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Going Agile - What's the best duration for each agile development cycle?
August 2 , 2013
Categories : Agile development company | Software development company | Agile software development | Agile development
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Every client wants their work to be done faster, more efficiently and exactly as per requirements. Within the IT industry over the last 8 – 10 years, agile software development has been the process of choice for taking each software development companydelivery to the next level. All the web and software development companies across the globe have adapted the agile methodology for their development work.Most clients these days are also looking for agile development company for their development work, since it allows them flexibility during the ongoing development work. This is so that work can be delivered quicker and ongoing work can be monitored on regular basis. In short clients can assess the direction of their project getting developed and this is achieved by call-and-response work known as sprints or iterations.

The duration of each agile development cycle would depend on the stage of the project, team size, requirement clarity and time availability/ feedback from stakeholders / owners. Typically at the very initial stages a smaller sprint size is preferred as team members get familiar with each other and the stakeholders/ owners, and start understanding the requirements and plan the solution architecture. A smaller agile cycle helps everyone communicate and build POCs effectively and get quick feedback on the same from stakeholders/ owners. As the work progresses, and there is clarity, buy in, detailing and budgeting on the concept, larger agile cycles make sense. As the requirements get clear, code base increases and iterations are planned on live code, a longer agile cycle helps the project team to build code on a larger existing code base, and integrate / test properly on production servers.

Each sprint, agile developmentcycle or iteration needs to be for a specific time period for analyzing the ongoing development work. Based on the number of resources those are hired for the development work, clients in discussions with the team members usually start with a 2 weekagile software developmentcycle duration. The length of the sprint can be altered as and when required at a later stage of development. There is no thumb rule for defining any agile cycle duration, but ideally one can start with 2weeks and later increase it to 3 or 4 weeks depending upon the speed of the ongoing development work.One has to experiment with different agile cycle durations to see which fits them well for the agile development work.

In some cases a sprint agile cycle for 4weeks would work for the clients, when client’s need to have technical documentation develop and side-by-side require development to take place. Clients would have more time to provide feedback on the work and can add more features in that time period. On the other hand, it sometimes becomes difficult to plan for a 4weeks sprint cycle, since new features and functionalities might crop-up in-between the ongoing sprint cycle and that could lead towards more delays in the development work. Plus the focus of the agile development team could hamper as well, since they won’t be sure of what additional things might come-up while they are working on particular sets of features.

If sprint cycles are for 2weeks, the client would have the opportunity to review sprints and development work more often and provide their feedback. Also, if new additional features and functionalities are there in client’s mind, the team can work on them in the next sprint cycle just a week or two down. It would also help in overall planning of the work and reduce delays. At the same time, it’s difficult to get a finished working module in 2weeks time period. Small and easy modules can be managed, but if a particular feature and functionality is complex, than it would need more time for the development team to deliver. It also increases the level of pressure the developers would be working under and that could overall affect the ongoing development work.

Overall the key to the right agile cycle duration depends upon the kind of work, team size and what clients expect the agile team to deliver in a particular time frame. The sprint cycles can be discussed with the software development company, once the initial few weeks of work gets started by the agile development team. It needs to be planned in a way where the development team gets some time to show case their creativity and plan work to perfection. The time frame of the sprint cycle should be comfortable to the development team as well as with the client. Of course, sprint cycles time frame can be changed anytime, depending upon work priorities and stage of development of the software.

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Amy Martin

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