With the immense popularity and huge demand for mobile apps, there has been a tremendous increment in the number of mobile app development projects. This has made the development of mobile applications, particularly which have a very long lifespan, a more complex and challenging task for developers. In today's highly competitive dynamic mobile environment, where customers' needs and expectations change in the blink of an eye, adopting a prompt and flexible app development approach is imperative for every app developer - not only to streamline the entire app development process but also to deliver the desired results within a very short span of time.
When it comes to developing a mobile app, there are two major methodologies typically used by app developers: Waterfall and Agile. Where Waterfall is a traditional app development approach that requires an application to be developed in multiple sequential phases, on the contrary, Agile has emerged as the most recent and effective methodology that divides the complete process into several different simultaneous development cycles. Given its flexibility, transparency and high speed of development, most of the mobile app development companies today prefer to use Agile over the regular Waterfall methodology. If you’re wondering how Agile is the right fit for mobile app development in the present scenario, read on to know everything about Agile Methodology and learn how it reinforces mobile app development.
As briefly mentioned above, Agile Methodology refers to an iterative and incremental app development approach that involves breaking down the entire app development life-cycle into a number of different tasks. The entire array of tasks is further divided into multiple sub-tasks, each of which acts as a separate module for the development team. Later, each module is assigned to a dedicated self-organizing and cross-functioning team of specialists who work on the module as a separate independent mini-project.
Unlike the traditional waterfall approach, which requires the previous phase to be completed in order to start the next one, the Agile methodology allows multiple teams to work simultaneously on all phases of the mobile app development process. Even, a completed phase can also be tested and revised during the development process. Thus, making the entire project an integration of different small modules, Agile not only reduces the overall risk but also provide developers full freedom and flexibility to develop a high-quality app that quickly adapts to changes post-release. Listed below are the key procedures that are essential for Agile development:
1 - Simple design
2 - Ability to complete a project in very a short period of time
3 - Extensive team collaboration, pair programming, and testing during development
4 - Inherent need for changes
5 - Welcoming and harnessing changes to the client's advantage
There are several software development frameworks and approaches that are considered as Agile methodologies as they have a vast number of characteristics in common with the Agile Manifesto. These methods include, but are not limited to, Scrum, Lean, Kanban, Crystal, Extreme Programming, and Feature Driven Development. Depending on the size, structure, and familiarity of your development team, you can choose the right methodology for your app project. However, the two most popular methodologies among app developers are Lean and Scrum.
Like any other technique, Agile also defines a set of principles that need to be followed during the development of a software application. The Manifesto for Agile software development presents 12 key principles that increase your teams’ productivity as well as improves the quality of final outcome. These are as follows:
1. 100% customer satisfaction through early and continuous delivery of the application, usually in one to four-week intervals.
2. Welcome any changes or modifications, even in the last stage of app development. Use changing requirements for the customer's competitive advantage.
3. Deliver working application on a regular basis, weekly or monthly, and always prefer a shorter timescale.
4. A close, daily collaboration between the app owner and developers to achieve the desired results
5. Projects should be built around motivated professionals whom you have to trust to get the job done. Provide them the environment and support they need to develop a top-notch quality app.
6. Face-to-face communication is the most efficient and effective way to exchange ideas and solve problems within a development team.
7. The best way to measure the progress of an ongoing project is the working software.
8. Promote sustainable development and try to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
9. Pay close, continuous attention to both great design and technical excellence
10. Simplicity is the driving force of Agile development
11. The best outcome comes from a perfect collaboration of self-organizing and cross-functioning teams.
12. The team should regularly reflect on how to be more efficient and effective and then should adjust its behavior accordingly.
Thus, the Agile Methodology focuses more on fulfilling the priorities of a project than dividing it into multiple independent sub-projects.
Now if we talk about the mobile application development, it is totally different from how we develop software for desktop devices. However, the major difference between two is the need for quick changes and constant updates. In contrast to a traditional desktop application, which is built to run on a high-powered computer for several years, the development of a mobile app presents a new set of challenges to developers. Let’s take a look at few limitations developers face while charting out a road-map for building a universally effective mobile app:
1: Frequently changing user interests and demands
2: Limited hardware
3: Fast downloads
4: Quick, smooth and easy updates
5: Short lifespan of the app
6: Short development cycles
7: Integrated database
8: Small screen sizes
9: Limited memory
10: Clumsy keyboards
11: Limited battery power
12: Distinctive operating systems
13: Less processing speed of mobile devices
14: Relatively slow network connections
All of these limitations add up to a big, crucial question for mobile app developers: How to consistently build high-quality mobile applications? And the perfect answer to this question is Agile Methodology. Let's explore some ways how Agile approach can enhance mobile app development:
Experimentation and adaptation are the keys to make a mobile app successful in today’s highly competitive market where hundreds of applications are submitted to the app stores every day. Providing an early visibility of the app to users, Agile allows them to post comments and give ratings based on their overall experience with the app. In accordance with the collected users’ feedback, you can revise a particular feature at any point of development - even after the app is launched. In other words, Agile goes well with the inherent ingredient of mobile app development, which is Iteration.
There is no doubt that technologies associated with the mobile devices undergo more frequent changes and updates than that of desktop devices. In such a scenario, Agile Methodology empowers developers not only to respond quickly to any technological changes but to also roll out the new improvement without much pain. In fact, Agile is the most suitable approach to fulfill highly volatile requirements of ever-evolving types of devices and operating systems.
With hundreds of alternatives to an app available on the market today, mobile users are intolerant to errors, bugs, and crashes. If something goes wrong with your app, there are high chances of getting it uninstalled from users’ devices. Passing the entire project through iterative cycles of testing and quality assurance checks, Agile methodology helps developers build a more qualitative and reliable mobile app which gets a permanent position in users’ devices.
As compared to desktop applications, mobile apps run in a relatively enclosed environment due to small screen sizes and limited bandwidths. For the reason, things like session duration, app download rate, in-app behavior, and user retention rate become an important affair for the mobile app owner. The Agile approach enables developers to experiment with these analytic attributes so they can accordingly adjust the design and features of apps to deliver users a quick, seamless and thoughtful experience.
Segregating the development of mobile app into several separate small modules, Agile methodology makes the entire project easily manageable as well as helps project managers get an idea of teams’ accountability and dedication towards their respective mini projects. As a result, there are no project failures in this approach as you can easily track and report issues during the frequent deliverables itself.
Probably the best thing about Agile Methodology is that it reduces the delivery time of a project to a great extent. This happens due to the iterative nature of Agile, which advocates simultaneous development and testing processes. In this methodology, developers are bound to release an app with prioritized features in the beginning and then add other secondary features in later versions. Consequently, the project always runs before the schedule, which makes it possible for the app development company to deliver the final app version on time.