The Agile Model in SDLC

Instructor: Deborah Schell

Deborah teaches college Accounting and has a master's degree in Educational Technology.

Companies can implement software system changes using a number of different models ranging from traditional to those that are more flexible. In this lesson, you will learn about the agile model used in a system development life cycle (SDLC).

What Is the Agile Model?

Meet Mr. Cash, who runs the Trustworthy Bank. His company has a new consumer banking product, but it needs to update its computer systems to offer this new product. His technology team says it will take at least 18 months to implement the changes, but Mr. Cash wants to offer it to his customers sooner. He has heard about the agile model, and wonders if his company could use it for this product. Let's see if we can help Mr. Cash.

The agile model in a system development life cycle (SDLC) permits a company to develop software in small, quick segments. As a result, businesses are able to release small changes to users more frequently; each release serves as a foundation for the next one. This methodology differs from traditional software development, where a company must complete each phase before moving on to the next one.

For example, in traditional software development, the company must plan the changes it wants to make, then complete detailed analysis and design to ensure they meet user specifications. Once the company knows what the users want, the changes are developed and thoroughly tested before the company releases them into production. This process can be time-consuming.

In an agile model, planning and analysis is not as detailed as it is in a traditional model, but it is detailed enough to determine the scope of the required changes. After defining the scope, the project team goes through the cycle of analysis, design, development, and testing frequently, allowing the team to release small changes into production. The cycle typically ranges from a couple of weeks to 30 days. For example, Mr. Cash could assemble his project team, and it could develop and release small parts of his new product into production instead of waiting until the team had completed the entire development.

Advantages of Agile Model

The agile model has a number of advantages over traditional development including:

  • Faster implementation of changes
  • More flexibility for changes
  • Better communication with users and greater user satisfaction

Using an agile model allows companies to implement changes much faster. An agile model also allows a company to adapt to changes more quickly. Using a traditional methodology, a project's scope is set at the planning stage, and it is difficult to make major changes to it throughout the development process. Companies can implement user-requested changes much more quickly during development in an agile model.

For example, Mr. Cash could decide that he wants to expand the availability of his new product to all customers instead of just a specific age group. The project team could easily accommodate this change in scope.

In an agile model, the project team consults stakeholders, or those that have an interest in the project, earlier in the process, and they are much more satisfied as the project team provides them with new functionality that satisfies their expectations on a regular basis. In addition, the project team, including developers and testers, build better relationships with customers as they are in constant contact with them. This increased communication also decreases the risk of delivering changes that the users didn't ask for or that don't meet their expectations.

Disadvantages of Agile Model

Disadvantages of the agile model include:

  • Difficult to assess the amount of effort and resources required
  • Less emphasis on creating documentation
  • Users are required to test on an almost continuous basis

In an agile model, it is difficult for companies to determine project duration and the resources that will be required to complete it. Unlike a traditional development model where the scope is determined at the beginning of the project, the agile model emphasizes development in small parts that makes it difficult for the project team to assess how long it is going to take. For example, Mr. Cash wouldn't necessarily know the number of people required to complete this project when it begins.

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