Sample Personal Critique of Agile and Scrum Methodologies

Agile refers to a group of software development methodologies that help in testing and continuous iteration of development in the software development life cycle (SDLC) process. Based on iterative development, the requirements for agile methodology as well as its solutions change frequently as there is involvement of self-organizing cross-functional teams with different opinions. In the agile methodology, concurrence is witnessed in development and testing activities, thus differentiating it from other methodologies of software development. Scrum is one of the sub-sets of agile methodology and the most widely-used of them. Additionally, it can be differentiated from other agile processes by specific practices and concepts and happens to be the most commonly used in the management of complex software development and product development through the use of incremental and iterative processes. I believe that agile and scrum methodologies are beneficial and best for use in the SDLC process despite having some have weaknesses.

Agile Methodology

I find agile methodology to be beneficial to the SDLC process. The agile methodology is beneficial to customers, development teams, vendors, product managers, project managers, as well as PMOs and C-level executives. Customers are important in the SDLC processes as they engage vendors who are responsive to their development requests. In this case, when agile is used, it offers an opportunity for quickly developing and delivering high-value features with a short-cycle. The short-cycle is contrary to the longer cycles witnessed when classic waterfall processes are used.

The agile methodology is preferable to other software development methodologies because of its benefits to vendors. During my interaction with vendors who use the agile methodology, I learned that the methodology helps them to reduce wastage as it enables them to develop high-value features. The agile methodology also aids vendors by reducing time-to-market in relation to waterfall processes as a result of increased efficiency and decreased overhead. Besides, for most vendors, the methodology is critical to the improvement of customer satisfaction, which translates to positive customer references and customer retention and attraction.

Agile methodology is mainly used in the software development life cycle process, hence its benefits development teams. Having interacted with development teams who rely on the agile methodology, I noted that it makes members of development teams enjoy their work and see that their work is used and valued. Agile also seems to profits development teams given its role in reducing non-productive work. An example of non-productive work reduced by the methodology is writing specifications and artifacts that are not in use. Furthermore, the agile methodology offers development team members more time to do the work that they enjoy. Requirements for agile are selected with a focus on customer value maximization thereby creating a situation where members of the development team feel that their work is valued.

My strong support for agile methodology is also because of its benefits to product and project managers. Product managers play the role of product owners hence have a duty to ensure customers are satisfied and happy though the alignment of development work with customers’ needs. The alignment is as a result of providing opportunities for re-prioritizing work, which leads to maximizing value delivery. Additionally, agile creates a situation whereby planning and tracking tend to be easier and more concrete as compared to how they are in waterfall processes. Another key requirement in the methodology is Burndown Charts responsible for displaying progress while focusing on fast-level tracking. The charts help to enhance the awareness of the project manager of the project’s state. With enhanced awareness, the project manager can monitor the project while identifying and resolving issues quickly.

Agile methodology benefits project management officers (PMOs) and C-level executives. For example, it provides high visibility into a development project’s state on day-to-day. Such visibility can then be used by PMOs and C-level executives for planning effectively and adjusting their strategies because it reduces speculation and substantial information.

Agile methodology is often compared to other waterfall processes and has been said to have some weaknesses despite its usefulness. Although other waterfall processes have a defined hierarchy in how they replicate the social model of a dysfunctional organization, agile does not have a well-defined hierarchy in how it replicates the same. Besides, agile helps in increasing feedback frequency with the biggest disadvantage being the lack of real power for engineers. As such, engineers are likely to be punished when processes take longer than expected. The benefits of agile methodology surpass its weaknesses, meaning that it is best for use in the SDLC process.

Scrum Methodology

Scrum is a sub-set of agile methodology that is used mainly for software development projects with the primary objective of delivering a new software capability every two to four weeks. It has a significant influence on the Agile Manifesto that gives insight into principles and values known to guide high-quality software development decisions. Moreover, it is the most commonly used subset of agile methodologies by software development teams since roughly 70 percent of software teams prefer scrum or scrum hybrid.

The scrum methodology, like the agile methodology, has numerous benefits to organizations and software development teams. Some of the gains include higher productivity, reduction in time to market, improved stakeholder satisfaction, improved quality of products, better team dynamics, and happier employees or team members. I also find the scrum methodology special since it resolves the complexity of work through making information transparent. Once software development teams have ready access to information, they can not only inspect but also adapt to existing rather than predicted conditions. As a result, the teams are able to address challenges encountered in the waterfall development process, such as underestimation of time, constant change of requirements, inaccuracy in progress reporting, and compromised software quality. A major requirement in scrum methodology is transparency of common terms and standards that helps to make sure that only what was expected is delivered.

I believe that both agile and scrum methodologies are important in the SDLC process. Agile methodology benefits customers, development teams, vendors, product managers, as well as PMOs and C-level executives. Some of the benefits include more responsive to requests for customers, reduction in non-productive work for development teams, increased efficiency for vendors, maximum delivery of value for product owners, and high visibility of daily project development for PMOs and C-level executives. However, I find the agile methodology less effective at times because its replication of the social model is often without a well-defined hierarchy. Besides, although feedback frequency is increased by the agile methodology, the biggest disadvantage is the lack of real power for engineers. Engineers must enjoy and exercise real power in the SDLC process if the process is to be successful. The scrum methodology is a sub-set of the agile methodology and the most preferable and widely used of other sub-sets. Its benefits include reduced time to market, higher productivity, better-quality products, and happier employees or software development teams.