The following are some currently well known agile software development methods and practices in software development arena. Since the whole agile concept is in the evolutionary phase, do not expect these methodologies to be fully matured as the Waterfall methods, but they sure are progressing towards the maturity.
As we know, the waterfall model of software engineering is getting obsolete day by day as more and more companies are choosing to go for the agile model of software development where they have seen lots of solid benefits by trying the agile and experimenting with variations of it to fit their own need. Agile is not rigid set of rules, although there are guiding principles.
So what are the benefits of using the iterative development also called sprints in Agile? Here are a few that I can think of.
Iterative development in agile has a continuous focus on improving the processes.
Iterative development pays attention to the quality of work, learning from what went bad and what things went good in prior iterations.
Iterative development can help align or modify the priorities based on the outcome of the previous iteration deliveries.
Business priorities and the business values can change all the time. Iterative development helps to adjust those values and priorities.
With iterative development, the estimates get better as we grow. This estimate will be close to reality than the waterfall model of development where the estimations are done at the beginning of the project, which might not hold true as the project progresses.
In the iterative development, there is opportunity to build the highest risk items first.
Iterative development allows the testing to occur early and often.
Iterative development allows to deliver the product early and deliver often.
Risk discover, risk analysis and risk mitigation can occur earlier.
Allows us to change the software even in the late cycle of development.
Because of the splitting of the task, the complexity in the iterations are manageable.
Iterative development helps produce early parrtial product which in turn can obtain early feedback and changes.
With the continuous delivery and continous feedback, the final product becomes more closer to what user needs.
Iterative development enforces better communication and engagement.
Time boxed iterations give an idea of when to expect the delivery.