Agile software development is a software engineering methodology in which application functionality is designed and built incrementally, in a series of brief, iterative development cycles. Agile software development has become a popular alternative to the traditional "waterfall" approach to building software, which is characterized by long and broad-scale development cycles during which much time is consumed by creating exhaustively detailed requirements and design documentation.
There are a variety of frameworks for implementing agile software development, of which Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP) are the most widely adopted. But while they may vary in the particulars, all agile software development approaches have in common short, fast development cycles (typically no longer than a month); close collaboration with application stakeholders; early and continuous integration and testing of software; and the goal of producing usable, release-ready applications by the end of each development cycle.
Agile software development benefits
Agile software development has many benefits, the most powerful of which are:
More efficient use of programmers’ time. Agile makes better use of programmers’ valuable time, in two ways. First, agile modeling and documentation requirements are light compared to the sometimes onerous documentation demands of the waterfall method, allowing programmers to spend more time programming and less time writing specs. Second, the Agile continuous integration routine brings most application bugs to light early in the development process, when the problems are still small and the code still fresh in mind. This allows for efficient bug-fixing.
Increased likelihood of high quality releases. Because each development cycle is limited in scope—and also because of deployment automation and other continuous delivery tools that tend to be used in support of the Agile method—organizations can have more confidence in the quality of each release to production.
Improved responsiveness to users. A major failing of the waterfall method is that software makers sometimes find that they’ve slowly and painstakingly built features that it turns out users no longer want. agile software development, with its incremental and iterative approach to developing new features in close collaboration with stakeholders, is better able to adapt quickly to evolving user preferences.
How Dynatrace amplifies the benefits of agile software development
Dynatrace is the application performance monitoring (APM) solution tailored made for agile software development and DevOps. By integrating with all phases of your application delivery pipeline, Dynatrace amplifies the main benefits of the Agile method:
Developer efficiency. With Dynatrace integrated into desktop IDEs and build routines, developers get the benefit of early detection of performance regressions or bottlenecks, allowing such issues to be fixed promptly and efficiently. Dynatrace also helps developers by providing pinpoint root cause analysis for application performance problems, whether those problems surface during early testing or later while in production.
Release quality. By having your continuous integration tools invoke Dynatrace (through a REST API), you can get more value from your continuous integration routine. From day to day throughout the development cycle, you can confirm not only that the latest build functions as expected, but that it satisfies key performance objectives.
User responsiveness. Leverage Dynatrace’s User Experience Management (UEM) solution to gain real-time insight into how users are interacting with your applications, what’s working well, and what’s not. Use this insight to set the right priorities for the next development cycle.