Overview of YooCollab’s Software Development ApproachesOct 21,2022
The software development process is not a simple one. Producing and testing software and coming up with the final product users will love requires long periods of planning and structuring, as well as collaboration and control. To ensure the process goes smoothly, over time many software development methodologies emerged, some are more popular than others.
The software development process is no different at YooCollab. When working on the software, different teams are involved working on a variety of tasks to ensure an impeccable final product. To ensure this, after trying and testing many different approaches and measuring their effectiveness we’ve adopted two methodologies: Agile and Waterfall, two very widely-adopted software development approaches. To give you a better idea of why these two methodologies are so widely accepted, in this article we take a closer look at the pros and cons of each and dive deeper into cases when they work the best.
Agile Approach to Software Development
If you aren’t new to the world of software development, you’ve probably heard the word “agile” being used quite often recently.
The word “agile” means to be able to move quickly and easily, and Agile software development has adopted this iterative approach. It requires speed and flexibility and concentrates not on the whole product but on clean delivery of small parts of it during shorter, clearly set timeframes. Agile, however, is not a single method, but an umbrella term covering several frameworks. At YooCollab, we are using the Scrum framework, which practices “time-box” efforts.
Agile in general and Scrum, in particular, come with many benefits that helped us with the development process, as well as some downsides that we’ve noticed.
Advantages of Agile
Responding to change – This may be one of the biggest advantages of Agile. Responding to change is easier with Agile as instead of trying to build the entire product at once, the team is working on a clearly defined set of the most important tasks at the moment. The team gets valued as their work is noticed on a daily basis, and the customers get the critical solutions they need much faster.
Embracing uncertainty – The truth is, when the project is just starting, nobody knows everything about it. There are plans, ideas, and projections, however, they may change during the development process. Another idea Agile is based on is the idea of uncertainty. For example, the team might find that the problem it is working on is much deeper, or, on the contrary, the customers don’t need the solution that’s being developed. More information is discovered about the project as it goes, and Agile allows everyone involved to accept that.
Speeding up the review circles – Agile is an iterative approach to software development, which means that it’s essential to continuously try out new ideas, check what worked and what didn’t, and change the process accordingly. The time-box approach allows teams to review the completed work and provide feedback faster, to make sure that high-quality product users actually want to receive is delivered.
Disadvantages of Agile
Uncontrolled independence – Although Agile is flexible and gives some type of freedom to all team members, it’s important to realize that no product can be created at least without an understanding of the deliverables, some documentation, as well as the dedication of everyone involved. If not controlled properly, this can lead to failure.
High levels of unpredictability – Because a lot of planning happens during the process as the stakeholders acquire new information about the project, Agile makes the project harder to predict. Sometimes, it becomes impossible to understand what resources will be necessary for the next steps or what the upcoming features are.
At YooCollab, we find that Agile works for us because it values individual team members and interactions over the process, helps us to craft a working software instead of spending too much time on documentation, as well as overall improve our collaboration with the client.
Waterfall Approach to Software Development
As mentioned earlier in the article, another approach that we use at YooCollab depending on the project is Waterfall. This methodology is different from Agile in that in Waterfall, one stage of the process is completed entirely before moving on to the next one. This way there is no overlap between stages of work, as the development process smoothly flows from one stage to the next.
As Agile, Waterfall too has its upsides and downsides. Here are the ones we’ve singled out.
Advantages of Waterfall
Speed – Documentation is a key part of Waterfall. Since it’s ready since the beginning, everyone involved in the project has a clear understanding of the project needs. This also speeds up the testing process.
No financial surprises – Because of the in-detail pre-planning, it’s easier to estimate the costs of the project, and there are very rarely any financial surprises.
Timelines are kept – Each phase of the project is clearly defined and has a fixed timeline. Because of the documentation, the desired outcome is also clear, ensuring that the development process goes smoothly and every phase is finished in time.
Disadvantages of Waterfall
Changes are complicated – After the initial planning and approved documentation, it may be difficult to make changes, as Waterfall is not the most flexible software development framework. This may slow down the development process and confuse the timeline, as well as increase the costs.
Harder to define needs – Because development phases in the case of Waterfall take longer than the time-boxes in the case of Agile, it can be harder to understand the client’s needs at any given time. And if those needs alter, making changes will take longer because of the large amount of work already completed.
At YooCollab, we use Waterfall in cases when the scope of the project is more or less clearly defined, with not many changes expected to happen. It allows us to complete the requirements early on and improve resource utilization by splitting the tasks.
Choosing the Right Software Development Approach
Choosing the right software development methodology will lay the groundwork of your entire project, that’s why it should be approached with care and attention. To make sure you choose the right framework, you need to:
- Understand the needs of your client or your customers;
- Have an understanding of characteristics of the project you are going to work on;
- Understand how flexible you can be during the development process, both time- and money-wise.
While it’s impossible to predict the future or know how the project will go, having some ideas about these points will set you on the right path of choosing the right software development approach for your upcoming project. For example, in case your customer base loves to give feedback and expects the product to alter, Agile may be a more preferred option to Waterfall.
When it comes to choosing the right software development methodology for your project, there is no right answer. Each project should be approached from a new angle and taken into consideration individually. For use, the combination of Agile and Waterfall creates the necessary balance between flexibility and predictability to ensure the success of our projects. If you are unsure about where to start with choosing the right development approach, these two may be a safe bet.