26Sep 2023

What is Agile Software Development and How Agile Methodology Works in Project Management?

As the technology sector progresses, software development has become a vital component of many companies’ operations. However, regular project management approaches commonly come up short when it comes to delivering software projects within budget and on schedule. 

Agile software development is seen as an attractive alternative compared to the traditional waterfall method. Its flexibility, quickness, and capacity for promptly adapting to changing market needs have made agile methodology well known. 

In this article, we will provide an in-depth overview of what agile software development is, how it works in project management, its principles, and its implementation.

Agile Methodology

Agile methodology is a cyclical prototype-driven technique of software production that centers on the delivery of functional code that satisfies customer needs. This approach emerged in 2001 when a number of developers noted their discontentment with prevailing software development methods and formulated the Agile Manifesto. 

Nowadays, it isn’t limited to just programming but can be applied to different types of projects too as its primary ideas are based on collaboration, suppleness, and ongoing progress.

Agile methodology stresses the necessity of communication, cooperation, and teamwork. It involves dividing up software engineering into small, achievable parts called sprints. Sprint meetings are conducted at the beginning of every sprint to decide objectives, activities, and timelines for that sprint. 

Regular stand-up gatherings take place daily to keep track of advancement and locate any possible obstructions blocking progress. Agile can also be used in other project varieties apart from just software development.

Agile Software Development

Agile software engineering is a technique for creating programs that concentrate on delivering working applications that meet the customer’s needs. It follows an adjustable and pliant approach, allowing development groups to rapidly respond to alterations in market demands. This methodology places emphasis on speedy end results while still keeping quality at a high level.

Agile software development involves subdividing the process of creating programming into shorter phases known as sprints. Usually lasting two to four weeks each, these segments are dedicated to producing a functioning addition or version of the code. 

Agile Life Cycle
Agile Life Cycle – Image Source: Wrike

To ensure that what is created meets customer demands, developers and clients cooperate in an iterative manner throughout all sections.

In summary, Agile methodology is a conceptual framework composed of values and principles that can be utilized for different types of projects. For software development, Agile software development follows those same guiding ideas from the overall Agile methodology to create deliverables more quickly and efficiently.

History of Agile Software Development

Agile software development has its roots in the past several decades and has been defined by groundbreaking advances made by different developers. Key moments of progress have paved the way for Agile’s continued growth and maturation.

History of Agile
History of Agile – Image Source: Visual Paradigm

Tracing its roots back to the 90s, Agile software development arose as a response to issues with the traditional waterfall model of software production. 

Seeking alternative solutions for delivering high-quality applications on tight schedules, Kent Beck pioneered Extreme Programming (XP), which highlighted testing and continuous integration among other practices. This marked one of the earliest contributions to this new approach focused on collaboration and flexibility.

In 2001, Agile software development saw a major breakthrough with the creation of the Agile Manifesto. This set of shared values and principles for developing software was established by a group of programmers who met to discuss their beliefs about how software should be developed. 

The manifesto puts particular emphasis on collaborative customer involvement, being flexible in reaction to changes, and releasing working products frequently. Becoming an authoritative source in the field, this declaration has been instrumental in furthering agile methodology’s popularity within the programming industry.

The principles of Agile software development have progressed over time, introducing novel techniques such as Scrum, Kanban, and Lean-Agile. Nowadays, it is a popular option amongst many tech teams due to its capability for regular product delivery.

Agile Methodology Principles

Agile methodology is driven by a series of values that emphasize collaboration, adaptability, and customer satisfaction. These principles include: 

Agile Methodology Principles
Agile Methodology Principles – Image Source: Intellipaat
  1. Customer satisfaction is the highest priority

The agile methodology places emphasis on customer satisfaction, making it a priority in the software development procedure. This necessitates that developers collaborate with the customer to guarantee their desires are fulfilled and they are pleased with the finished product.

  1. Embrace change

The agile methodology acknowledges the fact that software development is a continuous process and that changes are unavoidable. Accordingly, developers must be willing to adjust as necessary during all stages of the project, regardless of when changes arise.

  1. Deliver working software frequently
Deliver Working Software
Deliver Working Software – Image Source: Freepik

The agile methodology encourages regularly delivering working software, allowing customer input to be collected throughout development instead of waiting until completion. This helps ensure that changes can be made early on during the process.

  1. Collaboration between customers and developers is essential

Achieving success with a project entails close collaboration between the customer and the development team. It’s essential that the customer is engaged at all stages of progress, ranging from formulation to completion.

  1. Build projects around motivated individuals

Agile development emphasizes that those who are enthusiastic about their task are more apt to create top-notch work. Therefore, the building squad should be comprised of people who have the eagerness for their project and a drive to succeed.

  1. Face-to-face communication is the most effective
Face to face Illustration
Face-to-face Illustration – Image Source: Freepik

Agile development stresses the importance of real-time conversations rather than other means of communication. As such, regular face-to-face sessions should be held to evaluate how far along the project is and take care of any issues that may arise.

  1. Working software is the primary measure of progress

The Agile methodology gauges advancement by evaluating the production of operating software, as opposed to finishing separate jobs. Doing so encourages the development crew to prioritize the ultimate objective and customer fulfillment.

  1. Sustainable development requires maintaining a constant pace

Agile development acknowledges that maintaining a constant pace is essential for sustained progress. Thus, teams should try to avoid working excessive hours or being too ambitious with deadlines, as this leads to fatigue and poorer results.

  1. Technical excellence and good design enhance agility

Agile development understands that top-notch technology and exceptional design are necessary for creating high-quality software which can be altered when needed. Therefore, the team should make sure to put these factors first in all phases of development.

  1. Simplicity is essential

The agile approach to software development emphasizes the importance of keeping things as straightforward and uncomplicated as possible while still satisfying a customer’s needs. This means that the development team should strive to minimize complexity by reducing unnecessary features, processes, or components where possible.

  1. Self-organizing teams are the most effective
Deadline and Time Management Business Concept
Deadline and Time Management Business Concept – Image Source: Freepik

Agile development acknowledges that teams that are empowered to self-manage tend to be more successful than those under close supervision. Therefore, the development team should be permitted autonomy in how they plan and execute their responsibilities.

  1. Regular reflections and adjustments are necessary for continuous improvement

Agile development acknowledges that ongoing contemplation and adjustment are essential for continual enhancement. This suggests that the improvement group should routinely ponder their efforts and approaches, making modifications where necessary to boost their work.

These principles act as a guideline for agile software development and help to ensure that the team is concentrating on providing functional computer programs which meet customer demands. They serve to promote the successful delivery of projects with quality outcomes.

Benefits of Agile Methodology in Software Development

Agile methodology provides numerous advantages for software development teams, such as:

  • Faster time to market: Agile development facilitates the rapid and regular creation of functional software, giving teams the ability to adapt to fluctuations in customer requirements.
  • Increased customer satisfaction: Agile development puts the emphasis on satisfying the customer’s objectives and desires, which leads to software that meets their expectations.
  • Improved collaboration: Agile development necessitates a high level of cooperation between the people working on the project and those who are affected by it, leading to enhanced communication and common recognition of what is intended to be accomplished.
  • Reduced risk: Agile software development focuses on delivering functional components in stages, thereby reducing the potential for project failure and enabling earlier detection and resolution of issues.
  • Greater adaptability: Agile development facilitates teams to rapidly respond to evolving requirements, equipping them with the capability of staying ahead of their rivals.

Agile vs. Waterfall Methodology

Agile vs. Waterfall Concept
Agile vs. Waterfall Concept – Image Source: Scrum.org

Agile methodology is contrasted with the traditional waterfall methodology, which follows a linear, step-by-step process. The distinction between these two strategies lies in that while waterfall necessitates teams to complete each stage before continuing to the subsequent one, Agile advocates working iteratively and constantly furnishing usable software.

The waterfall methodology is a linear and structured approach to software development wherein the design process progresses in a sequential manner. This method involves tracking each step of the SDLC via Gantt chart visualizations, with every stage needing to be completed before one can progress onto the upcoming phase.

Waterfall Methodology Phases – Image Source: TeamGantt

In contrast, Agile methodology is a flexible and iterative way of building software, with a focus on delivering functional software quickly and frequently. 

Agile Process
Agile Process – Image Source: PMIS Consulting Limited

The Agile methodology is a continuous iteration life cycle model for developing and testing software, allowing for changes to be made at any point in the development process. The agile methodology follows an incremental approach, whereas the waterfall is a sequential design process.

In terms of testing and quality assurance, there is a fundamental distinction between Agile and Waterfall. With Agile, the testing stage usually takes place concurrently with development, while in contrast, Waterfall favors scheduling it after all coding work has been completed. This makes the former better able to accommodate any adjustments that might need to be made during the process as well as provide more rapid feedback throughout its duration.

While both the Agile and waterfall methodologies are usable, mature methodologies, the Agile methodology is more flexible, adaptable, and responsive to changing conditions than the traditional waterfall methodology. 

In fact, in the United States, a majority of businesses have adopted Agile as their preferred method; it has been successful in around 64% of cases, while waterfall methodology is less so with only 49%. This indicates that Agile projects are almost 1.5 times more likely to be effective compared to those utilizing the latter model.

Agile Software Development: Process

Now that we have a solid understanding of Agile, including its principles and importance, let’s delve into the Agile software development process.

The process of Agile software development revolves around breaking down the software development cycle into smaller, more manageable tasks, known as sprints. These sprints, which typically last between one to four weeks, focus on a particular set of goals that must be accomplished by the development team. 

Agile Software Development Process
Agile Software Development Process – Image Source: Medium

Upon wrapping up each cycle, stakeholders and personnel involved review what has been completed thus far before determining what tasks should take precedence in the next round.

Let’s examine the steps as depicted in the image above, which outline the agile software development process.

  1. Sprint planning: The development team, product owner, and scrum master assemble to arrange the tasks set to be achieved in the upcoming sprint.
  2. Sprint backlog: A sprint backlog is a compilation of tasks that the development team agrees to get done in an upcoming sprint. It contains user stories they plan on completing during this period.
  3. Sprint: The sprint is a time-boxed period of development, normally lasting from one to four weeks, wherein the development team works hard to accomplish all tasks assigned in the sprint backlog.
  4. Daily stand-up: The daily stand-up is a short meeting where the development team discusses progress and any obstacles they are facing.
  5. Sprint review: At the end of the sprint, developers demonstrate what they have accomplished to stakeholders and hear responses.
  6. Sprint retrospective: The development team takes stock of the sprint and evaluates what could be done better in the future. They review their successes, challenges, and shortcomings to identify areas that need improvement going forward.

Agile Software Development: Team Roles

Agile Team Roles
Agile Team Roles – Image Source: TutorialsCampus

Agile software development requires the following team roles:

  • Product owner: This is the person responsible for defining the product vision and prioritizing the product backlog.
  • Scrum master: This is the person responsible for ensuring that the agile methodology is being followed and that the team is working effectively.
  • Development team: This is the group responsible for designing, developing, and testing the software product.

Implementing Agile Methodology in Your Software Development Project

Embracing an agile methodology involves dedication to teamwork, being open to changes, and prioritizing customer preferences. To follow through on that, the following steps must be taken: 

  • Training: Provide training to the development team, product owner, and scrum master to ensure they understand the principles and practices of agile development.
  • Plan: Plan the project in an iterative and incremental manner, with a focus on delivering working software quickly and frequently.
  • Prioritize: Prioritize user stories based on business value and customer needs.
  • Collaborate: Encourage close collaboration between the development team and stakeholders, with a focus on communication and a shared understanding of project goals.
  • Iterate: Use feedback from stakeholders to continuously improve the software and the development process.

Agile Project Management

Agile project management involves utilizing agile methodology to manage software development endeavors. To facilitate this process, various tools exist that help software developers organize and oversee their projects more proficiently. Such tools include but are not limited to:

  1. Agile project management software 

Tools such as Jira and Trello can help teams manage their work, track progress, and collaborate effectively.  For sprint planning, for instance, Jira furnishes teams with a suite of features that help ensure efficient progress. 

Version control and story points are built-in, facilitating the smooth functioning of scrum meetings and making timely access to reports easy – from burn-down charts to sprint summaries – via personalized dashboards.

  1. Burndown charts 

Burndown charts provide a visual representation of progress, showing how much work has been completed and how much remains. A burndown chart graphs the amount of work left to finish a project on one axis and how much time has elapsed since the start of it upon another. 

Components of a Burndown Chart
Components of a Burndown Chart – Image Source: ClickUp

This way, both past and future can be monitored in an easy-to-understand visual representation. The whole agile team is able to view this chart regularly so they have up-to-date data at all times.

  1. Kanban boards 

These are visual tools that help teams track the progress of their work. Kanban boards are an efficient way to manage projects and ensure optimal workflow. 

These visually appealing tools contain cards, columns, and other elements that enable agile teams as well as DevOps groups to efficiently organize their tasks while also limiting the amount of work-in-progress. This system helps them make sure they commit themselves to just the right number of jobs and then have it done successfully.

  1. Retrospectives 

Retrospectives are regular meetings where the development team reflects on the development process and identifies areas for improvement. It is advisable to go through a Retrospective with your team every couple of weeks or upon completion of a project milestone in order to evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and why. 

Doing so can help identify areas for improvement in terms of teamwork and overall performance. Reflecting on successes as well as shortcomings provides valuable insight into how the team works and can help everyone move forward together more effectively.

Common Challenges in Agile Methodology and How to Overcome Them

Agile methodology can present several challenges for software development teams, including:

  1. Resistance to change 

Some team members may be resistant to the change in approach that agile methodology represents. Address this by providing training and education to ensure that everyone understands the benefits of agile development.

  1. Lack of clarity 

Agile development requires close collaboration between the development team and stakeholders, which can result in a lack of clarity around project goals. Address this by prioritizing communication and ensuring that everyone has a shared understanding of project goals.

  1. Unrealistic expectations 

Agile development allows for changing requirements, but this can lead to unrealistic expectations from stakeholders. Address this by prioritizing communication and managing expectations through regular feedback and progress reports.

Best Practices for Implementing Agile Methodology

To successfully implement the agile methodology in your software development project, consider these best practices:

  • Start small and build momentum
  • Prioritize collaboration and communication
  • Embrace change and flexibility
  • Deliver working software quickly and frequently
  • Focus on customer satisfaction
  • Continuously improve the development process


Agile software development has become an appealing alternative to the traditional waterfall system, promoting customer experience through collaboration, adaptability, and flexibility. 

Adopting agile brings numerous benefits, such as faster turnaround time, more satisfied customers, enhanced cooperation amongst stakeholders, minimized risks, and better responsiveness. 

To make sure your venture runs smoothly with this methodology in place, it is important to have the right tools and practices in order for the successful delivery of top-notch products that would fulfill customer expectations.

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Rithesh Raghavan

Rithesh Raghavan

Rithesh Raghavan, Co-Founder, and Director at Acodez IT Solutions, who has a rich experience of 16+ years in IT & Digital Marketing. Between his busy schedule, whenever he finds the time he writes up his thoughts on the latest trends and developments in the world of IT and software development. All thanks to his master brain behind the gleaming success of Acodez.

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