Agile vs. SDLC Development

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  • 0:03 What Is SDLC?
  • 2:06 What Is Agile?
  • 3:22 Main Differences
  • 4:56 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Olga Bugajenko

Olga is a registered PRINCE2 Practitioner and has a master's degree in project management.

Software development models help IT organizations reduce the variation in their product quality. In this lesson, we'll review and compare two software development concepts: SDLC and Agile.

What Is SDLC?

Before software development models where introduced into IT organizations, the development process was often ambiguous and inefficient, producing inconsistent and unpredictable results. The use of standardized models and frameworks helped to reduce the variations in the created product quality.

Software Development Life-Cycle (SDLC) is one of the oldest concepts for software development, describing the sequential development phases. There are six main stages within SDLC methodology. Each stage describes the activities to be performed for successful software development and maintenance. The stages do not overlap, so the previous stage must be completed and signed off by the stakeholders before the next stage can begin. Alternatively, the project can be aborted after any stage.

  1. Analysis and planning: During the first stage, the feasibility study is performed based on the inputs from the customer.

  2. Requirements definition: Once the analysis is completed, a full list of the project requirements is documented and signed off by the customer.

  3. Design: Based on the documented requirements, the product architects create the optimal product design, minimizing the risks and taking into account budget and time constraints.

  4. Development: At this stage, the product is created based on the previously agreed design.

  5. Testing: Next, the created product is tested, and any issues are reported, documented, fixed, and tested again. This process follows until the product quality requirements are met.

  6. Operation and maintenance: Often, the product is first released into a smaller market, followed by a full-scope release. Once operational, the product will require maintenance.

SDLC can include more stages if needed. SDLC concept is fundamental for many software development models: the waterfall model, rapid development model (RAD), the fountain model, the spiral model, and many more.

What Is Agile?

Agile is an iterative and incremental software development approach. In Agile, the product is delivered in fixed-term time intervals by the cross-functional self-managed team. Agile approach is applied in many software development models: Scrum, Extreme Programming, Rational Unified Process (RUP), and many more. All of these models share the same vision, summarized in the Agile Manifesto as 12 principles. These are focused on continuous communication, encourage collaboration, and speed up the development process.

Agile methodology is following the same stages, as prescribed by SDLC. However, instead of applying those to the product as whole, Agile splits the delivery into smaller increments and shippable product functionalities and applies the life-cycle stages to those separately. Each product functionality is developed, tested, and released iteratively. While in SDLC the stakeholders can sign-off the stage only as whole, Agile speeds up the development process by acquiring the sign-off for each shippable increment separately. This makes the approach more flexible and adaptable to the changes in customer requirements. As a result, it increases customer satisfaction.

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