Custom Software Development in Agile: Why & How

What Are Agile Processes in Custom Software Development?

Agile methodology focuses on flexible, iterative progress through short development cycles called sprints, allowing teams to deliver parts of a project incrementally. Key practices include continuous feedback, daily stand-up meetings, and adaptive planning to accommodate evolving requirements. Agile's collaborative approach prioritizes communication, customer satisfaction, and the ability to quickly adapt to changes in project scope.

Top 3 Benefits of Custom Software Development in Agile

Super Quick Response

Agile allows teams to respond quickly to changes in requirements and market conditions, enabling continuous improvement and iterative progress throughout the development cycle.

Adaptable for Different Business Models

Agile can be adapted to suit various business models, from product-focused startups needing rapid iterations to service-based companies requiring continuous client feedback and adjustments.

Improved Product Quality

Thanks to the regular testing and feedback loops in agile, any emerging issues are identified and addressed early, resulting in a more polished and reliable end product.

Benefits of Agile in Custom Development: Speed

1. Iterative Development: Adapt to Change Fast

In custom software development in agile, iterative development is crucial for staying responsive to market changes. As they segment projects into smaller sprints, teams can continually reassess and realign their objectives.

For instance, in mobile app development, a team might release a minimum viable product (MVP) with core functionalities, then iteratively add features like push notifications or in-app purchases based on user feedback and market trends.

2. Agile Sprints: Respond Quickly to Market Needs

Agile sprints, typically spanning 1-4 weeks, create regular opportunities for progress evaluation and adjustments. For example, in eCommerce website development, a sprint might focus on integrating a new payment gateway or enhancing the user interface based on recent analytics and customer feedback.

This frequent cycle of planning, execution, and review allows teams involved in custom software development in agile to promptly integrate new features or make necessary modifications based on real-time market insights.

3. CI/CD: Release Features Faster

Continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) are integral to agile methodology. In the context of developing a social media platform, CI/CD practices involve regularly merging code changes and automating the deployment process, enabling the swift rollout of new features like real-time messaging or enhanced privacy settings.

These practices reduce the time needed to introduce new features, which is essential for IT managers focused on maintaining a competitive advantage through custom software development in agile.

4. Customer Feedback: Shape Your Strategy

Agile is highly suitable for incorporating regular customer feedback and iterative planning. For example, in a custom CRM software project, engaging customers during each sprint review can provide insights into necessary features like advanced reporting tools or integration with third-party applications.

This customer-centric approach in custom software development in agile helps teams align their efforts with market needs and preferences, so that the product will meet user expectations.

5. Retrospectives: Improve, Improve, Improve

Regular retrospectives at the end of each sprint provide teams with the opportunity to reflect on their processes and outcomes. In the development of a healthcare application, retrospectives might highlight areas for improvement, such as refining the user experience for patient portals or enhancing data security measures.

Through identifying successes and areas for improvement, teams can adapt their strategies and workflows, enhancing their ability to respond to market changes quickly and effectively in custom software development.

Custom Software Development in Agile – Bluebird

Benefits of Custom Software Development in Agile: Different Business Models

1. Agile for Startups

For startups, custom software development in agile provides the flexibility needed to navigate the uncertainties of early-stage growth. Startups often release an MVP to test the waters, then use agile sprints to iteratively add features like user authentication or social sharing based on initial user feedback. This approach allows startups to pivot quickly, make data-driven decisions, and keep development costs manageable while focusing on high-priority tasks.

2. Mid-Sized Companies

Mid-sized companies benefit from agile's structured yet flexible framework, which enhances collaboration and boosts efficiency. In a scenario like developing an internal project management tool, agile practices such as daily stand-ups and bi-weekly sprint reviews can streamline communication between departments. This continuous collaboration ensures that the software meets the diverse needs of different teams, facilitating smoother workflows and better resource management.

3. Large Enterprises

For large enterprises, custom software development in agile is instrumental in managing the complexity and scale of extensive projects. Enterprises working on complex systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can break down the development process into manageable sprints, focusing on modules like financial accounting or inventory management in each cycle. Agile’s iterative approach helps maintain clarity, reduce risk, and keep all teams aligned with the overall project vision, ensuring timely and coordinated delivery of the complete system.

4. E-Commerce Platforms

For example, an e-commerce company might use agile to continuously refine their platform, integrating new payment gateways, optimizing the checkout process, or adding personalized recommendation engines. These frequent updates, driven by real-time analytics and user feedback, help maintain customer satisfaction and drive sales.

5. SaaS Providers

Software as a Service (SaaS) providers rely on agile development to deliver continuous improvements and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction. When adopting a sprint-based approach, SaaS companies can roll out new features like enhanced data analytics or improved user interfaces regularly.

When Custom Software Development in Agile is Not the Best Option

While agile is highly effective for projects requiring flexibility and iterative development, waterfall remains a better option in scenarios where requirements are stable, coordination across large or dispersed teams is challenging, or when fixed budgets and strict timelines are critical. Understanding the project’s specific needs and constraints will help determine the most appropriate methodology.

1. Well-Defined Requirements and Predictable Scope

Stable and Clear Requirements

Government Projects: Projects with fixed requirements, such as many government contracts, are often better suited to waterfall methods, where the scope and specifications are unlikely to change.

Regulated Industries: Industries with strict regulatory requirements (e.g., aerospace, pharmaceuticals) often benefit from the structured and documented approach of waterfall.

2. Large and Dispersed Teams

Coordination Challenges

Large Enterprise Projects: Large-scale projects involving multiple teams across various locations might struggle with the coordination and frequent communication needed in agile.

Offshore Development: Teams working across different time zones can find it challenging to maintain the constant collaboration that agile demands.

3. Budget and Time Constraints

Fixed Budget and Deadlines

Fixed-Price Contracts: Projects with a fixed budget and deadline might be better managed with waterfall, where costs and timelines are determined upfront.

Resource-Limited Projects: If a project has very limited resources and cannot afford the iterative cycles of agile, a waterfall approach can provide more predictable budgeting and scheduling.

4. When to Go With Waterfall?

When Extensive Documentation and Traceability Is Important

Defense Contracts: Projects requiring extensive documentation, traceability, and formal approvals at each stage, such as defense contracts, are better suited to waterfall.

Medical Device Software: Software development for medical devices, where thorough documentation and traceability are crucial for regulatory approvals.

Safety-Critical Systems: E.g., developing control systems for critical infrastructure, like power grids or transportation networks, often requires the detailed planning and documentation provided by waterfall.

Custom Software Development in Agile – Bluebird

Custom Software Development in Agile: Ideal Sprint Lengths

Sprint length in custom software development in agile can vary based on the specific needs of the project and the team. Generally, sprint lengths range from 1 to 4 weeks, with the most common length being 2 weeks. Here’s a breakdown of ideal sprint lengths for different situations and examples of when it might be useful to keep sprints shorter or longer.

Most Common Sprint Length: 2 Weeks

Why 2 weeks?

  1. 1
    Balance: Two weeks is a balanced duration, providing enough time to complete meaningful work while still being short enough to adapt to changes quickly.
  2. 2
    Feedback Loops: Regular feedback is crucial in agile. Two-week sprints allow for frequent reviews and adjustments.
  3. 3
    Predictability: It helps maintain a steady pace of delivery, making planning and tracking easier.

When to Keep Sprints Shorter (1 Week)

When rapid feedback is needed:

  1. 1
    Startups Launching an MVP: When developing a minimum viable product, startups might use 1-week sprints to rapidly iterate on core features based on immediate user feedback.
  2. 2
    Highly Volatile Projects: Projects in highly dynamic environments, where requirements change frequently, benefit from shorter sprints to remain agile and responsive.

For example, developing a complex healthcare application that needs thorough testing and integration with existing systems.

When to Keep Sprints Longer (3-4 Weeks)

Complex projects

  1. 1
    Deep Research and Development: Projects involving significant research and prototyping may benefit from longer sprints to allow for thorough exploration and development.
  2. 2
    Large Enterprise Systems: Development of large-scale systems may require more time to complete substantial chunks of work, necessitating longer sprints.

Special Considerations

  1. 1
    Team experience and size: More experienced agile teams might handle shorter sprints more effectively, while newer teams may benefit from slightly longer sprints to allow for learning and adjustment.
  2. 2
    Project Phase: Shorter sprints are often beneficial during the initial phases of a project for rapid prototyping and gathering early feedback. However, as the project matures, longer sprints can be more efficient for fine-tuning and stability improvements.

Why Choose Bluebird's Custom Software Development Services?


We are not swayed by fleeting goals. Committed to long-term success over short-term gains, we prioritize accountability and reliability—aiming to execute each project with maximum dedication and to deliver results that exceed expectations.


We have extensive experience with both agile and waterfall methodologies, selecting the most suitable approach to ensure timely and top-quality custom software development. We trust in the power of structured methodologies and common sense to guide our software development processes.

Deep Understanding

The foundation of our software development services is a careful assessment of needs and a deep understanding of requirements. We believe in the importance of fully grasping the task at hand before taking any action, so that our solutions are perfectly aligned with your needs.

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Custom Software Development in Agile: FAQs

How do agile practices improve team collaboration in custom software development?

Agile promotes team collaboration through regular meetings, open communication channels, and a culture of transparency and collective responsibility. Practices like daily stand-ups, sprint reviews, and retrospectives help ensure continuous communication and coordination among team members.

How does agile handle project changes and unexpected issues?

Agile is designed to accommodate changes and address unexpected issues through iterative development and regular feedback loops. Teams can quickly adapt to new information and evolving customer needs without derailing the project, making agile suitable for dynamic environments.

What types of projects are best suited for agile development?

Agile is well-suited for projects with uncertain or rapidly changing requirements, such as startups launching new products, mid-sized companies developing internal tools, and enterprises managing complex systems. It is also ideal for environments where continuous feedback and incremental improvements are essential.

How does customer involvement work in agile projects?

Customer involvement is a core principle of agile. Customers are engaged throughout the development process through regular feedback sessions, sprint reviews, and user testing. This ongoing interaction helps ensure that the final product meets user needs and expectations.

How does agile improve project visibility and transparency?

Agile improves project visibility and transparency through tools like burn-down charts, task boards, and regular progress reports. These tools provide real-time insights into the project's status, helping teams and stakeholders stay informed and aligned.

What are some common challenges in implementing agile for custom software development?

Common challenges include resistance to change, difficulty in adopting new practices, maintaining consistent communication, and managing stakeholder expectations. Overcoming these challenges requires commitment, training, and a willingness to continuously improve processes.