What is Agile Technology? - Definition & Concepts

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  • 0:00 Being Agile
  • 1:06 How Agile Iterations Work
  • 1:55 Agile Iteration Review…
  • 3:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Bob Bruner

Bob is a software professional with 24 years in the industry. He has a bachelor's degree in Geology, and also has extensive experience in the Oil and Gas industry.

Have you ever wondered why agile software development has gained such traction in the tech industry? In this lesson, we'll highlight the concepts that make the agile methodology particularly well-suited to today's fast-paced world of software development.

Being Agile

Imagine that you've been hired to lead a team that is tasked with making nuts and bolts. Each item you produce will essentially be the same, with a few differences in size. In your new job, you would probably be happy to have one manufacturing blueprint and one manufacturing process that you could reliably repeat over and over, simply altering the size and packaging of your product as needed.

Now imagine instead that you have been hired to lead a team that is tasked with writing software that can automate the construction of building flying objects. Every object requires some set of specialized features, and your clients require a tight turn around schedule, even though they are prone to changing their mind about which features are most important.

In this case, a single blueprint and process would soon leave you facing bankruptcy as you struggle to adapt to your ever-changing requirements. Instead, you would need to be agile. Because you can not predict ahead of time exactly what your software is tasked with building, you need processes that are highly adaptive and which allow for constant inspection and modification. Welcome to the world of agile software development.

How Agile Iterations Work

Most agile teams use iterations, or sprints, as their construct for dealing with iterative development needs. In this model, the iteration is a time-boxed period, usually on the order of one or two weeks, in which the entire team is devoted to delivering the agreed to goals of the iteration.

An iteration planning meeting starts the sprint, and it's closed by an iteration review meeting. Typically, the iteration planning meeting is the formal period where the product owner provides a story or deliverable item for the team to deliver. That story is taken from a collection of work known as the product backlog, which the product owner owns and changes over time as new needs arise. Working together, the team agrees to the acceptable delivery goals for the iteration based on their understanding of the product owner's stated goals for that iteration.

Agile Iteration Review Meetings

At the end of the iteration, an iteration review meeting is held. This is the place where the team presents an actual working delivery for final review, which has been fully tested and delivered to standards agreed to in the team's definition of done. The iteration review meeting also includes a retrospective of the team's processes that either went well or poorly during the iteration, with the goal of adapting or evolving those processes in the future to allow for constant team improvement.

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