Why should you use a feature-driven development?

Why should you use a feature-driven development?

Have you ever met the term FDD and asked yourself what is FDD? 

FDD meaning

FDD or feature-driven development is an Agile framework - a certain process that offers businesses feature-rich systems that support them in controlling their ever-growing nature. Even from its name, we may immediately guess that this framework organizes software development around making progress on features. As we know, the future mainly depends on customers and architecture, so these are essential points in this FDD process.

FDD in Agile

FDD is a model-driven, and short-iteration process that was developed around software engineering best practices including domain object modeling, developing by feature, and code ownership.

Feature-driven development begins with the establishment of an overall model that is expected to result in the feature list. These features are usually small yet useful and effective on the users’ eyes. Due to this tactic of product development, large teams are allowed to move products forward with a regular success that matters for the clients.

The general objective of FDD is to deliver concrete and flexible software in a short time. Its greatest advantage is that the process is scalable even for large teams. As a result, FDD is considered to be an effective solution to support the control of comparatively complex Agile projects.

Feature Driven Development Methodology

It is accepted to implement the FDD in several steps that form the feature-driven development methodology. I’m going to introduce these steps below.

Feature Driven Development Methodology

Step №1. Developing an Overall Model 

In the first stage, the development team members cooperate together to build an object model of the domain problem. The main goal is to propose a model for the domain area. The Chief Architect follows them and provides guidance. Once the teams proposed their own models, one of these models or a merge of models is chosen and it becomes the model created for that domain area. As a result, the team has a clear image of the entire project.

Step №2. Building a Feature List

After the development team built an object model, then it is time to identify the features that the user or client values. These features are meant to be the building barriers of the project that help the group members to navigate the processes.

Step №3. Planning by the Feature

The third stage turns around managing the features and the way the development team tends to implement them. As anticipated, it’s essential to consider the team workload, risks, as well as other important aspects in order to prevent any kind of complex issues from arising. 

Step №4. Designing by the Feature

Everything planned pretends design. Using the knowledge from the first modeling process, the chief programmer selects all the features that the team should develop next and also identifies the domain classes. After the team starts working on the project, the domain expert analyzes and designs a solution to each feature.

Step №5. Building by the Feature

The last step is to put all the necessary items into action in order to support the design. In other words, once your team developed, tested and inspected the code, it is time to start developing the software.

Advantages of FDD

With the constant growth of the software system, software development becomes a more complex process that requires much. In such a sequence, your team will have to find the most efficient way to grab the issues they come across. Here FDD is the method that lets your team successfully run the project due to its advantages that we’ll together discuss below:

№1. Communication Improvement

Communication Improvement

Product development requires constant communication especially when large teams are considered. FDD provides the team members with an opportunity to communicate more easily, on the other hand, encouraging team creativity and innovation.

№2. Minimal Complexity of the System

The bigger the software system size is, the more complex the system faces. Complexity is one of the most repeated obstacles every software developer has to overcome as it quickly surpasses the capacity of the human brain.

Minimal Complexity of the System

FDD provides the development team with the ability to break the entire problem into many smaller issues that they can cope with within a smaller period of time. On the other hand, smaller problems minimize the needs of communication within the group as well as improve the communication flow.

№3. Maximum Quality

Every member of the team identifies quality in a unique way. An average user recognizes the quality taking into consideration the interface, reliability and response time. However, from the developers’ perspective, talking about the quality they consider the facility of software maintenance and enhancement. Yet, the ever-increasing requirements of the market prevent us from expressing the challenges in advance, and as a result, we have to struggle with and produce positive results of changes.

Maximum Quality

Nowadays the Feature Driven Development is gaining popularity in the IT world because:

✔ it is an excellent solution both for big and complex projects especially while dealing with critical situations 

✔ the above-mentioned 5 processes help the new team members become familiar with the system in a short period of time

✔ Constant progress reporting which takes place at nearly any level of the project development, lets your team keep the path of success and track results

✔ FDD offers an opportunity for you to regularly keep your project up-to-date, observe any error, and provide your users/clients with valuable information at any time

✔ A deeper understanding of the software system lets you develop small parts one at a time. This decreases the risk and provides your safety from any unpleasant surprise.

To Sum Up 

So, if you work in a big company or deal with a large-scale project, then feature-driven development may be the right choice for you. However, keep in mind that in this approach the methodology, on a great portion, relies on the chief developers. It is to say that a top-down approach is used while decision making. If such a methodology fits the company culture, then FDD is surely worth a try.

Vera Mirzoyan

Article by: Vera Mirzoyan
Published on: January 22, 2020
Last updated on: December 15, 2020