Theoretical Aspects and Practical Implementation of Iterative Agile Systems
Iterative project management represents an approach to orchestrating software DevOps specialists. This method entails the division of the project into smaller phases or cycles, with each phase yielding a functional software increment.
By adopting iterative agile management, teams can expedite the delivery of value to their customers, garner feedback regularly, and effortlessly accommodate shifting demands and priorities.
In contemporary teams which develop software, various strategies for implementing agile iterative project management are employed, contingent on the framework or methodology they embrace.
What Is Iteration?
Iterative Process Definition
The concept of an iterative agile process entails developing a soft in repetitive phases. Within each iterative life cycle, there is a sequence of activities involving initial project planning, design, coding, testing, and subsequent product increment assessment. An iteration, in this context, signifies a singular run-through of this procedure, typically spanning a duration of one to four weeks. These iterations serve as a mechanism for expediting the delivery of functional software, gathering input from customers and stakeholders, and smoothly accommodating alterations in prerequisites and prioritization.
Some Examples of Iterations
Within the Scrum framework, a team engages in a bi-weekly cycle, referred to as a “sprint,” during which they put into action a collection of stories told by users to be selected from the product backlog. Upon concluding the sprint, they present the resulting product increment to the product owner for assessment and feedback. Additionally, the team holds a meeting aimed at evaluating their workflow and pinpointing potential enhancements.
Another iteration example can be observed when a team adopts the Kanban approach. In this scenario, fixed iteration cycles are not employed; instead, they embrace a continuous stream of tasks derived from the backlog. The team enforces constraints on the maximum number of tasks allowed to be concurrently in progress, known as the “work in progress” or WIP limit. They closely monitor the cycle time, which signifies the duration required to complete a task from inception to completion. Visual aids like Kanban boards are harnessed to monitor task statuses and identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Furthermore, they institute regular feedback loops and initiate actions for continuous improvement.
Lastly, another illustration of the iterative process meaning comes into play when a team opts for the Feature Driven Development (FDD) methodology. This approach assumes that the segmentation of the project into features, which represent petite yet client-valued functions. These features are then systematically developed through a series of two-week iterations. Each of these iterations encompasses a sequence of five key activities, which encompass the creation of a comprehensive model, the compilation of a feature inventory, feature-specific planning, design tailored to each feature, and the actual implementation of these features. After each iteration, the team yields a fully operational feature, subsequently integrating it seamlessly into the broader system.
Iterative vs Agile Models
Numerous engineers hold a keen curiosity about whether iterative development is the same as agile development. Consequently, we’ve compiled several elucidations to facilitate your profound comprehension of these methodologies.
The difference between agile and iterative models lies in the fact that agile represents a particular variant of the iterative model. Agile adheres to a defined set of principles and techniques, whereas iterative constitutes a broad approach that can be implemented across various software development procedures.
Agile iteration represents a time-limited and step-by-step strategy for delivering software, progressively developing the product from the project’s outset until it’s delivered in its entirety toward the project’s conclusion. Agile places importance on engaging customers, functional software, adaptability, and human connections over rigidly adhering to a plan, extensive documentation, contract discussions, and procedural tools. Additionally, Agile employs diverse frameworks and approaches like Scrum, Kanban, XP, and others to put its principles and methodologies into action.
Iterative development signifies an approach to software development that advances by continually refining the product through incremental enhancements. Developers engage in building the product even when they are aware that numerous segments remain unfinished. The team focuses on these incomplete aspects, incrementally improving the product until it reaches a state of completion and satisfaction. Following each iteration, customer feedback plays a pivotal role in enhancing the software as additional intricacies are incorporated into the product. The iterative methodology is adaptable and can be seamlessly integrated into various software development processes, including but not limited to waterfall and spiral models.
Here are some key distinctions between agile and iterative models:
- Iterative development serves as a broad methodology, typically applicable to any software creation process, whereas agile iteration represents just one variant of iterative methodology
- Agile operates within defined rules and principles, while iteration lacks adherence to specific guidelines and practices.
- Agile emphasizes rapid product delivery, typically within 1-4 weeks, whereas the iterative approach tends to extend the timeline.
- Agile consistently involves customers in project collaboration and feedback, while iterative project management may assume limited customer engagement in the process.
- Agile draws upon various methods and frameworks, whereas the iterative process doesn’t anticipate any predefined frameworks or specific methodologies.
Below, you’ll find a comparison table outlining the primary distinguishing features of agile and iterative models.
Stages of development
A type of methodology or idea that incorporates several techniques and principles used to approach project management Combines various principles and techniques in one project
The development process is called Sprint, which has a fixed period of execution (2-4 weeks). Potentially growing product is delivered within this period.
Agile foresees a meeting calling to inspect a product improvement and adaption when necessary. It is called the Sprint Review meeting.
The previous Sprint influences the next one as the product backlog is updated and set according to the priorities based on the changes and given feedback.
Teams collaborating during Sprints or special meetings called “Retrospective of the Sprint” can revise products from time to time. They think about how to improve their workflow.
Agile iterative development includes 2 roles – Team Member and Scrum Master. Team Member estimates, develops, tests, and makes the product design. Scrum Master organizes team cooperation and removes all possible barriers.
Since each Sprint includes testing, team members prepare, identify, and perform all test cases.
Software demonstration and deployment is carried out at the end of every Sprint or at the Demonstrating Sprint meeting, where the team members demonstrate the product improvements to the stakeholders.
One technique is used in several projects, which succeeds due to the subsequent improvement by increasing the product
The process is called iterative development, which is a small part of creating, testing and improvement of the product.
To estimate the product and plan the next iterative cycle a meeting (Iteration Review) is organized.
Since the product is changed and updated based on the changes and feedback, the initial product iteration affects the further one.
The model of iterative project management involves two persons in the iterative development process: the Project Manager, who makes estimation, iteration planning, and completing, and the Member of the Team, who designs, develops, and tests products.
Since testing is made product iteration, testers prepare, identify, and perform all test cases.
At the end of every software iteration, the team performs deployment and demonstrates the product to the stakeholders.
How Is The Iteration Plan Made?
In project management, the process of iteration planning involves a series of sequential steps:
Goal Definition: The team establishes a clear objective and scope for the software iteration, drawing from the customer’s requirements, the project’s vision, and the product backlog. It is crucial that the iteration goal is unambiguous, quantifiable, and attainable within the allotted time frame.
Iteration Backlog Creation: The team identifies the specific features or user stories to be incorporated into the iteration software development, taking into account their priority, interdependencies, and estimated effort required. The iteration backlog should be pragmatic, manageable, and closely aligned with the established goal.
Agile Iteration Planning Involves a Structured Series of Steps:
The team dissects features or user stories into smaller, manageable tasks. These tasks are then assigned to individual team members, with estimates provided for their duration and required resources. The iteration plan should be comprehensive, foster collaboration, and allow for adaptability.
The team diligently executes the tasks according to the iteration plan, adhering to established processes and best practices. Continuous communication is maintained, progress is closely monitored, and any emerging issues or risks are promptly addressed.
The team showcases the incremental product to both the customer and relevant stakeholders, gathering their feedback. This feedback is used to assess the quality and functionality of the iterative software. Additionally, the team measures progress toward the established goal and evaluates customer satisfaction.
The team conducts a reflective session to evaluate their performance. They identify successful practices and areas for improvement. Together, the team agrees on actionable items to enhance future iterations. This stage also serves as an opportunity to celebrate achievements and express appreciation for each team member’s contributions.
Why Agile Iteration Is Important and Beneficial?
The iterative model lies at the heart of Agile methodologies. The inaugural principle of the Agile Manifesto declares: “Our utmost priority is to gratify the client by means of early and uninterrupted delivery of valuable software.” The key term in this context is ‘uninterrupted.’ Diverging from conventional project management frameworks, where the focus is on delivering a single, final product, Agile teams engage in an iterative cycle of production, yielding outcomes at consistent intervals. Consequently, clients gain visibility into the product’s evolution well before its completion and have the opportunity to contribute feedback, enhancing the ongoing iterative development software.
Within the realm of Agile iteration, a sequence of actions is reiterated in a continuous loop until the most favorable final outcome is achieved. This methodology empowers Agile teams to swiftly identify potential risks and proactively address them before they escalate. Each iterative life cycle should surpass its predecessor—developers may fine-tune a glitch, enhance an existing feature, or introduce a novel one. This agile iterative progress persists until the product attains readiness for launch.
The iterative Agile methodology offers a range of advantages for software development teams:
- Adaptability: It allows for flexibility in implementing changes at various stages of the iterative development
- Customer Engagement: Customers are actively involved during the Design and Adjustment phases of the PCDA cycle, fostering collaboration and ensuring their needs are met
- Early Risk Mitigation: It enables the early identification and mitigation of risks, minimizing potential issues down the road
- Swift Delivery: Rapid and incremental delivery ensures that results are delivered consistently and promptly
- Efficient Testing: Testing throughout the iterations is more manageable and effective compared to testing at the end of the development process
- Encourages Innovation: The iterative approach empowers diverse teams to experiment and innovate, harnessing a wide range of perspectives
- Ideal for Evolving Scopes: The Agile iterative approach is particularly well-suited for projects or businesses operating within dynamic and ever-changing scopes
The Agile iteration and Iterative project management methodologies share a common thread of iteration in software development, yet they diverge in several key aspects. Agile represents a specialized iteration model within this spectrum. The primary distinctions between the two revolve around their emphasis on customer value, cycle nomenclature, collaboration intensity, adaptability to change, and planning strategies.
In the realm of software development, iteration assumes a pivotal role, facilitating error rectification, enhancement of quality, integration of new features, and the attainment of objectives through recurrent adjustment cycles.