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What is an Agile SDLC Model and What Are its Advantages?

joywinter90 profile image Joy Winter ・5 min read

If you have any experience as an engineer in the past two decades, you’ve probably heard the term “Agile” being used quite a bit. There are a lot of different versions and adaptations of Agile according to business needs.

While some companies prefer to stick with traditional software development methods (as they are more convenient and members are used to it), others prefer using more secure, flexible, and high-quality software producing methods like Agile.

The need to adopt the Agile model has stemmed from the fact that, over the years, as technology has evolved, so have customer needs and expectations. Traditional software development methods are no longer as efficient and effective as they once used to be for many organizations. Constant demands for better features and updates have changed the software development industry and different development approaches were needed.

But what is an Agile SDLC model? Why should you adopt it? Is it an affordable solution that even small to medium scale businesses (SMBs) can adopt? Let’s take a closer look.

What is an Agile SDLC Model?

First of all, SDLC stands for Software Development Life Cycle. An Agile SDLC model is a combination of incremental and iterative software development models that focuses on delivering high-quality software continuously while reducing project overhead and increasing business value.

The project progresses in regularly iterated cycles, known as “sprints,” which usually last two to four weeks but can be longer or shorter depending upon need. Every iteration requires cross-functional teams working in collaboration on various aspects like planning, requirement analysis, design, coding, unit testing, security testing, integration testing, etc.

The Agile model manifesto promotes software development in small, quick steps. It is based on continuous iterations of software that allows companies to release updates to users more frequently.

Traditional SDLC vs Agile SDLC Model: A Comparison

The primary difference between a traditional SDLC and an Agile SDLC is the sequence of project phases. In traditional development methodologies, the sequence of the project development process is linear, whereas, in Agile, it is iterative but with short iterations (older iterative SDLCs often had iterations that were many months long).

In a traditional SDLC, the software development team has to make a detailed overview of all the requirements that might come up in the future in terms of design and development of the software. This makes traditional SDLC more challenging and time-consuming.

On the other hand, the Agile SDLC model is quite flexible and the Agile software development team determines the scope of required changes based on customer needs and it goes through the cycle of analysis, design, development, and testing before every release. This allows the team to release small changes into the production environment instead of releasing a single major update.

As far as security is concerned, both the traditional SDLC and the Agile SDLC models can do it well or poorly. You just need to plan on involving security early in both lifecycles.

Benefits of the Agile SDLC Model

Here are some of the top benefits of Agile SDLC model that you should know about:

Stakeholder Engagement

One of the major benefits of an Agile SDLC is that it provides several opportunities for stakeholders and team members to engage with each other - before, during, and after each sprint.

Agile offers a unique opportunity for clients to be more involved throughout the software development life cycle, from the design phase to prioritizing features, iteration planning, and review sessions to the final release.

By involving your client in every step of the software development life cycle, you potentially increase collaboration between the team and the client, thereby providing more opportunities for the team to better understand the client’s expectations.

Continuous delivery also builds the client’s trust in the ability of the team to deliver high-quality working software, encouraging them to be more engaged with the organization.

Predictable Costs and Schedule

Since each sprint is of a fixed duration, companies can predict the cost of the entire project and limit the amount of work the team can perform during a fixed schedule. With a fixed number of sprints, the company can calculate individual development team speed, your project timelines, and budget estimates, product backlog, or any other requirements.

Of course, this is dependent upon completing all tasks in sprints; but like traditional methodologies, issues arise and projects can definitely run late and over budget. However, these issues may be detected earlier in Agile projects.

If the ROI outweighs the cost of the project, then a company may decide to take the project further. However, if the ROI does not meet the company’s expectations, they can easily predict it and understand if a project is feasible, and more importantly, profitable for the organization.

In addition to this, companies also consider client’s estimates and their needs which improves decision making about the need for additional iterations and priority of features.

Team Efficiency

Another popular benefit of the Agile SDLC model is that Agile teams are known to be highly efficient at completing projects. Since Agile teams share a collaborative environment, it tends to produce a ripple effect on efficiencies as well. Usually, this is due to improved communication of needs that minimizes the degree of rework.

Scalability

Two major deal breakers for companies to decide whether they want to work on a project or not are time and cost. It includes questions like:

• How long will the project take to complete?
• What will it cost?
• Is it worth the initial investment?
• What is the ROI of the project in the long run?
• How can we best utilize the resources and people available at hand?

The last question is the most important as it holds a lot of value for companies who still struggle with predicting the feasibility of a project or understanding their team’s capabilities. Agile SDLC provides a way to identify the key stakeholders, determine a project’s viability, and identify whether the project will scale well as the company grows.

Focuses on Business Value

By breaking down the silos and adopting an Agile SDLC, companies can focus more on business value instead of software development issues. This is because the Agile SDLC model lets the team understand what’s more important for the client’s business and what their priorities are.

Once they gain an understanding of these things, they are able to deliver features that are just right for their clients’ business and provide the most value.

Improves Quality

An Agile SDLC offers high-quality software as testing is done by the end user during the early stages of the SDLC to ensure that the product is released in the desired state. It helps members like security team experts identify and address security vulnerabilities early in the development phase itself if they are engaged early.

Takeaways

Agile SDLC is an excellent software development method for businesses that constantly release software to meet customers’ needs and client requirements. One of the major benefits of an Agile SDLC is that it promotes cross-functional team collaboration and feedback sharing. This means different teams work in tandem to create better quality software while aligning with client requirements.

This post was originally published at CypressDataDefense.com.

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Joy Winter

@joywinter90

I am an entrepreneur living in Portland who loves to help others by sharing her knowledge about effective marketing and cybersecurity hacks.

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