A systems development cycle (SDLC) for a long period has been the conceptual model for developing software; it has defined phases. The stages include user requirement definition, analysis and system designs, system requirement definition, testing, maintenance, and implementation. These models are commonly referred as plan- driven models since they emphasize on planning continuum. However, the modern world is experiencing rapid advancement in the field of business and technology. Software product requirements are changing continuously, and they may not be clear.
Product development approach used by companies face the need to adapt themselves to complex environments, which call for continuous transformation on how they develop a software product. Under the current circumstance, business agility is the fundamental elements in gaining market success and strategic advantages. Achieving modern software demand, organizations need to have agile techniques, architectures, methods, and tools that can react to real time changes and requirement. Agile methods are increment; they can accelerate delivery of quality product through continuous planning, feedback and close communication between developers and customers. This article proposes an incursion on how traditional software development project differs with developing a current software product.
The nature of software development is highly complex undertaking; it characterized by various requirements and need for specialized and diverse skills. It is common to find organization often overwhelmed by inherent complexity requirement. Often the process is poorly defined and unpredictable due to undefined inputs and outputs, and thus, the process is considered unrepeatable.
Since inception, rational and engineering based approaches such as Waterfall method had been employed to develop projects. These traditional models assume that problems can be well defined; hence, the process can be optimized, and extensive up-front planning is conducted to measure variation in the development cycle. From customer’s perspective, these traditional approaches have pro and cons. The definite advantage is its scalability since large projects may need an active plan. However, its shortcoming is based on assumptions that customer requirements are always understood completely and that they do not change, which is rarely the case. Further, the process takes too long, such that by the time they reach to end users, users requirement have changed.
To address the shortcoming posed by traditional method in Software product development used a set of light methods referred as “Agile” was developed. This method uses various scientific tactics to overcome dynamic limitations. One of the methods is to use Empirical Process Control, based on “soft thinking”. The other method is usually, to refer to Product development approach used in an organization as complex adaptive system and designs team structure around it. The process changes from linear cycle model into an evolutionary delivery model that is characterized by periodic reflections, short interactive cycles, adaptations, and continuous integration of codes into the software product under development. Also, agile product development calls for constant collaboration with customers through their input and feedback at various checkpoints.
Successful transition of organizations to agile methods of Software product development used may depend on careful consideration of personnel and processes aspect that may need to be changed in an organization. Moreover, an organization may need to consider a combination of both Agile and traditional methods based on projects size, customer readiness, complexity, and a need for speed.