Whether you're developing a website or
an app, you always start with a concept. What should the website be about? What
is its major goal? What problems does it solve for your audience? But after
considering these major theoretical questions, it's time for the actual
development - and that's where approaches start to differ. It's a battle
vs. agile, and only one of them can win.
The Traditional (Waterfall) Approach to Development
Traditionally, conception is the beginning of a step-by-step
process. Imagine a waterfall: water can only fall one bit at a time, and has to
hit the stones high up in the process before it gets closer to the bottom.
After the concept comes an analysis of the current situation, followed by
the actual design, which is then coded. When everything is done, it's time to
test the website or app before it gets officially released to your
Running into Problems
Unfortunately, the waterfall method of development comes with some
serious issues. Most times, you will develop your app or website with a
specific timeline and budget in mind. But what if you run out of either? What
if the product needs to be launched in a week, and you haven't even gotten to
the testing phase yet? If you've already begun promoting the release, the
logical response is to skip the testing phase either partially or entirely.
That, of course, can lead to serious problems and an unfinished product.
Waterfall is all about the upfront plan however, the above
scenario can happen no matter how well-planned the project was. In theory, the
waterfall method sounds perfect for allocating a certain amount of time for
each step. Reality, however, looks quite different. While in theory it is nice
to think that before a project begins you will be able to account for every
scenario and use of the application the reality is you often create as you go
and the scope begins to creep or the developers make assumptions based on
written requirements. While the code amy fulfill a written requirement it may
not be what the client envisioned and they won’t have any input until the end
so change orders start to fly, budgets start to grow. You won't know if you've produced a good
product (website or app) until the very end, when you have started to test it.
As a result, you may spend much more time on the coding or design than you
intended, leaving less time for testing than you actually need.
Of course, even if everything works out beautifully within your
schedule and you allocate an even 25 percent of your time to testing,
you may need more. You never know what issues pop up during the testing stage
that you had no idea about. But if you discover a bug that happened early on,
it may affect how the entire code was written. By strictly adhering to the
inflexibility of a step-by-step process, you're suddenly running out of
The Agile Alternative
Fortunately, the waterfall method isn't the only way to develop
a website or an app. All of the situations we described above can be
fixed with an alternative approach, and its strength is in its name: agile
development. Instead of looking at the analysis, design, coding and testing
steps in succession, they all occur at once. The development is still split up
into various stages. But these stages are separated not by type of work,
but individual modules, completed in "sprints."
That, in turn, allows for a number of advantages. First, it
greatly decreases the possibility of finding a mistake too late to do much
about it. Testing is the final step for each sprint, allowing developers plenty
of time to catch up and course correct before moving on.
Second, client input becomes more important. In waterfall
development, you as a client will only be able to give you input in the
beginning stages; after that, you essentially hand over the project to the
developer and wait. Agile development encourages a collaborative approach:
clients add feedback for each module, allowing the final website or app to
move closer to their vision. Finally, choosing an agile method allows
the developer to plan the project's timeline more easily, leading to a greater
possibility that your website or app will be finished - even with added changes
- within its intended timeline.
In short, agile development is the
perfect solution if you're look for a new website or app in the near
future. And if you are interested in finding out more, don't hesitate to contact
us! We'll be happy to talk to you about the different processes and
how agile development can benefit your business.