Managing complex software development projects is about efficient utilization of
resources, risk management, accurate estimation of budgets and timelines, experienced
selection of appropriate technologies, and scheduling feature development to meet
time-to-market requirements. Risk is a reality in every project; BeyondKey's iterative
methodology for software development is designed specifically to mitigate risk.
The most important question to answer before starting product development
is: Why is this product needed in the marketplace? The answer to this question constitute
the business objectives of the product that should drive its entire lifecycle. A
software product's development lifecycle is comprised of four facets:
- Requirements: What features will the product have?
- Design: How will the product offer these features?
- Coding: How will the features be coded and unit tested?
- Testing and delivery: How will the product be tested and delivered to customers?
These four facets are managed by a project plan that determines when the software
product will offer the required features.
Waterfall lifecycle Model
In a traditional Waterfall lifecycle model, the project plan organizes the four
phases in a strict serial order. A lot of time is spent up front to define and analyze
requirements and to complete the design of the target system before a line of code
is written. This model does not handle changes in requirements or design well. In
addition, it creates an artificial separation between business analysts, architects,
designers, and programmers, leading to the risk of miscommunication and divergence
between the business objectives and vision of a software product and its implementation.
Iterative lifecycle model
Using an Iterative lifecycle model, the four facets of a software product are integrated
so that business objectives drive the entire process, and the requirements and design
are continuously refined while the code evolves. The project plan arranges the development
into small releases, and mandates continuing integration of all coded components,
incremental builds, and periodic validation of refined requirements and design.
By doing so, it encourages a shared ownership of the product among business analysts,
software architects, designer, programmers, and testers; this shared ownership reduces
the risk of miscommunication and divergence. It also enables continuing refinement
and integration to avoid any unpleasant surprises just before the delivery date.
The Benefits of BeyondKey's Iterative Methodology are the following:
- Quick feedback loop from business stakeholders to engineering back to business stakeholders
- Rapid software product conceptualization and materialization through prototyping
- Ability to refine requirements and design, and handle changes in both in the early
phases of a product lifecycle
- Focus on getting the highest priority features and the highest risk features implemented
as fast as possible
- Ability to validate pieces of design incrementally, providing continuous analysis
and mitigating the risks
AGILE Development Model
In case of Agile software development model, which is a conceptual framework for
software development and is variant of Iterative Lifecycle Model. It promotes development
iterations throughout the life-cycle of the project where iterations are relatively
shorter in time duration.
There are many agile development methods; most minimize risk by developing software
in short amounts of time. Software developed during one unit of time is referred
to as an iteration, which typically lasts from one to four weeks. Each iteration
passes through a full software development cycle: including planning, requirements
analysis, design, coding, testing, and documentation. An iteration may not add enough
functionality to warrant releasing the product to market but the goal is to have
an available release (without bugs) at the end of each iteration. At the end of
each iteration, the team re-evaluates project priorities.
Agile methods emphasize face-to-face communication over written documents. Most
agile teams are located in a single open office sometimes referred to as a scrum.
At a minimum, this includes programmers and their "customers" (customers
define the product; they may be product managers, a business analyst, or the clients).
The office may include software testers, interaction designers, technical writers,
Agile methods also emphasize working software as the primary measure of progress.
Combined with the preference for face-to-face communication, agile methods produce
very little written documentation relative to other methods.