A Guide to Agile Development for VR

How to use Agile for Virtual Reality development

Virtual Reality is perhaps the most talked about computer-related innovation of this decade. The fact that every single individual you come across at least has some basic knowledge of what VR entails is a testament to that fact. Frankly, why wouldn’t it be the talk of the town? It is an innovation that has revolutionized the digitized world in ways that were completely unimaginable for most of us. And now, thanks to the new generation of (almost) affordable VR devices slowly and steadily making their way into the market, Virtual Reality’s popularity has shot straight through the roof.

As such, it’s only obvious that there is an increased need for all things VR; content, apps and of course, games. To fulfill the needs of the market, software companies use various development methodologies to create and sell their content. Today, let’s take an in-depth look at the ones most favored by seasoned virtual reality companies around the world.

What is the Agile Development Methodology?

Without fanfare, the simple definition of Agile Development Methodology would be something like the following: it is a distinct method of software development that is designed in a way that specifically focuses on adaptability.

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Agile software development methodology is the replacement of old school software augmenting processes that were no longer sufficient for the industry. A set of principles significantly different from the Waterfall methodology, that has previously been so popular, agile development model is based on the incremental progression of software as compared to the most linear method of Waterfall.

How does it work?

Agile methodology existence dates back to the late 50’s. However, it was only at the beginning of 2001 that this process gained traction thanks to the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. This guide outlines a number of principles that are the basis of agile development for VR. These principles emphasize on values and low overheads rather than tedious processes.

The Agile methodology principles include:

  • Early customer satisfaction
  • Acceptability of change – even in late production
  • Frequent work delivery
  • Close coordination and cooperation between the working parties
  • Co-location for easier communication
  • Work simplicity to maximize productivity
  • Self-organization and sustainability
  • Regular team reflections for improved efficiency and work efficacy.

There is a vast variety of software development methods that work on the basis of the principles highlighted in the Agile Manifesto. These methods include but are not limited to Scrum, Kanban (development) and Extreme Programming (XP).

Scrum

A well-defined and definitively structured processing framework for the management and development of software applications, Scrum is perhaps the most famous of agile methods. Strictly based on the principles of flexibility, productivity, and adaptability, Scrum projects are divided into sprints. Essentially a development iteration, a sprint, is usually a highly productive period for a set number of tasks that take precedence over all others to ensure complete focus. The scrum process includes planning, daily convening and status updates, and reviews. Essentially concentrating on task management in a team environment, scrum acts as a catalyst for the company which promotes an improvement in the quality of the software developed as well as boosting team productivity as a whole.

Kanban

An agile method far less structured than Scrum, Kanban is the incremental improvement of a team’s productivity and software development process. The Kanban method comprises of a matching the amount of work directly with the development capacity of the team – no more, no less. By actively addressing the work currently in progress, Kanban provides a clarity and overall transparency through the entirety of the software development phase.

Extreme Programming (XP)

A rather radical approach to agile development, Extreme Programming can be considered vastly different from the regular Scrum or Kanban. This method focuses more on the engineering of the software itself and clearly addresses the analyzing, developing and testing phases of the product itself to improve the end production quality.

While the differences between Scrum and XP are subtle and hard to identify, there are, in fact, quite significant. Scrum is more strict when it comes to their sprints, while XP is more receptive to change. XP follows a clearly outlined priority order as defined by the customer, while Scrum is more flexible. As mentioned before, Scrum focuses on the productivity as compared to XP which emphasizes on the engineering aspect of the development process.

Kanban on the other hand offers a far simpler method of software development than XP which is often considered the more sophisticated route.

The Importance of Agile Development for VR

The need of agile methodology for virtual reality development is two-fold. One, there is a need for a method that improves project management efficiency to keep up with rapidly evolving technological spectrum, and two, a methodology that focuses on the actual software development process to ensure the perfection of the end product but in a streamlined, fast-paced manner.

The importance of agile development methodology in VR is that a hybrid combination of two of the most popular agile processes fulfills all the virtual reality developmental requirements. Based on the agile methodology, a development technique for virtual reality projects comprises an eight-step process to ensure maximum productivity.

These steps include:

  • Storyboard or system functionality
  • Interactivity analysis
  • Architectural spike or the viability analysis of the requirements for VR software development
  • Iteration planning
  • Spike or developmental cycle for production
  • Development of software by bringing together analysis, design, coding and product testing
  • Integration testing – a phase to judge the workability of the modifications made during the development process
  • Client tests – product testing performed by customers for approval of the end product.

How AppReal Can Help?

A company that is composed of a group of highly proficient developers, designers, and artists, AppReal provides customized virtual reality solutions. Keeping in mind the fast pace of the virtual reality spectrum, AppReal uses - for VR production and mobile app development - a highly integrated agile development methodology.

Practiced to perfection, the incorporation of the agile development cycle ensures 100% client satisfaction with their virtual reality software as well as a timely delivery of the products. So if you find yourself in the market for a VR software or a mobile app but are at a loss on who to hire, you know AppReal is the right choice for you.

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