Developing new products is fairly easy these days compared to the situation a decade ago. Countless no-code tools and frameworks are allowing even the least tech-savvy people to create their own apps in a matter of weeks.But knowing how to create a few lines of code is just the beginning. To create something that solves an actual pain point and provides value to your audience, you need to be mindful of how you structure and build your product. This is where product development methodologies come in.
Today, we’ll be talking about agile. But before we do that, let’s take a step back.
What Is a Product Management Methodology?
A product management methodology is a principle a product manager (or someone else in the product team) uses when planning, structuring, and delivering a product. A product management methodology outlines the steps a product expert needs to take to take a product from a group of unstructured ideas to something that is used and loved by customers.
Agile methodology versus waterfall methodology
Agile and waterfall are two very popular methodologies used in software development and product management. Each has its strengths and flaws, but today we primarily want to discuss the differences between them.
Agile focuses on development cycles that are short and flexible. As the project is being worked on in Agile, you can do testing simultaneously to deliver a finished product as soon as possible.
On the other hand, Waterfall focuses on splitting up larger development and product tasks into smaller, incremental chunks that are less flexible and need to happen in a certain order. Testing happens only once everything has been fully built.
What is the agile product development process?
The agile product development process means developing a product by following the Agile methodology. There are 12 principles of agile product development, but we’ll give you the very basics here so you can have the overview at a glance.
- In Agile, work is delivered in short sprints (week to a month)
- After each sprint, there is a working product delivered to the customer
- Customers leave feedback on the finished work so the development team can start with another sprint
- The scope and requirements change quickly as agile is very flexible
- You do testing within the sprint so all bugs and errors are removed on the spot
There’s a reason why agile is so popular - it helps teams move quickly and deliver a finished (albeit imperfect) product and collect feedback.
What are the Agile Methodologies?
While “agile” has become an umbrella term for a few different development approaches, not all of them are the same. In fact, there are a few subsets of agile and we’re going to discuss each one in a minute.
Extreme Programming (XP)
This subset of agile focuses on finding the simplest solution possible that will work, without taking into consideration the long-term effects of building a product. If you want to build with customer satisfaction in mind, this is the methodology to follow.
Feature Driven Development (FDD)
The most basic of the Agile frameworks, FDD keeps the customer in mind while developing new features and delivering a product. A “feature” here might not necessarily mean a completely new feature. Instead, it could be something similar to a user story in the scrum where it’s just a small part of your overall product (or a full feature).
Lean Software Development (LSD)
Launched by Toyota, the main principle of lean is that anything that does not provide value to the end product should be removed. In short, if something is not helping achieve the goal within a sprint, it goes out the window.
If you’ve ever used a tool such as Trello or Asana, you’re familiar with the concept of Kanban. Work here is organized on boards which are divided into columns, containing cards. As tasks progress, their respective cards are moved through columns. One of the main benefits of Kanban is the easy overview of all ongoing and finished tasks.
This is one of the most popular agile frameworks because of a simple reason - it’s highly flexible. It focuses on people and the way that they work rather than the processes. Communication and collaboration are key. Crystal Clear is the variant of Crystal that includes up to 8 people in a team.
Scrum is an agile framework where the work is split up into sprints, all pointing to a larger product goal. The daily scrum is one of the main concepts in this methodology - this is a short meeting where all the team members get aligned on what’s coming next.
Benefits of Agile Product Development
Why would you bother with agile if your current way of product development is working? There are a handful of great reasons.
Allows companies to have rapid response times
Agile means it doesn’t take weeks or months to start working on something and deliver the results. Agile teams move in quick sprints, which allows them to react in a matter of days. Needless to say, this makes for happier customers.
Teams work better
When work has to be done quickly, it means no dragging through several blown deadlines and scheduling a meeting to discuss another meeting. Agile forces people to collaborate and be quick and efficient.
It limits upper-management interventions
There’s no room for lengthy debates on whether a feature needs to be built or not or whether some work is really necessary. Upper management has no say in everyday tasks as you’re quickly moving through them to solve a problem.
Proven Tips for Agile Product Development
To do agile product development well, you need to set yourself up for success. Especially if you’ve never worked in agile before and you’re moving from another framework, change can be abrupt. Here are some tips to have in mind.
Start with a few tasks or projects
Don’t just move your entire workload to agile, especially if you have a seasoned product with tons of features and many developers on board working on them. Agile will take a bit to master, so start with a handful of tasks as a test run first.
Embrace the changes
Agile won’t come easy to product people and developers used to working in the old way. Short sprints, continuous improvement, early delivery, all of these could get in the way of some of your people. Make sure that everyone embraces the changes and adapts to them over time.
Make sure each team is well staffed
To be able to deliver early and improve their work continuously over time, you need to have a good number of people in your development teams. In other words, you can’t quickly fix up a feature or a bug if there are two developers in your entire team.
Agile has been one of the most popular frameworks in recent years for a good reason. While not without its faults, it allows product teams to move quickly, resolve issues, be flexible with their approach, and most importantly, consider customer feedback as they develop new features and fix existing ones.
To help you succeed with Agile, you need a reliable way to get customer feedback and communicate with your customers. Why not give Feedbear a try? Grab our free trial and get closer to becoming fully agile today!