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Iterative Model in SDLC Methodology

Instructor: Noel Ransom

Noel has taught college Accounting and a host of other related topics and has a dual Master's Degree in Accounting/Finance. She is currently working on her Doctoral Degree.

The iterative model in the Software Development Life Cycle is explained in detail. Examples of the iterative model within the life cycle, including process steps and scenarios, are provided.

What is the Iterative Model?

Jaime is a software developer responsible for developing a new software program for an inventory management company. Jaime is extremely familiar with the inventory management company because he worked on a project for the company a few years ago. Because of Jaime's previous experience, he is also very familiar with the customer and their needs for the project. The customer would like to build a new inventory management system, which requires a new software program to manage various types of inventory. Jaime receives detailed customer requirements, and after several sessions gathering additional needs, Jaime is ready to design and build the software.

Because Jaime is familiar with the customer's software and the new requirements, he decides not to develop full software specifications and requirements. Instead, he begins with a small set of software requirements from the customer. Once Jaime develops a piece of software from the first portion of software requirements, he runs tests on it. After tests are run, Jaime reviews the results, makes enhancements and adjustments to the software, and produces a new version. Thereafter, Jaime takes the next set of software requirements, develops the second part of the software coding, runs tests, and makes adjustments.

After the second part of software code is complete, Jaime adds it to the first part of software coding and continues to build the software coding until the final software code and application is complete. The process Jaime follows is called the iterative model of the Software Development Life Cycle. During the iterative model, the developer never begins with a full set of software specifications, but takes smaller pieces of code and builds upon each completed code to form the final version of software.

Process Steps of the Iterative Model

Once Jaime has the requirements from his customer, he begins the design and development of a small part of the software. After design and development are successful, Jaime begins testing the software. If any bugs or defects occur, Jaime makes enhancements to the software. After the testing phase, the implementation phase begins. Because the process is repeated until a final product is developed, each phase is called an iteration. During each iteration, the product goes through the same process of design and build, testing and implementation. After each iteration, the new module is released, which adds new functionality to the existing software. The goal is to complete the final iterations with a fully functional product.

To make the iterative process successful, Jaime must validate customer and software requirements throughout the process life cycle. During the testing phases, it is important for Jaime to compare the testing outcomes to the customer's requirements for each iteration. As each iteration occurs, testing is repeated for each version of the software.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The iterative model is best used during the following instances:

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