adaptive Software Development

This method of software development is used for software projects that have changeable requirements and are short span projects. This is achieved by the process of speculation, collaboration, and learning.

Crystal Methods

Crystal methods are the lightweight methodologies that can be used to develop software by focusing on the properties like frequent delivery, reflective improvement, close or osmotic communication, personal safety, focus, easy access to expert users, and technical environment with automated tests, configuration management, and frequent integration. It is focussed on people, interaction, community, skills, talents, and communications.

Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

DSDM is another iterative agile development model in which it is made sure that at each step it is completed only enough to be ready to move to the next step. It helps to deliver working systems in shorter timescales. This helps in the continuous changing scenario as any further work can easily be put to work thereby not impacting the overall delivery process in any way. It also makes effective use of knowledge, tools, and techniques and helps to deliver new systems within the stipulated time period. It also helps the people to work together to achieve business goals. There are seven different phases of the DSDM framework. These are:

  • Pre-Project
  • Feasibility Study
  • Business Study
  • Functional Model Iteration
  • Design and Build Iteration
  • Implementation
  • Post-Project

The pre-project phase, business study, and the feasibility study phase sets the foundation for the project. It is in this phase that you can set the foundation rules for the rest of the project. The post-project phase aims to ensure that the business requirements have been met. It also aims to maintain the solutions operations and monitor its performance.

Feature Driven Development

Feature driven development is yet another agile methodology for mobile app development process that is model driven. At the beginning of the project, a model is designed that specifies several features and feature iterations. It consists of five different processes. These are:

  • Develop an Overall Model
  • Build Feature List
  • Plan By Feature
  • Design by Feature
  • Build By Feature

These processes contribute to the overall project development cycle like establishing the overall shape of the system, defining classes and interrelationships, develop feature list, and plan, design and build by feature.

Lean Development

Lean development is one of the best agile methodologies that is implemented for developing mobile apps. This software development principle aims to manage risks and further turn it into an opportunity by dealing with the risks and adapting it to the marketplace. This, in turn, provides a competitive advantage to the business over others. The lean development methodology consists of 7 essential principles. These are:

  • Eliminate Waste
  • Create Knowledge
  • Defer Commitment
  • Deliver Fast
  • Respect People
  • Build Quality In
  • Optimise the Whole

These help you to analyze the waste, i.e., not the core requirements and address them, gather feedback from the customers to improve the product, present choice of solutions, deferring commitment to limit the mistakes, deal with the changes, deliver fast by responding to change with the best and the latest features incorporated. It helps a lot in the mobile app development as you can quite easily choose the option to incorporate the latest features into the same. It also helps meet the demand of the users, developers, project owners, etc.

Extreme Programming (XP)

It is another methodology of Agile development that can be used for a small project or a small team and can be used for projects with frequently changing requirements. However, this methodology can be used for projects with bigger teams as well. In this method, the focus is laid on the project rather than that of its documentation as it follows the principle of simple code and design. This, in turn, makes it easier for the people who join at later stages.

It is based on four groups and twelve practices. The four groups that make the XP are collaboration, feedback, revision, and respect. In this, it requires the active participation of everyone including the customers. The twelve core practices of XP are coding standards, collective code ownership, simple design, system metaphor, pair programming, planning game, test driven development, the whole team, continuous integration, refactoring, small releases, and sustainable pace.

One of the best thing about this is that the focus is laid on the current task rather than the overall task. Feedback about the development is achieved through unit testing. Any new changes required are incorporated based on the feedback of the uses. This method also turns out to be quite useful for mobile app development as it helps you to launch the project and then incorporate the required changes as per the requirement.

Scrum

Scrum is another prevalent agile methodology process that implements the flexible process control for complex software projects. It also makes use of iterative and incremental practices. Based on the hypothesis that we cannot define the final requirements of the project, in the beginning, the knowledge is gained over the due process from the mistakes made over time. It solely focuses on checking the progress of the project and resolve the difficulties as soon as it is encountered in the frequent meetings. It provides the advantage that it helps to take action as and when the requirement changes.

Which Agile methodology for Mobile App Development to choose for your project?

All of the agile methodologies mentioned above is self-sufficient and may help you to complete your mobile app development project. However, it is necessary to choose the one that suits you the best based on your company size, company culture, team size, project size, budget, technical know-how, project criticality, requirements of projects and several such factors. In case of smaller projects and smaller team, Extreme Programming (XP) can be implemented while in the case of complex projects and bigger team Scrum methodology can be used. In case of the projects that require faster deliveries, the Lean development methodology can be used.

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Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K, is the Tech Lead at Acodez. With his rich and hands-on experience in various technologies, his writing normally comes from his research and experience in mobile & web application development niche.

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