Agile 101: A Brief Intro to Agile Product Development

Agile 101: A Brief Intro to Agile Product Development

Agile methodology is ideal for companies that wish to develop products in a short time. Agile methodology allows the development of the product at the very same time with the gathering of its requirements and information. This can shorten significantly the development time, while it returns an attuned product to the needs of the market when released. But could Agile development be used in localization industry and how could exactly find its place in it?

Let’s begin with a short Agile product development definition. Agile development, in its simplest form, offers a lightweight framework for helping teams. It tends to give a constantly evolving functional and technical landscape, while keeping focus on the rapid delivery of business product.  One Agile methodology that is more commonly encountered is Scrum. Scrum is an Agile project management methodology or framework used with the goal of delivering new product capability every 2-4 weeks. It is one of the approaches that influenced the Agile Manifesto, the first book to articulate a set of values and principles to guide decisions on how to develop higher-quality software faster. Scrum has spread to different business functions except for software development, including IT and marketing where projects must move forward in the presence of complexity and ambiguity. We often see leadership teams base their agile management practices on Scrum, often combining it with Lean and Kanban practices (subgroups of agile project management).

Agile is designed to be a) iterative, as the work is conducted by the members of the team on a regular basis, b) incremental, as each member should present a feature to be changed, added or omitted in order to increase the value of the product and c) economical regarding to the cost and time of the product delivery to the market. As a result of these features the benefits of Agile product development are that organizations are capable of significantly reducing the overall risk associated with software development.

Once upon a time, there was this perception that Agile methodology can only apply in software development. However, as times and technology needs are changing, we are seeing more and more applications of Agile in broader product development and even in sales and marketing departments. The core principles of Agile that we used to see principally in software development now translate very well to product development.

Agile methods came out of the real-life project obstacles of leading software professionals.  The challenges and limitations of traditional waterfall development they experienced on project after project led them to search for a more flexible and adaptable approach. One thing that is given more emphasis in Agile development is the collaboration, as members of the product development team put their heads together to solve problems. What is more, while practicing the Agile development people empowerment is also prioritized. Teams or sub-groups should always be formed according to members’ preferences, making sure that each person is occupying with the tasks they feel more comfortable about and with the co-workers they communicate better. The members of the team will also be more motivated working with other people in the team, instead of for a person of authority.