Agile software development is a conceptual framework for software
engineering that promotes development iterations throughout the life-cycle of
There are many agile development methods; most minimize risk by developing
software in short amounts of time. Software developed during one unit of time is
referred to as an iteration, which may last from one to four weeks. Each
iteration is an entire software project: including planning, requirements
analysis, design, coding, testing, and documentation. An iteration may not add
enough functionality to warrant releasing the product to market but the goal is
to have an available release (without bugs) at the end of each iteration. At the
end of each iteration, the team re-evaluates project priorities.
Agile methods emphasize face-to-face communication over written documents.
Most agile teams are located in a single open office sometimes referred to as a
bullpen. At a minimum, this includes programmers and their "customers"
(customers define the product; they may be product managers, business analysts,
or the clients). The office may include testers, interaction designers,
technical writers, and managers.
Agile methods also emphasize working software as the primary measure of
progress. Combined with the preference for face-to-face communication, agile
methods produce very little written documentation relative to other methods.
This has resulted in criticism of agile methods as being undisciplined.