How is Agile different from traditional software processes?
Instead of trying to design the entire system up front from what is believed to be the complete set of perfect requirements, Agile teams work with a fluid backlog of prioritized stories. Instead of building complete subsystems as independent layers that are not integrated until very late in the process, Agile teams create working applications in short intervals, often just two or three weeks each, and they allow the product to evolve iteratively. These applications may address only a small part of the overall scope of the application as it is envisioned, but they will fully exercise components in different layers (like the GUI, the network, the database, and so on). Testing, both at the unit and the system level and automated to the fullest extent practical, is an integral part of Agile Software Development. In short, if you can imagine a complete software lifecycle condensed into two or three week iterations and repeated over and over until the customer decides he or she has received sufficient business value, then you can begin to understand to Agile Software Development.
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