To build a top-notch software solution, a high-quality codebase is needed to adapt to new trends easily. This is only possible if you are taking the path of refactoring in Agile. But what Refactoring in Agile, and what do terms like clean code and code smell mean?
ow can agile teams change a software design without messing up with the core functionality through refactoring techniques? This is a comprehensive guide to code refactoring within agile software development.

What is refactoring in Agile?

Refactoring refers to practices and techniques to restructure or reconstruct existing codes to enhance a software’s performance without changing functionality. In the code refactor process, development teams improve the solution’s internal structure to ensure smooth operations.

01 Refactoring In Agile

Now that you understand the refactoring code meaning let’s analyze the term from the agile perspective. Refactoring meaning in Agile, is the practice of making iterative and incremental improvements in the code side by side with other development activities.

Clean code and code smell in refactoring in Agile

Clean code refactor meaning in Agile is writing codes that are simple to read, maintain, understand, and free from unnecessary complications. Moreover, ensuring continuous improvement in the codebase by implementing all the standards guided through refactor definition. 

Also Read: How to Write Clean Code? 6 Brief Guide on Rules and Principles

To understand what is code refactoring in-depth, you must know the concept of code smell. Code smell refers to certain code patterns that create problems. These are not the usual bugs but issues like duplicated codes, unnecessary commenting, dirty or poor coding, etc. However, these problems need to be refactored during the development. 

Need for code refactoring in Agile: when it should be done?

You must implement refactoring when codes are:

  • Not testable
  • Highly complicated
  • Vulnerable or have plenty of code smell

Importance of refactoring in Agile team

Here are a few reasons why agile teams refactor code:

  • To improve codebase quality by lowering complexity, increasing code readability, and removing technical debt.
  • Refactoring allows agile teams to become more adaptable and use methodologies to build high-quality, bug-free products.
  • It helps teams to get a deeper knowledge of coding. 
  • Refactoring promotes a culture of collaboration and enhances team quality.

How to make design changes safely and effectively?

Ever thought about how to define refactoring steps when you are making changes in the design within an agile environment? Here are some main points to remember:

  • Manage your team’s expectations for refactoring effort. Ensure robust alignment between the team, IM, PO, and client.
  • Unit testing is one of the important practices before you define refactor strategy.
  • Set up an iterative refactoring process within the team by assuring activities like clean code, code smell validation, and testing. 

Top refactoring in Agile techniques and best practices

These code refactoring methods will surely help you improve the internal structure of your software solution.

02 Refactoring In Agile

Each technique explained in this section shows 5 sub-methods, showcasing problems with their relevant refactoring methods. 

Composing methods

Most refactoring code evolves around accurate composing methods. It is observed that in most solutions, long methods are the main cause of trouble. Too much complicated codes cease execution logic and make the structure hard to comprehend and change. But with these refactoring techniques, the issues can be resolved.

Extract method

  • Problem: When you have a grouped code fragment.
  • Solution: Move the code to a new separate function or method and replace the old one with a call for the method.

Inline method

  • Problem: When the method body is manifesting the method.
  • Solution: Replace calls with the method’s content and delete the existing method.

Extract variable

  • Problem: A complicated expression that is difficult to understand.
  • Solution: Place the overall expression’s results or some of its parts in different self-explanatory variables.

Inline temp

  • Problem: Having a temporary variable showing results for a simple expression only.
  • Solution: Replace references related to the variable with the expression.

Replace temp with query

  • Problem: When the expression’s result is placed in a local variable to be used later in your code.
  • Solution: Place the expression in a different method and get its result. Rather than using a variable, query your method. Combine the particular new method with other methods if required. 

Move features between the objects

If you have scattered functionality amid distinct classes in a poorly, you can still fix this by following the refactoring techniques below. They will help you move functionality in the middle of classes or create new classes. And conceal implementation details from public access.

Move method

  • Problem: When you have used the move method in a class other than its own.
  • Solution: Create a new method within the class and move the code from the old to the new method. Turn the original method code into a reference to this new method you have made in other class. Otherwise, remove it completely. 

Move field

  • Problem: When a field is found more in any other class than its own. 
  • Solution: Use a new class to create a new field and redirect users from the old field to the new field. 

Extract class

  • Problem: When a single class provides results for two classes.
  • Solution: Make a new class and add methods and fields responsible for particular functionalities in it. 

Inline class

  • Problem: When a class isn’t liable for any performance, and no further responsibilities are chalked out for it. 
  • Solution: Move out all the features from that specific class into another. 

Hide delegate

  • Problem: The client gets object B from a method or field of object A and calls object B’s method.
  • Solution: Use class A to create a new method in it that passes the call to object B. 

Data assembling

Data assembling techniques in refactoring are related to organizing data by restoring primitives with class functionality. One of the important benefits of these techniques is the differentiation of class associations, making classes more reusable and portable. 

Change value to reference

  • Problem: When you have several similar instances of one class that you want to replace with a single object.
  • Solution: Convert identical objects into a solo reference object.

Change reference to value

  • Problem: When the reference object is infrequently changed and is extremely small to manage its own lifecycle.
  • Solution: Convert the reference object into a value object.

Duplicate the observed data

  • Problem: When the domain data is stored in different classes and is accountable for the GUI.
  • Solution: Separate data into distinct classes. But make sure there is a proper harmony between GUI and the domain class. 


  • Problem: You have direct access to all the private fields of a class.
  • Solution: Retrieve the value of variables or data members and set their values by applying the getter and setter methods for the field. Also, only use them to access the field. 

Replacing data value with object

  • Problem: A class (single or group) has a data field with its own associated data and behavior. 
  • Solution: Create a new class, add the old field along with its behavior in it, and store the class object in the original class. 

Also Read: Code Refactoring – 5 Ways to Make Complex Codes Simple

Untangling conditional expressions

With time, conditionals become complicated. However, you can simplify them by following these refactoring ways. 

Merge conditional expression

  • Problem: Having multiple conditionals that give the same outcome.
  • Solution: Combine all conditionals in one expression. 

Incorporate duplicate conditional fragments

  • Problem: When you find similar code in all conditional branches.
  • Solution: Move the code out of the conditional.

Decompose complex conditional

  • Problem: If you have complicated conditional parts like ‘else / if – then’ or ‘switch.’
  • Solution: Decompose perplexing conditional segments into separate methods, such as ‘else’ and ‘then.’

Change conditional with polymorphism

  • Problem: You experience a conditional resulting in several actions depending on properties or object type.
  • Solution: Create sub-classes that match conditional branches. Within a subclass, move code from the conditional branch to a newly-created shared method. Next, change the conditional with a pertinent method call. 

Eliminate control flag

  • Problem: When there’s a Boolean variable like a control flag for various Boolean expressions.
  • Solution: Use ‘continue’ ‘return’ or ‘break’ rather than a variable. 

Make simple method calls

Following are refactoring in agile techniques to make method calls easy and simple to understand. These methods also simplify interfaces to ensure interaction among the classes.

Also Read: All About Agile Project Management Software that You Should Know

Adding parameter

  • Problem: When the method doesn’t contain data in order to perform specific actions.
  • Solution: Add a new parameter to progress the essential data.

Removing parameter

  • Problem: When no parameter is used in the method body.
  • Solution: Remove or delete the unused parameter.

Rename the method

  • Problem: The name of a certain method has failed to explain its usage.
  • Solution: Rename that method.

Detach query from the modifier

  • Problem: When a method returns a value and also replaces something in an object.
  • Solution: Segment that method into two sub-methods. One should be used to return the value, and the other modifying the object.

Parameterize methods with identical actions

  • Problem: When multiple methods show the same actions, which are only different in internal numbers, operations, or values. 
  • Solution: Integrate these methods through a parameter to pass the significant special value. 

Facing generalization and abstraction

Here are the techniques related to moving functionality by creating interfaces, new classes class inheritance, and replacing class inheritance through delegation or vice versa. 

Pull-up method

  • Problem: When subclasses contain methods that result in identical work. 
  • Solution: Make methods similar to one another and move them to a relevant superclass.

Push-down method

  • Problem: When the applied behavior in a superclass is only used by a single or a few more subclasses.
  • Solution: Move behavior into subclasses.

Pull-up field

  • Problem: When two classes have an identical field.
  • Solution: Remove the field from all the subclasses and then move it into the superclass.

Push-down field

  • Problem: When the field is used only in minimum subclasses.
  • Solution: Move the field into those subclasses. 

Pull-up constructor body

  • Problem: Having subclasses with the same constructors code. 
  • Solution: Move similar codes in the subclasses into a newly-created superclass constructor. Then, execute the superclass constructor within the constructors of the subclasses. 


To acknowledge what is code refactoring in agile, you must understand the concept of clean code and code smell. Keep in mind that refactoring in an agile setup requires repetition in the process to make codes readable and uncomplex. However, you must implement refactoring techniques to simplify codes.

At Slash, we help you savor efficient and clean code through our proven agile refactoring techniques. Our skilled professionals ensure your project’s success with design agile strategies and by instilling a high-quality codebase. Contact us to take your solution to the next level through our brilliant refactoring services. 

FAQs – refactoring in Agile

What is refactoring? In simple definition refactoring means restructuring a part of software to improve its operation without changing any functionality. 

What is refactored code meaning? When a code is improved and cleaned, it is said to be refactored.

What is the purpose of refactoring? Software engineers refactor code to refine the design and structure of a solution.

What is the concept of refactoring? The concept of refactor define a process of fine-tuning code without altering its true functionality.

Is refactoring allowed in Scrum? Since scrum is one of the agile frameworks, it is encouraged and allowed. 


Ayatullah Arul Amin
Ayatullah (Arul) Amin
Software Engineering | Agile Project Management | Product Management
Arul is a cross-domain IT professional with over 14 years of experience in Software Engineering, Agile Project Management, and Product Management. Arul’s passion lies in driving innovation and success through the creation of winning products, outstanding team leadership, and impactful project management. With experience as a startup CTO, he possesses a unique balance of technical expertise and business acumen that enables him to deliver results that align with organizational goals. He approaches his work with a people-first mindset, fostering a culture of collaboration and open communication to drive productivity and success. Throughout his career, Arul has worked on projects for big corporations and startups, gaining valuable experience in a variety of industries, including IT services, e-commerce, banking, insurance, and manufacturing.
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