There are several reasons why most businesses made a careful shift to Agile from the ‘Waterfall’ methodology. However, while Agile methodology is proven to be the most efficient mode of doing business, no method is 100% free of risk. Agile software development is a type of software development methodology that aims at frequent delivery of individual or small pieces of product continuously through cross-functional teams with scope of change and course correction along the process as and when needed. Agile team or squad-based agile development is also becoming popular among organizations now. An agile squad is a small team of talented members, each well aware of their capabilities and goals. They work closely to bring out the best quality product possible. 

Meanwhile, although the risks involved in Agile methodology might not be heavily detrimental to the project, preventing them is the best move. According to a 2020 Forbes article, risk is an inherent element of Agile. Thus, risk itself is not the issue. Instead, the problem is how risk management strategies are defined and applied in Agile, the article further states. 

Risk can be defined as a predicament or situation exposed to any small or big danger. However, as long as we know how to presume and manage risk, we can overcome the snags to move forward and complete the project without delays. Here are some of the risks involved in Agile software development and how they can be resolved: 

  1. Budget Risk: When any project is planned, an estimated budget is discussed for it. One of the foremost risks in the Agile software development process is going over budget. It is not always possible to presume variations in customers’ needs or even changes in the market. Hence, going over budget is a very common and potential risk.

    Solution: The best way to ensure that the project sticks to the budget is to avoid overquoting or underquoting. A reserve should also be maintained to avoid running out of money in case of necessary changes costing more than planned. Above all this, there should be a plan in place stating solutions in case the budget issue occurs. 
  2. Scope Creep: Scope creep happens when the scope of the project starts to expand. Along the way, the customers might want to add features that were not already discussed at the planning stage. When this happens, it is called scope creep leading to project going over budget and deadline being pushed. 

    Solution: Not only is it essential to plan the scope of the project in advance, it is also necessary to ensure that the plan is being followed. The progress of the project should be constantly checked by the manager to avoid the risk of scope creep. While discussing the plan, it should be ensured that the stakeholders agree and sign on the planned scope. Besides this, the software development team should also implement a change control process after discussing it with the customer.
  3. Not sticking to Agile: Agile methodology focuses on collaboration and flexibility. This means that the self-organizing cross-functional teams, through iterative testing, are quick to anticipate changes in customer needs corresponding to the dynamic market and come up with pragmatic solutions along the course. However, if the Agile process is not followed carefully, the issues won’t be eliminated on time. As a result, the overall cost will be more when the changes have to be made after the development process is over. The product quality will also suffer considerably.

    Solution: Here, communication is key! Following Agile methodology properly is important for the software development process to be successful. The stakeholders must understand the importance of applying Agile principles to the process and how the results can be heavily impacted if not followed through and through. It should be carefully communicated and applied.
  4. Time Delays: Sticking to deadlines for software release and reducing the time-to-market of the product is the main goal of the whole process. Several factors like improper planning, mismanagement, lack of talent, continuous change in customer needs and variations in market dynamics besides budget issues can lead to delay in the completion of work. 

    Solution: The best way to avoid time delays is to keep room for delay while planning the timeline. You have to factor in reasons like emergencies, holidays, time taken for testing and QA and complexities in the project and time taken to incorporate changes after each round of testing. Even after all this, there should still be some extra time that can allow further improvement.
  5. Miscommunication of goals: Agile software development methodology succeeds because it ensures continuous communication among team members to achieve each solution or goal. If even one member has misunderstood or miscommunicated a step of the product lifecycle or ongoing operation, it can collectively affect the outcome.  
    Solution: To avoid this kind of risk, the best solution is to apply Squad-based agile software development. This essentially means that an Agile team that is well equipped and aware of each member’s talent can work with each other closely to deliver the highest quality product. An Agile squad comes with several benefits that include each team members being aware of each other’s capacity and knowledge, easier communication due to same work location, increased development speed because of continuous discussions, reduced risk due to low chances of miscommunication and autonomy allowing them to choose the path they want to reach the goal. 

Every methodology has risks involved, however, Agile methodology has managed to stand the test of time and emerged as the most efficient and effective software development methodology. The 15th Annual State of Agile Report, that was based on the State of Agile survey, showed a significant growth in Agile adoption within software development teams, increasing from 37% in 2020 to 86% in 2021. This kind of growth would not have happened if this methodology was not already a success. But of course, it is best to be careful and plan accordingly.

Aspire Systems offers to add a high performing Agile squad in just 60 days to your software development team! Aspire Systems’ home-grown methodology, Software Infinity, as a whole elevates the software engineering strategy to deliver hyper-scalable software solutions quickly. It is driven by agile software development principles, efficient accelerators, high-performance teams, and a transparent governance model.