For many years, project management teams often followed the traditional approach for strict planning, documentation, and build process. However, due to the rapid development of the IT industry, project management has evolved quickly from a set of principles to a comprehensive domain with multiple methodologies each resting on different principles. Nevertheless, there are a few methodologies that lie at the core of managing app development projects.
The Agile methodology comprises several short cycles (2-3 weeks each) thus ensuring risk minimization. After the completion of each cycle, the app development team reports the results to the client and if needed do the changes upon customer request. Thus, allowing the client to have the full control of the development process. Any app development lifecycle consists of the following stages:
It takes more than one cycle to build a fully-fledged product, but each iteration shows part of the functionality that can be tested and changed. After each cycle, the development team summarizes the results and client feedback to make the necessary adjustments to the development plan.
- More thorough planning. It may be difficult to plan the entire development process at the beginning. With the Agile methodology, you can break the app development process into stages and prepare a plan for each step separately, and fix bugs after each stage of the implemented functionality, thus saving time and resources.
- Quick changes. Since the development process is divided into sprints it is easy and convenient to make the changes in the app. When the project is almost at the final stage Agile approach minimizes the risk of some severe bugs to occur.
- Always in touch with the client. If there is something in the app the client would like to change at any stage, it can be easily done without disrupting the development processes. The developers are always in touch with a client, providing the results when each sprint is finished.
Scrum is a part of the Agile methodology. It is a way more prescriptive in nature, requiring certain components:
Scrum is quite rigid in expecting team commitment, with the Scrum master being solely responsible for ensuring Scrum is properly understood and implemented.
The core principles of Scrum are division and optimization. Everything that can be split into smaller parts should be divided. The developers should cut down their work into small pieces, distribute them among team members, and do one piece of work at a time. Besides that, Scrum stipulates that the team should improve the process all the time by asking for customer feedback.
- Removed ambiguities. The Scrum framework itself is simple. The rules, artifacts, events, and roles are easy to understand. Due to its semi-prescriptive approach, Scrum can help to remove the ambiguities in the development process, while providing enough space for individuality for development teams.
- Good organization. The organization of complex tasks into manageable pieces makes it a good fit for large-scale projects. The clear demarcation of responsibilities and scheduled activities help to ensure that there is transparency and shared control of the development process. Quick releases keep the team motivated and customer satisfied since they can see progress in a short time.
Kanban puts an emphasis on continuous delivery while not overburdening the development team. Like Scrum, Kanban is designed to help application development teams work together more efficiently.
Work items are visualized in order to give the development team a view of progress and processes, from start to finish – usually via a Kanban board. By providing a well-defined workflow process, Kanban helps to boost operational efficiency and deliver high-quality results. It enables project managers to identify and quickly resolve the bottlenecks in the development process.
- Planning flexibility. The development team is only focused on the work that is under way. When the team finishes the task they start a new one from the top of the backlog. The client is free to change priorities in the backlog without disrupting the team, as any changes outside the current tasks do not affect the team. As long as the client keeps the most important tasks on top of the backlog, the development team will keep delivering maximum value to the client.
- Improved efficiency. Throwing extra resources at a problem is a possible solution when there is no tight budget limit, but Kanban lets you do more with what you already have. Visualizing the development process will highlight areas of inefficiency very quickly. Once the team has identified the problem, they can start dealing with it. Bottlenecks, stalled tasks, and too much work in progress are clearly visible on the Kanban board.
- Less team burden. Traditional management methodologies rely on planning upfront and pushing the work on to the app development team. It results in teams struggling with more work than they can accomplish. Kanban suggests the implementation of a pull system – developers pull tasks into the workflow only when they have the capacity to do so.
Waterfall values solid planning. It is a linear and sequential app development methodology in which each project task follows after the previous one is completed.
Waterfall projects are accomplished in a single and very long cycle. Project managers are responsible for thoroughly planning project execution and running the project in a strict sequence based on the requirements specifications. In cases of failed scenarios, the development teams have to repeat all stages, from design to implementation.
All the requirements are defined at the beginning of the project and each phase is completed before moving towards the next stage. Project managers track the progress and make sure there is no overlapping in the stages.
- Clear structure. When compared with other methodologies, Waterfall focuses mostly on a clear, defined set of steps. Even before the development process starts, the design is hammered out in detail which makes the needs and the outcome clear to everyone in the team.
- Easy to manage and control. Each stage has its own reliability and procedures as well as specific deliverable and review processes. Due to the clarity of all the stages, Waterfall is easy to manage. All the tasks can be arranged easily by following the hierarchy.
- QA tests. Test scenarios are already defined in the functional specification of the project, which makes the testing process easier and more transparent. If a bug is detected during a certain stage, it is fixed instantly, and the problem gets resolved.
How to Choose the Right Methodology for Your Project?
It is quite difficult to decide which app development methodology will be a great fit for your project. You need to define your project requirements and evaluate which methodology can address them efficiently.
For some projects, you can pick any one of the methodologies described above while for other projects you need to do a thorough analysis to make sure your project will be accomplished successfully.