An Overview of Iterative Development

To achieve success, developers and organisations must keep up-to-date with the most current software development life cycle and technology trends. Implementing the SDLC, which has existed for several years and enabled accurate and punctual project completion, has provided businesses with notable benefits. A thorough comprehension of iterative development, a widely-used approach within the SDLC, is crucial.

The subsequent topics may be anticipated for discussion:

What exactly is iterative development, and how does it operate?

  • The inception of the iterative model.
  • What is precisely iterative software development?

An Introduction to Iterative Techniques

  • Advancement in tiny increments or iterations.
  • An Example of an Iterative Model

When is it logical to utilise iterative techniques for software development?

  • Advantages of an Iterative Procedure
  • Consequences of an Adverse Iterative Process

Is iterative development suitable for producing anything new?

To Learn More About Iterative Development and Its Operation, Keep Reading!

Before delving into the specifics of the iterative procedures, let us pause for a moment and gain an understanding of the history behind iterative development.

When and Why Did Developers Commence Utilising Iterative Techniques?

During the 1950s, the Kanban technique was established, paving the way for the iterative paradigm of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). The Kanban technique was created on the basis of the lean manufacturing principles with the goal of boosting productivity and facilitating ongoing improvement. It could be utilised with various SDLC approaches, making the transition to an iterative approach simple.

Later research into the iterative process model, which began in 1955, discovered that human learning is an iterative process that involves trial and error. As a result, it was realised that the same approach could be used to develop better software.

Following Microsoft’s adoption of the iterative approach for software development in 2004, other businesses have followed suit. In recent times, there have been improvements in allied techniques. Iterative methodology is now a fundamental aspect of Agile and Lean software development strategies, which employ it to promote quicker and more efficient product development lifecycles.

What is the Process of Iterative Software Development?

The purpose of iterative development is to streamline software production by dividing complex processes into manageable stages. The code for the functionality is subsequently developed and trialed iteratively. By progressively creating software, new features can be added and tested until the product is suitable for release to the end user.

Can iterations be described?

Iterations or sprints are development cycles that are restricted by time. This indicates that the developer is given a specific amount of time to finish a given cycle. At the conclusion of each iteration, the developer must provide a functioning version of the code.

Iterative procedures provide developers with the potential to make further modifications as they proceed. Unlike traditional approaches, in which any issues are only detected during the development phase after the design process has been completed, iterative procedures allow each stage to be completed before proceeding to the next, providing an opportunity to address any issues that emerge and ensuring that the project is completed without disruption.

Iterative Method: A Beginner’s Handbook

The iterative design process is cyclical and extremely flexible. Following the establishment of the high-level strategy, each iteration is finished with thorough testing before deployment.

At every phase of the iteration cycle, an initial testing phase must be conducted before software integration takes place. Decisions must be taken on what to keep and what to eliminate; hence the software creation process is called “incremental prototyping”.

The iterative method of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) enables developers to revisit earlier stages if any changes are needed. Every stage of the process is closely monitored until the final product is delivered.

Let us deconstruct an iteration cycle into its individual components.

Enhancements Are Made Gradually, Via a Sequence of Iterations.

Planning and Analysis as the Initial Stage

During the planning phase, developers and clients collaborate to determine software requirements that satisfy the needs of the company and its stakeholders. It is not necessary to consider risks and quality yet as they will be reviewed during the next iteration.

After obtaining a complete grasp of the requirements, an analysis is undertaken to ascertain the optimal approach to product development.

Approach Two: Generate a Draft

Design is not as critical in iterative development as it was in past processes. However, it is still necessary to follow the process to ensure the proper establishment of the software’s architecture. The design team is now in charge of defining the technical specifications, which may include services, programming languages and data layers.

The Third Phase: Implementation

At this point, the preliminary code draft for the program has been created. All the technology architecture, database, and programming for the first iteration of the module were developed in accordance with the coding standards.

Fourth, Test it Out.

The testing stage entails confirming that there are no remaining issues with the code. Unit testing involves separately examining each code module. A User Acceptance Test (UAT) is performed to ensure that the system satisfies the intended audience’s expectations, while Integration Testing ensures that the code modules still operate as intended after being merged.

The testing team also evaluates the iteration module for potential security breaches, utilising a range of techniques such as black box (no access to source code), grey box (partial access to source code), and white box (full access to source code).

Stage 5: Evaluation

When all the steps are finished, the project team will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the entire project, which will then be presented to the customer for their review.

An Illustration of an Iterative Model

Conceptualization Stage

Use a Sketch or a Model to Illustrate the Idea

Conduct proper research to evaluate the market and create a prototype of your product. Gather feedback from important stakeholders and clients.

Create a Prototype of Your Concept

Craft a foam or 3D-printed prototype to exhibit to potential investors and purchasers of your product.

Building Procedures

Enhancements to the Prototypes

Employing prototype equipment like CNC machines and 3D printers can be used to produce more sophisticated versions of the product. Moreover, these prototypes can be built from the same materials as the final product.

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Quality Assurance Inspections

The prototype from the last phase has gone through quality assurance testing. At this point, engineers are determining the production process on a larger scale.

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Testing Phase

Deliver the Product to Customers

Circulate the product among customers for a brief period. Request feedback from customers and take notes on what needs to be modified.

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Return to the Previous Steps

The results of the pilot study will determine if you move forward to full-scale production.

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During the Manufacturing Process

Produce the Initial Batch

The initial year of production is crucial as any unnoticed flaws in the design will become apparent during this time.

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Implement Improvements

Even after several months or years, you can keep track of past versions of your product, which is advantageous for continually enhancing the product.

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When Is Iterative Software Development Beneficial?

Iterative software development varies from conventional methods, as it does not follow a single design or concept during the development process. In the traditional waterfall approach, each stage of the software development life cycle is separated by a gate. Once the entire design of the software application has been settled on, and all relevant phase gate assessments have been passed, development starts.

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Iterative work methods offer greater flexibility for making changes. Nonetheless, there are pros and cons to implementing an iterative approach to development. Once you comprehend them thoroughly, you can determine whether or not to apply iterative development techniques in your business.

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Advantages of Implementing an Iterative Approach

  • Detecting and resolving problems, and flaws before they develop into significant issues.
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  • At the start of the project life cycle, prototypes are created that can be utilized in the actual world.
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  • Measuring progress is straightforward.
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  • Dedicate more time to designing and less to documentation.
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  • Applying modifications to the project is less challenging and less expensive at present.
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  • In the iterative process, the majority of risks become evident, and the significant ones could be identified for mitigation.
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  • The duration required for finishing a task is significantly reduced.
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  • A completed product is delivered to the customer at the end of each cycle.
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  • Customer feedback is driven by product performance rather than just technical specifications.
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Drawbacks of the Iterative Method

  • Additional resources might be necessary.
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  • Sequential stages with no overlap that are firmly defined.
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  • Enhanced project management might be required.
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  • Limitations related to system design might arise due to incomplete requirement descriptions for the entire system.
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  • Setting a final date for the project might be challenging because of its iterative nature.
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  • Finding skilled risk analysts could be challenging and involve time.
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Is Adopting Iterative Development a Wise Decision?

Although tempting to utilise iterative processes for any project, it may not always be the optimal method. To determine whether an iterative development approach is appropriate for your project, the following points are worth considering.

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Unlike other software development methods, an iterative approach is only efficient if:

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  • Your software program is extensive.
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  • The project requirements are easy to understand but not clearly defined.
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  • There is a possibility of changing needs over time.
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  • Some resources may not be available for a few iterations but could be used in later rounds.
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To summarise, an iterative development life cycle is implemented through a series of small steps and stages to ensure a high standard of the team, processes and product. This approach is particularly useful for large software projects that require regular updates according to user feedback and evaluation, rather than all at once. Following a strict iterative development methodology, along with having the necessary technical expertise, will lead to the delivery of a high-quality product with desired features. Read more about software development life cycle approaches in this blog post.

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