What is agile mobile app development? [updated]

What is agile mobile app development?

Agile as the new norm

If you’re in the process of researching app development partners, you’ve likely heard the phrase “agile development” more than a few times. (If you want to brush up on the terms used in mobile app development, this blog post has the rundown.)

This makes sense. 

After all, agile methodology has been broadly embraced by teams in a wide range of industries. You could even say it’s become the status quo these days. 

But what exactly is agile? Why is it so wildly successful? And how does it relate to mobile app projects? Let’s explore the question of “What is agile mobile app development?” and what it means for you and your project.

Agile in a nutshell

white coffee mug that reads "begin" sitting on a wooden tableAgile development is simply a set of practices used to guide the creation of software in a way that is customer-oriented, transparent, collaborative, and responsive to change. The main principles of agile are articulated in The Agile Manifesto: a list of principles for software development, drafted by industry thought leaders in 2001.

This description sounds abstract, though, doesn’t it? Let’s go a bit deeper.

At the macro level, an agile approach is guided by a focus on continuous improvement and rapid delivery. This involves frequent sharing of the project’s progress and the collection of feedback from users and  stakeholders. 

With the collection of new data points or stakeholder input, the developers can integrate new information into their project plans and adapt the product direction as necessary. This adaptive approach keeps the project streamlined and well-informed, while conserving valuable resources. 

The agile development process

brainstorming board with post its with notes written on themAgile software development is organized around five major stages: project initiation, planning, development, production, and retirement. 

Project initiation is the phase when the initial concept is introduced, it’s feasibility is considered, and resources are accounted for. During the planning stage, the team comes together and discusses the specifics of the project, including a timeline and project milestones. Development is the most labor-intensive phase, when the various features are built,  revised, and tested. Production involves product deployment and user adoption. Retirement is the end-of-life phase, when the product is sunsetted and users are either migrated or informed of the closure and introduced to alternatives.

The development phase proceeds in short timeframes, often called iterations or sprints. Before a sprint begins, the development team determines what will be achieved during this timeframe. At the end of a sprint, the product is moved into a production environment to share with the client (or relevant stakeholder) for feedback. 

Agile teams are cross-functional, which means they combine team members with different kinds of expertise. An agile team could consist of members from product development, marketing, UI/UX, engineering, and even finance. This interdisciplinary approach helps ensure the product is not only technically strong, but it matches the needs and expectations of the user community. This approach leads to easier user adoption and a higher product success rate.

The advantages of agile

There are many advantages to taking the agile approach to your development project. Here are some of the big ones:

  • Reduce your risk. Increase your chances of success by collecting constant feedback and making informed decisions.
  • Reduce your waste. Optimize your use of resources (specifically time and money) by streamlining your process.
  • Build quality products. Regular feedback, frequent testing, and team collaboration help ensure quality work.
  • Faster completion. Agile’s focus on delivery helps you bring your product to market on a shorter timeline.

What is agile mobile app development?

side view of people at a meeting tableAgile mobile app development applies the principles of agile to the mobile app development process. This means your product can benefit from the advantages of agile, listed above.

If you’re building a mobile app, you’re entering an extremely competitive and fluid market. The landscape changes on a daily basis, and new players constantly enter and leave the game. You’ll be looking for the most flexible, adaptive approach to building software, so your project can evolve as it progresses.

Taking an agile approach to building your mobile app enables you to build the app your users are looking for, on a fast timeline. This helps ensure your product leaves the gate in time, well before the race is called.

If you’re exploring the idea of building a mobile app, LimeTech can help. We can build a working prototype or a minimum viable product (MVP) so you can start testing your idea on a fast timeline. Get in touch to start a conversation about your project.

Editor’s note: Addie Kugler-Lunt expanded and updated this article in July 2022.

LimeTech is a creative tech company with a focus on app development. We help brands grow their impact by building digital products that please customers and solve business challenges. Our work includes strategy, design, content, and tech planning. Check out our portfolio or reach out to start a conversation about your project.

agile    agile development    mobile app development    software    Web app development    

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