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Agile website development – what does this mean?

agile website development

The term agile is a buzzword in IT (information technology). 8Webco checked the common meaning of the word from the Oxford Dictionary and found it is  “able to move quickly and easily”. So that means fast! This sounds great!

However, the word agile attached to IT  is more specific: it relates to engineering principles that come from  “The Manifesto for Agile Software Development” (from 2001 and now widely adopted) and to some methods and processes based on those principles:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

According to a  2014 survey, it now refers to an incremental method of website building that gives faster projects, manages changes to customer priorities better and increases team productivity . Agile methods are similar to those of the earlier Rapid Application Development (RAD) process in IT.  Two of the better known frameworks used to implement agile methods are Scrum and  IT-Kanban.

The agile website development is strongly supported by development platforms that enable easy changes including WordPress and other CMS (Content Management Systems).

However most organisations use a hybrid approach, mixing agile and traditional software process (e.g Prince2-Agile).

Agile website development at 8WebCo

At 8WebCo we use a number of agile techniques repeatedly in projects for smart solutions. These include:

  • Streamlining the project
  • Daily meetings
  • Small iterations
  • Tools that facilitate communication
  • Concentration on tasks that add value to the website
  • Avoiding tasks that are energy draining and lower value
  • Frequent sanity checks
  • Testing automation for larger projects
  • Collaborating with our customers (which we love doing).

More complete agile techniques are very useful to deploy in longer and medium scale web projects. In such projects the client commits to a continuing monthly retainer and a larger budgets apply.

It’s really important to adopt appropriate controls for agile. Targets still need to be set and the client’s commitment of their own time to the schedule is critical. For further useful information about controlling agile processes, refer to CIO Magazine: “Why ‘Agile Project Management Controls’ isn’t an Oxymoron”.

There are some criticisms of agile methodology. Critics have said: reviews are biased; it’s unusable for large, risky (e.g. core banking) or government projects (e.g. $1 million plus) ; it’s just giving existing good practice a new name.

However, agile is a great reminder to focus on what’s important and stay in the high value lower investment quadrant. Improvements can then be made incrementally. This way websites are lively, dynamic and provide a great customer experience.

Copyright Howard Fletcher,  8WebCo

Bibliography and further reading:

  1. “What is Agile Software Development?”, Agile Alliance, 8 June 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  2. Beck, Kent; et al. (2001), “Manifesto for Agile Software Development”, Agile Alliance. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  3. Martin, James (1991), Rapid Application Development, Macmillan, ISBN 0-02-376775-8.
  4. Kerr, James M., Hunter, Richard (1993), Inside RAD: How to Build a Fully Functional System in 90 Days or Less, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-07-034223-7 p.3.
  5. Larman, Craig (2004), Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager’s Guide, Addison-Wesley, ISBN 978-0-13-111155-4.
  6. “Agile With a Capital ‘A’ Vs. agile With a Lowercase ‘a'”, Rally, 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2016Taber, David, 2013, “Why ‘Agile Project Management Controls’ Isn’t an Oxymoron”, CIO MagazineAmbler, S.W. “Examining the Agile Manifesto”, http://guide.agilealliance.org/, retrieved 28 February 2016
  7. “PRINCE2® Agile”, www.axelos.com, Axelos Ltd. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  8. Gauthier, Alexandre “What is scrum”, Planbox, 17 August 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  9. Vasiliauskas, Vidas (2014), “Developing agile project task and team management practices”, Eylean.28 February 2016
  10. Boehm, B.; R. Turner (2004), Balancing Agility and Discipline: A Guide for the Perplexed, Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-321-18612-5.
  11. Ambler, Scott , “Agile/Lean Documentation: Strategies for Agile Software Development”. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  12. Wiseman, Geoffrey  (July 18, 2007), “Do Agile Methods Require Documentation?”,  Retrieved 28 February 2016InfoQ. quoting Cooper, Ian (6 July 2007), “Staccato Signals:Agile and Documentation”, WordPress.com. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  13. “Guide to Agile Practices”, Agile Alliance. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  14. Martin Fowler. “Using an Agile Software Process with Offshore Development” July 2006. Martinfowler.com. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  15. Sutherland, Jeff; Brown, Alex. “Scrum At Scale: Part 1”. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  16. Ebbage, Michael. “Setchu – Agile at Scale”.
  17. “State of Agile Development Survey Results”. http://www.versionone.com/. Version One. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  18. “Daily Scrum Meeting”. http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  19. May, Robert. “Effective Sprint Planning”. http://www.agileexecutives.org/. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  20. Namta, Rajneesh. “Thoughts on Test Automation in Agile”.http://www.infoq.com/.
  21. “Sprint Planning Meeting”. www.mountaingoatsoftware.com. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  22. Komus,. Ayelt: “Status Quo Agile, Second study on success and forms of usage of agile methods.” Retrieved 28 February 2016
  23. Ambler, Scott (3 August 2006). “Survey Says: Agile Works in Practice”.
  24.  “Answering the “Where is the Proof That Agile Methods Work” Question”. Agilemodeling.com. 19 January 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2016
  25.  Barlow, Jordan B.; Justin Scott Giboney; Mark Jeffery Keith; David W. Wilson; Ryan M. Schuetzler; Paul Benjamin Lowry; Anthony Vance (2011). “Overview and Guidance on Agile Development in Large Organizations”. Communications of the Association for Information Systems 29 Retrieved 28 February 2016

1 comment

  1. Agile software development is often implemented as a grassroots effort in organizations by software development teams trying to optimize their development processes and ensure consistency in the software development life cycle.

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