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Iterative Software Development- SME’s Secret to Powerful Product Launches

Are you planning to work on a large project? You need a functional prototype as early as possible. An iterative model can help you here.
As your team and client review your prototype, you can isolate bugs. After that, you will reduce the project’s costs and work quickly. Let’s take a look into the meaning of the Iterative Model, its benefits, shortcomings, and ideal scenarios.

What is Iterative Development?

What is Iterative Development Iterative Software Development | Laneways.Agency
Source: Ornosoft

Software built and delivered in pieces is known as Iterative Software development (ISD). You’ll first implement an initial, simplified version of a project. You’ll then repeat the development process over and over until you complete the final system. The term iterative and incremental development are often used interchangeably and liberally. The incremental method involves implementing gradual changes in each new iteration.

What is the difference between Waterfall and Iterative Model?

The waterfall model follows a stringent step-by-step development process. Each phase of the cycle is gated. You design the whole application and take it through the “phase gate review.” The coding then follows. After that, the “coding gate reviews” have to occur before testing.

On the other hand, Iterative software development is a cyclical process. It involves repeating the steps over and over. The project improves with each completion of the cycle. Iterative development allows you to implement enhancements throughout each iteration quickly. Therefore, your next iteration becomes marginally better.

What is the Iterative Model’s Process?

Planning

Planning Iterative Software Development | Laneways.Agency
Source: Zibtek

The initial stage involves:

• Research on hardware or software requirements

• Identify business and stakeholders’ requirements

• Map out the specification documents

• Prepare for the stages that will follow

Don’t worry about the risks or quality issues at this stage. You’ll deal with them during the next iteration cycle.

Analysis & Design

Analysis & Design Iterative Software Development | Laneways.Agency
Source: Education Career Blog

You’ll analyze the project requirements to streamline the development process. Activities here include nailing down things such as:

• Appropriate database models

• Appropriate business logic

The iterative design stage will follow. Here, you’ll identify any technical requirements, such as:

• Languages

• Services

• Data layers e.t.c.

Implementation

Implementation Iterative Software Development | Laneways.Agency
Source: Applicant Tracking Systems

You can begin the actual coding of the project. In the initial iteration, you’ll code all the project’s design requirements. It is crucial to adhere to all the coding guidelines. Furthermore, apply a variety of front end and back end technologies to code, such as:

• Debuggers

• Interpreters

• Compilers e.t.c.

The stage births your first iteration’s technical design, database, and programs. You can repeat both implementation and test side-by-side. That will give you a better version with much-reduced bugs. Therefore, if a test reveals an issue, you can rewrite the code before proceeding to the next iteration.

Testing

Testing Iterative Software Development | Laneways.Agency
Source: DevOps

Next, you need to subject your project through a series of tests. Such procedures help in identifying any potential issues and bugs. You will carry out:

• Units testing- test every unit of the code

• Integration testing- verify the proper functioning of the integrated units

• User acceptance test- does the iteration satisfy the users?

• Tests for potential hacks- use different technologies that have varying levels of access to the source code. Such techniques include Black box ( no access), Grey box (partial access), and White box ( full access).

Evaluate and deploy

Evaluate and deploy Iterative Software Development | Laneways.Agency
Source: Simplus

Your team and the client will examine the software project. The stage will address questions such as:

• Where is the project?

• Where should it be?

• What can we change or modify?

There you are! Your first software iteration. Note down every user feedback. Bring the feedback back to the planning and requirements stage. Repeat the above software development life cycle (SDLC) over and over. The aim is to birth a better version of your project.

Ideal Scenarios for Iterative Model

Iterative Development Model is ideal if:

• You have clear and detailed requirements

• You have defined significant requirements at the onset. However, there is a scope of some functionality evolving. 

• Time-to-market is restricting waterfall development

• The software project involves new and innovative technology. The team may have to learn while working.

• Targets are subject to change over time

• You need to target unique resources to a specific iteration

Still, you need to understand the Iterative model. It is a foundation of most of today’s project management frameworks. Such frameworks include:

• Crystal

• XP

• Lean Development

• Kanban

• Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

In turn, the above frameworks are useful in Agile principles and values. The iterative model will also help you cope with changes in requirements. More so, you’ll avoid design flaws. As we all know, these two challenges are common in Software Engineering. However, the model is more suitable for larger projects. It may be impossible to break down small projects into even smaller parts.

What are the Pros and Cons of the Iterative Model?

What are the Pros and Cons of the Iterative Model Iterative Software Development | Laneways.Agency
Source: Polo & Tweed

Pros

• You can identify issues and bugs early

• It is flexible

• The iterative process offers reliable feedback

• The model allows you to do parallel development

• Software design changes are less expensive

• You can easily control the testing when dealing with small iteration

• When you develop iteratively, you don’t need all requirements at the outset

• As you identify issues, you can improve the product gradually

• The iterative model allows for fast documentation. It gives you more room for design work.

• Reliable and transparent feedback

• The software project can gain some working features at an early stage

Cons

• Lack of team communication may lead to errors in the iteration process

• You may need to involve the top management at every step and life cycle

• You need excellent skill analysis and risk analysis

• Changing the initial plan may be difficult.

Conclusion

In most software development cases, there is a trade-off between a project’s functionality, budget, and time. Typically, you’ll have to sacrifice one of these elements. As for the Iterative model, you can start at a low budget.

It gives you a functioning product to avail to the market quickly. Over time, as you get reviews, you can improve the product gradually.

However, you need a highly skilled team to avoid challenges along the way. Once everything is ready, an Iterative development life cycle can have a quick return on investment.