As an experienced QA Manager, I am sure that each person has to start by learning how a project should be handled through the Software Development Life Cycle. In the previous post, I explained the stages a software product has to take in order to go to market. However, there are multiple ways all the phases can be arranged and the product built. In this blog article, you will find details about Agile methodology and tremendous frameworks like Scrum and Kanban that are widely used within the IT industry and not only.
What a Software Development Methodology is?
A software development methodology is a set of guidelines that helps teams develop software in a structured and efficient way. In simple words, having a problem, we can use different algorithms to solve it. Depending on the algorithm you choose, you will have to spend a specific amount of resources and effort. The same logic is applied when building software products, if you want to build a product, you will select the best way to go through the SDLC phases, just to have an optimized yield.
There are several software development methodologies, each with its own set of practices and principles, advantages, and disadvantages. I will go with presenting the two most important ones:
- Agile Methodology: A flexible and iterative approach that emphasizes collaboration, customer satisfaction, and continuous improvement.
- Waterfall Methodology: A linear approach that follows a strict sequence of steps, from requirements gathering to deployment. There is only one iteration.
There are many methodologies already defined and put into practice by IT teams, however, for a promising start in the QA Career, I would highly recommend focusing on these 2, especially the Agile one, which will be the subject of this blog article. Each methodology has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of methodology often depends on the specific needs of the project and the team.
Agile Methodology in simple terms
Agile Methodology is a set of recommendations and rules that allows for building software in a smarter and faster way. Imagine mastering a big Lego house, instead of building it all at once, Agile is like building one piece at a time, checking that it works, and then adding more pieces. This way, you can make sure everything fits and works well together.
With Agile methodology, the people making the software work together and collaborate a lot to make sure they are all building the same thing. They also try to make small pieces of the software first and show it to people to see if they like it. If they do, then they make more pieces until they have the whole thing.
The first functional version of your Lego house would be named MVP– Minimum Valuable Product. Considering a software product, the MVP version would contain the default features that allow customers to get the minimum value from the product. Once the MVP is built, the team will come back with more iterations and product increments, that would add more value to the existing product.
This way of building the product makes sure the team is building the product the customers are waiting for and contains all the future as per their expectations.
Agile methodology has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more organizations adopting Agile practices. According to a survey by the Project Management Institute, 71% of organizations reported using Agile approaches in 2020, up from 59% in 2018. Agile has proven to be effective in a wide range of industries, from software development to manufacturing to healthcare. There are multiple frameworks that provide guides on how to use Agile in product development.
As I said before, Agile can be implemented in a variety of ways, and the most popular one is the Scrum Framework. First of all, it is important to note that a framework is a basic structure or set of rules that provides guidance for how something should be done. When we speak about the SCRUM framework we are meaning a basic structure and a set of rules that permits us to build software products based on Agile Methodology.
The Scrum framework is based on a set of roles, events, artifacts, and rules.
The roles include the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team.
The events include Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective.
The artifacts include the Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and Increment.
Scrum is based on empirical process control theory, which holds that knowledge comes from experience and making frequent inspections and adaptations. Scrum teams work in short sprints, usually two to four weeks, and at the end of each sprint, they review and adapt their process based on what they learned within a meeting called — Retrospective. This iterative approach allows for continuous improvement and helps teams deliver high-quality software more quickly.
How to use Scrum for developing an online store?
The best way to understand how to use the Scrum framework is by analyzing a case study of building an online store app. Below, I will script the steps you have to follow:
- Create the Product Backlog: Once we have a clear product vision, we can create a Product Backlog, which is a prioritized list of features and functionality that need to be developed to achieve the product vision. For an online store, some items on the Product Backlog might include creating a product catalog, implementing a shopping cart functionality, and integrating with a payment gateway. The responsibility for Product Backlog is taken by the Product Owner.
- Plan the Sprint: Before starting a Sprint, the team should plan out what they will work on during the Sprint. They will need to select the items from the Product Backlog that they will work on during the Sprint, estimate the effort required to complete those items, and create a Sprint Goal. For example, in our first Sprint, we might plan to work on the product catalog and aim to complete it within the two-week Sprint. The responsibility for the Sprint goal is taken by the Scrum Team.
- Conduct Daily Scrums: During the Sprint, the team should hold daily stand-up meetings to check in with each other, discuss progress, and identify any issues that need to be resolved. For example, in your daily Scrum, you might discuss how the product catalog is coming along, if you are on track to complete it within the Sprint, and if there are any blocks that need to be addressed.
- Conduct Sprint Review and Retrospective: At the end of the Sprint, the team should hold a Sprint Review to present the completed work to stakeholders and receive their feedback. They should also conduct a Sprint Retrospective to review the process and identify opportunities for improvement. For example, after completing the product catalog, we might demo it to stakeholders and receive feedback on the user experience. You might also conduct a retrospective to discuss what went well during the Sprint and what you can improve in the next Sprint.
- Repeat the Process: After the Sprint Review and Retrospective, the team should select new items from the Product Backlog and plan the next Sprint. They should then repeat the process, working in short Sprints, continually improving their process, and delivering working software at the end of each Sprint.
Overall, using Scrum can help teams develop complex products like online stores more efficiently and effectively. It provides a framework for planning, executing, and reviewing work, and promotes collaboration, transparency, and continuous improvement. By following the Scrum process, teams can stay focused on delivering value to customers and achieve their product vision more quickly.
From my perspective, knowing the Scrum framework and Agile methodology is a must-have when it comes to IT professionals.