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What Is Agile SDLC: The Guide on Major Software Development Methodology in 2022

26 Jan 2022

20 Min

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State-of-art digital technologies and solutions keep enhancing by leaps and bounds and have become the real present, making the software development market immense. Meeting deadlines, and requirements when creating software are primary aims for software development companies today.

Complex and sophisticated solutions are most often built using the Agile methodology and within the framework of the so-called Agile software development life cycle (SDLC). It is a methodology for architecting digital solutions which provides a more flexible approach for product creation, decreases the time-to-market, and allows simplified implementation of dynamic client requirements.

Agile is nowadays one of the most widely-applied approaches, and the statistics define its popularity:

  • 71% of companies are using the Agile SDLC methodology.
  • Agile applying has helped 98% of companies to successfully complete and enhance software development projects.
  • 60% of companies receive increased revenue after adopting Agile.
  • 80% of federal IT projects were accomplished using Agile.
  • The failure rate of products built with software development life cycle Agile model is 8%, which is an extremely low indicator for this industry.

In this article, we will look at the concept, peculiarities, benefits, and phases of the Agile model SDLC in detail.

SDLC Models: Concept and Essentials

The latest technical solutions building require rapid changes that software architectures have to comply with and create high-quality software. The agile model of software development life cycle is an approach allowing to keep up with those modern conditions. Let’s begin studying this successful methodology by describing the SDLC notion and observing its main existing models.

What is the SDLC?

Every successful product is started with thorough and proper planning. And within the development of software solutions, there's no exception due to the fact that this stage is a fundament and serves as a roadmap for further project accomplishment directing the development flow and impacting the quality of the final product. Thus, we may conclude that the software development lifecycle is extremely significant within the software architecture process.

One more name for the software development life cycle is the application development life cycle, which determines how the software development project happens, its process sequence of the single case, or an entire company. The SDLC is often called a framework for projecting, creation, testing, management, and delivery of ensured tech services. Using the SDLC simplifies the process of defining the current phase developers work on, which resources are necessary, and what are the following directions to fulfill the project.

Every SDLC incorporates certain development stages. In a prevalent number of cases, there are the essential six software development lifecycle phases:

  • Analysis. The beginning of the project comprises assembling requirements and conducting analysis. The entire further actions in terms of the product creation are described during this stage. This stage is devoted to overcoming all uncertainties concerning the further development flow and the software details.
  • Design. It’s the next step of the software development life cycle. The design concept comprises the product’s interface with all the screens, buttons, and other UI (user interface) elements. Furthermore, it determines the software business logic how smooth and seamless it operates.
  • Development. Functionality implementation or scripting is the third stage of the whole SDLC. Designed elements of the software are implemented, and the source code is built.
  • Testing. This phase incorporates product verification in order to detect bugs and failures in the script and fix them. The solution is accurately tested and often passes through several cycles to get rid of all the issues and make sure there are no problems left.
  • Deployment. The next essential step is software launching. In other words, it refers to releasing the product, making it available for end-users.
  • Maintenance. This phase is necessary to make the solution remain sought-after and keep up with the dynamic market requirements. What’s more, if users detect any problems due to the complexity, they may be hot-fixed or mended with the following scheduled update.

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According to the software development team’s product creation principles, the project type, and its complexity, there are several SDLC methodologies to adopt, comprising but not limited to Waterfall, Iterative, Spiral, and SDLC life cycle Agile models.

Every SDLC methodology can be described as adaptive or predictive. The Agile model in SDLC relates to the adaptive group, whereas Waterfall, V-shaped, Iterative, and Spiral methodologies refer to the predictive model. Each of them is suitable for specific cases allowing to comply with a row of development requirements and satisfy users’ needs. Let’s observe the described models, including the Agile development cycle diagram as well:

V-shaped SDLC Model

This approach is founded on the Waterfall model. The name “Waterfall” directly describes a building process, which is like a smooth stream, which means that tech-savvy specialists gradually complete each phase of the SDLC. Each step is finished with testing, and developers proceed to the following one only when the current phase is fully accomplished. The V-shaped SDLC model doesn’t ensure flexibility in changing requirements and making edits in contrast with the Agile software life cycle, so it brings certain complexities in taking a step back and integrating changes.

Iterative methodology

Its main peculiarity is the fact that this model may be used even without the complete list of requirements or if it’s dynamic. To begin the product development process, the functional part is only required. The row of requirements may be widened within the development flow. The iterative methodology involves the list of phases described above. The process is repetitive and provides the opportunity to enhance the software with every new version for each cycle. This model should be integrated prudently, or it may result in excessive alterations quickly draining development resources. As you could already understand, software development life cycle Agile methodology is an iterative approach.

Spiral SDLC Model

This model puts a premium on assessing risks. The entire creation process is split into smaller stages for the team to complete. This may be a disadvantage, as there’s a chance of unnecessarily wasting time and money in case the software is new, and the accomplished project doesn’t require thorough documentation. In addition, the spiral model may also cost small and low-risk projects a fortune, which is also a considerable disadvantage.

SDLC models

SDLC models

Agile SDLC model

Agile SDLC methodology is an approach allowing to organize a project by dividing it into multiple stages. It implies continuous partnership with stakeholders and regular enhancements at every phase. Currently, it is one of the most widely-used software development models.

In 2001 the Agile software development cycle and its methodologies were invented and started to be applied. Seventeen software creators released the Agile Manifesto that described the principles and values of Agile most successful practices, which will be covered in this article a little bit later.

Ensured flexibility is the primary benefit of the Agile development life cycle due to its main concept-product creation accomplished by small, short stages. The model is created with continuous iterations of solutions that enable teams to make edits and upgrades regularly. Every upgraded version in the Agile development cycle is a fundament for the following one.

Comparing the SDLC Agile model to the traditional approach, the latter needs a thorough description of all the needs that might arise during the development flow and precise design details so that all those aspects comply with initial requirements. Thus, the time-to-market is increased, as the project should have inflexible requirements from the first stage.

In contrast, when working with SDLC methodologies Agile, a team defines the scope of essential alterations and completes steps like analysis, design, implementation, and testing. Thus, specialists integrate moderate changes into the solution with no need to release the one scale update. Agile SDLC phases are called sprints and may last from about two weeks to one month.

Agile SDLC model

Agile SDLC example

The process stages remain identical yet, providing more flexibility. Agile system development lifecycle involves steps like the concept, inception, iteration, deployment, support, and retirement. The described methodology is created to ensure continuous software deliverables, regular product enhancements, instant updates, and quicker implementation.

The indispensable two approaches of SDLC Agile are iterative and incremental:

  • Using incremental implementation, the product is built by components with no strict and defined requirements needed. Extended features and functionality are based on the ready-made ones. Software development lifecycle Agile is a way to rapidly create a minimum viable product (MVP).
  • An iterative methodology refers to the development of new solutions within refinements. When the MVP is created, the software is enhanced with newer features and a great diversity of instruments. As a result, with the Agile life cycle, the development team is able to contemporaneously create diverse solution parts and make alterations efficiently.

We are able to choose from a wide range of Agile methodology SDLC variations. To illustrate, Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, Extreme Programming (XP), Feature Driven Development, and Lean Software Development. Yet, all of them have a joint target, which is simplified, rapid adaptation to alterations, and faster project completion.

Waterfall Vs. Agile: Which Methodology Should You Choose?

Due to the fact that the Agile SDLC process is frequently compared to the Waterfall model, we’ve prepared a detailed studying of those two methodologies below:

Agile

Pros

  • Flexibility to comply with adaptive market and user requirements
  • The space for a creative problem-solving approach
  • Optimized resource allocation
  • Regular updates and higher client satisfaction
  • Rigid cadence, deadline adaptiveness

Cons

  • Obscure planning may result in the unforeseen final result
  • Receptive to a lack of concentration and responsive reactions within sprints
  • Unremitting pace
  • Inaccurate testing takes a chance in releasing a product with bugs

Agile benefits and drawbacks

StrengthsWeaknesses

The Agile SDLC model ensures the most efficient practices among development environments. Certain risks of a project may be cut down as the output of specialists is monitored betimes and continuously within the process.

Agile may be quite simple at first glance, yet, in practice, this methodology isn’t the easiest one. Developers have to contribute higher commitment and be experienced when applying this approach.

Scale and complex projects require more creativity and involve changing requirements, which is possible to implement with SDLC phases Agile.

With this approach, it may be challenging to make predictions concerning the final result.

Opportunity to integrate alterations despite what stage is in progress now.

The Agile lifecycle model can’t be beneficial without constant collaboration and frequent communication among the team and with the client.

Due to the fact that developers keep in touch with each other, it allows coming up with the most successful and efficient ideas, which positively impacts the final product quality.

Agile methodology SDLC is an extremely tense approach for both developers and users. For teams who implement several projects simultaneously, it may bring certain complexities.

This methodology helps to decrease 'silos' commonly arise within project 'teams' - issues reducing the final quality result conditioned by the lack of united work.

An imprecise blueprint of the final product makes it difficult to obtain high engagement from the side of stakeholders at the early phase.

Less repetitive alterations with SDLC Agile methodology, as all the issues and changes can be fixed and completed within the sprint.

SDLC and Agile complicate the interaction between the customer and the development team, as the first side is interested in what specialists are getting paid for as soon as possible. It may be complex to calculate deadlines and costs due to the inexactness of requirements.

By applying special instruments, (boards, charts, Kanban tables, others) it can be simpler to track, manage, direct the development flow and make sure that everything is done in time.

Agile methodology life cycle makes it difficult to set deadlines. Large-scale projects can involve a row of components, and clients may reject the time period necessary for the project implementation.

Waterfall

Pros

  • Reduced “scope creep”
  • A final software meeting all the requirements
  • Easier dividing of roles and responsibilities
  • More seldom updates accurately rolled out and provided to the market
  • Set project plans and deadlines

Cons

  • No flexibility when the specification document is ready
  • Fewer opportunities to implement changes
  • No sticking to innovations appearing on the market
  • Too much time for bugs detection as testing is conducted only when the entire project is accomplished
  • The change operation process is bureaucratic

Waterfall benefits and drawbacks

StrengthsWeaknesses

On accurately-structured projects, Waterfall can ensure what the final result will be.

For large-scale projects, it is difficult to prepare early-stage plans, as there are lots of elements that have to be provided in advance.

As the roles and responsibilities are divided at the initial stage, team members don’t have to obligatory be gathered in one office, as everyone knows the set tasks and scope of work.

There’s no opportunity to check the output before the project is fully accomplished, so developers have to keep in touch in order to maximize the software quality and meet the client’s expectations.

For projects requiring multiple interfaces and dependencies outside of the elementary software creation, Waterfall ensures the necessary instruments allowing to model and manage these.

Risk is commonly raised with Waterfall, as the incorrect planning decreases the software quality, and this methodology makes it difficult to implement changes. This condition, accompanied by the high cost of Waterfall projects, is a substantial disadvantage.

The Agile methodology process flow is more spread than the Waterfall nowadays. Nonetheless, the first methodology is suitable for small teams and startups engaging fewer teammates in projects. As client requirements meeting is the primary aim for developers, the Agile development cycle ensures flexibility to comply with dynamic needs. In case the project comprises set deadlines, stable requirements, and a limited budget, the Waterfall methodology is the beneficial option to adopt.

To explain the Agile software development life cycle model and its difference between the Waterfall one, let’s compare those two approaches at the illustration below:

Comparing Agile and Waterfall models

Comparing Agile and Waterfall models

Agile Software Development Phases and Principles

It’s time to explore the details of the Agile model in SDLC, its principles, and concept.

Agile Manifesto

It is the primary document forming the values and principles of the Agile software cycle, created in February 2001 during the assembly of 17 independent specialists in various programming techniques, naming themselves the "Agile Alliance.”

Agile manifesto content is translated to more than 50 languages and comprises 4 values and 12 principles. Here’s the citation of them:

Values

  • People and interaction are more significant than processes and instruments.
  • Operating software is more important than thorough documentation.
  • Partnership with clients is more prioritized than agreeing on the contract terms.
  • Positive perception of changes is more significant than complying with the initial plan.
Agile Manifesto values

Agile Manifesto values

Basic principles

  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.
  • Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  • Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  • Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  • Simplicity— the art of maximizing the amount of work not done— is essential.
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

The main phases of the Agile life cycle

Let’s observe the Agile software development phases, as they also have certain peculiarities:

1. Concept

During this software development cycle Agile stage, a client provides the details concerning his project to define the project scale. In case the aim is to create several projects simultaneously, they should be put in priority. A future product owner should also prepare fundamental requirements comprising the functionality, features, and gather all the essential documentation for proper structuring.

The Agile life cycle model begins with minimal requirements needed as there’s an opportunity to widen them despite the current phase. In this initial step, if the team is already gathered, developers are also able to conduct approximate calculations concerning the final costs, set deadlines, assess risks, and gather all these details in an Agile SDLC process document.

2. Inception

After defining the essential product requirements and preparing Agile SDLC documentation, a project owner should choose suitable specialists with relevant expertise. When it comes to hiring options, there are three main options:

Freelancers

This option is widely-applied due to the fact that it has the lowest cost. Nonetheless, there are certain challenges, like verifying the freelancers’ expertise in SDLC and Agile delivery methodologies, making sure they are trustworthy partners, and finding the ones who can speak English fluently. Besides, this hiring option often requires a prepayment, after which there’s a chance of project abandonment.

In-house team

Assembling a software development team in your office ensures high proximity and top communication level, which is a huge benefit for the Agile project development life cycle. Nonetheless, such expenses as renting an office, purchasing hardware, paying set salaries despite the scope of work make this option the most expensive of all. In addition, you’ll have to check the tech expertise of developers yourself or hire someone for help, which is another extra outgoing.

Outsourcing companies

This option is considered to be the most cost-efficient one in the whole modern market of software development services. Project outsourcing refers to a team of specialists with a verified comprehensive experience taking over all your product creation responsibilities. With this option, you are able to decrease time-to-market as well as the development costs yet, receive a full-fledged, qualitative product and the remaining excellent performance.

A striking example of outsourcing benefice is companies from Central Europe, in particular, Estonia. Due to the optimal rates and the highest technical expertise level specialists from this region help customers to cut down software development costs with the remaining top quality of the final product.

Want to know what to choose, in-house or outsourcing? Check out our post comparing these two hiring options

According to SDLC and Agile methodology, the chosen team can proceed to the design creation. Specialists will build a UI mockup which is a layout and placement of all the design components of the solution. During the inception phase in SDLC and Agile development, the stakeholders are usually engaged to define and provide more details on the requirements and clarify the functionality of the future software. Frequent reports will show that all the needs and requirements are followed during the design process.

3. Iteration

The following Agile cycle model phase is iteration, called construction as well. Commonly, this stage takes the most time in comparison to the other Agile model phases, due to the fact that the major scope of work is fulfilled here. The programmers cooperate with UX designers to comply with all the software requirements and customer needs, converting the design into the script. The developers create essential solution functionality within the first iteration or sprint. Due to Agile development SDLC, extra features and tweaks may be implemented in the following iterations. The phase allows tech specialists to create operating digital products rapidly and refine them to deliver an enhanced user experience.

4. Release

The software is almost ready for deployment. However, prior to launching, the SDLC life cycle in Agile requires quality assurance engineers to conduct certain tests to verify the software operation and make sure there are no bugs, flaws, or failures. In case any issues are detected, the solution has to be fixed by developers. If the script is clean, it’s time to complete the release stage of the Agile project life cycle model. User training is also an indispensable process of this stage.

5. Maintenance

Here, the product is deployed and may be tested by the first users. In the SDLC using Agile methodology, this stage refers to the software support and enhancement from the developers’ side to keep it working seamlessly and flawlessly. In case there are any product running problems, they are fixed in this Agile software development lifecycle phase. Furthermore, the team can help with the user onboarding process to acquaint them with all the opportunities provided by the software. Then, new iterations can take place due to the Agile software cycle to upgrade the functionality of the existing product.

6. Retirement

Retirement is one more stage among the SDLC Agile model phases, which is conditioned by the two main reasons:

  • The solution is substituted by the new product
  • The software has become outdated

The software development team will inform the users that the product is obsolete and has stopped operating. In case there’s a brand-new solution available, clients will be asked to move to the new one. Lastly, specialists fulfill further end-of-life tasks to stop the support of the older software and finish all SDLC Agile phases.

The Agile iteration workflow

All Agile SDLC model phases comprise multiple iterations to enhance the quality of deliverables and provide a top-class solution. In a nutshell, these iterations are smaller cycles in the overarching Agile life cycle. Here’s how the iterations happen:

Model of Agile iterations

Model of Agile iterations

The workflow of iterations in an Agile life cycle model commonly involves five stages:

  • Planning
  • Requirements analysis
  • Software architecture
  • Quality Assurance testing
  • Deliver iteration

The Agile SDLC life cycle is a fundamental model for software development teams, allowing them to follow the planned directions as the software goes through its lifecycle from concept to retirement.

Tips for Integrating Agile Into Your Business Processes

Due to the high flexibility level of the Agile methodology software development life cycle, its model is equally well suited to startups, innovative projects, as well as already established ones, like large-scale businesses and enormous corporations. In order to implement Agile SDLC process flow into your business, you may check the hints described below:

1. Prepare for the migration entirely

The fundamental step to take in terms of the SDLC Agile method transition is to notify and train your development team in the new architecture approach. To start the integration, you may find an illustration of the Agile model in SDLC with examples to share and describe it with your team so that they are aware of the basics.

Besides, it concerns not only tech specialists, managers, and other company members. Your customer base and other stakeholders should be informed that your team has moved to the leverage of SDLC in Agile model. Continuous partnership with your stakeholders is a significant point within the life cycle of Agile methodology, so they should also be notified.

2. Comprehend the Agile values and principles

Before migrating to the Agile life cycle model, the team and you should precisely study its manifesto for further application in the internal business workflow. Bring this topic to team meetings to discuss the company’s values, changes in them, and further methodology for developing follow-up projects together.

To illustrate, your employees and managers have to adapt to the SDLC Agile methodologies where they are aware of all the project details from its beginning. Mind that the transition process requires patience, as concentrating on the general plan and overall requirements may be unaccustomed for your development team.

Why is this process worth it? Experienced software development teams with adopted Agile and SDLC approaches reach their project targets 21% more regularly than inexperienced ones.

3. Select the suitable Agile framework for your team

Agile methodology in the software development life cycle will become a profitable and efficient approach if you choose the suitable framework for your team according to its workflow, scale, project complexity, requirements, targets, and needs. Here are the 7 most used frameworks for completing software development life cycles, including Agile development to pick from:

Best Agile frameworks

Best Agile frameworks

In case your goal is to apply the primary advantages of the SDLC process in Agile, such as rapidity and flexibility within the moderate scale, you should go for Scrum.

Kanban is an excellent choice for the teams who want to apply phases of SDLC in Agile and have already worked with boards. What’s more, ScrumBan, which is a combination of Scrum and Kanban, is nowadays gaining momentum in its popularity and usability.

The Agile software delivery lifecycle framework like SAFe is an efficient way to track and control the development flow of numerous solutions at scale.

4. Fill and optimize a product backlog

The further tactics refer to Scrum projects built with SDLC for Agile. You should cooperate with stakeholders to build a backlog of potential functionality and essential user stories for the software.

5. Plan the sprint (iteration)

Arrange a meeting with the entire developers’ team and review all the functional elements, features, stories, and bugs in your backlog. Together, you should decide which ones are more significant to fulfill in the following project sprint.

When the tasks are properly prioritized, and the team is aware of the approximate deadlines, you are able to optimize the software Agile development life cycle completion.

6. Hold daily meetings

The daily team communication allows successfully accomplishing phases of Agile model in software engineering.

There are the three main questions to discuss to help the team keep up with the responsibilities fulfillment:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What are you planning to do today?
  • Are there any challenges or stoppers in your tasks?

7. Verify the iteration with your stakeholders

After finishing the sprint, the software should be tested and reviewed by the most significant stakeholders.

In case they approve of the completed alterations, the sprint is accomplished thriving, and developers can proceed to architecting new features and user stories. If the sprint is rejected, specialists are required to refine the edits during the upcoming sprint.

8. Check your sprint and assess the software quality

At the end of the sprint, it's worth taking some kind of inventory. Examine the elements that have been improved, and assess the impact of the results of the last completed sprint on your future priorities for upcoming work.

The SDLC meaning in Agile is that the completed last sprint is not the final one. Following this methodology, the software solution undergoes continuous enhancements until you reach a full-fledged version that meets all your customers' needs.

How to Make Agile the Most Effective for Your Project?

Just like with any other changes, integrating SDLC in Agile into your project may be a challenging process. The list below indicates four basic actions to take in case you want to adopt this methodology very soon :

  • Daily meetings. As it was mentioned above daily meetings are useful for leading open conversations, checking the responsibilities completion, and optimizing the workflow on each iteration
  • Live demonstrations. It means sharing the screen to display the progress of SDLC phases in Agile
  • Sharing feedback. Gather rates and reviews from stakeholders and users to analyze and negotiate them with specialists
  • Sticking to Agile. Implement alterations according to the Agile SDLC diagram and the clients’ feedback to make sure that each iteration refines the software
Advantages of Agile

Advantages of Agile

How Can Cleveroad Help in Agile Development?

Cleveroad is a software development company with proven in-depth experience with headquarters in Central Europe, Estonia. Our competence involves helping startups and businesses of all sizes acquire cutting-edge technologies since 2011. We specialize in ensuring a diversity of IT-related services and custom-built software solutions.

The Agile development lifecycle is our main approach, as products created with this methodology boost workflow efficiency, solve business problems, and help to gain competitive advantages.

By cooperating with us, our clients receive a row of the following benefits:

  • We strongly believe that honesty with customers, partners, and teammates is a key point to building top-notch products
  • Our SDLC maximally complies with the principles of Agile, the realities of today, and provides customers with high-quality software in the shortest possible time
  • Cleveroad offers the three flexible partnership models: dedicated team, fixed price, time & materials
  • A team of high-qualified and certified QA engineers participating in the qualitative product creation for you
  • Substantial experience in software development across a range of demanded domains, like FinTech, Healthcare, and Retail

The Agile system development life cycle model is the more efficient, the higher the professionalism level of the software development team is. The software architecture approach described in this article in the hands of experienced specialists will help create a successful and high-quality software solution. So to build a flawless and profitable product leveraging the Agile method in SDLC, you should apply to a credible vendor with proven tech expertise to get the most out of the methodology.

Start using Agile with Cleveroad

Book a call with our Senior Delivery Manager to get a consultation on implementing Agile

Frequently Asked Questions

Agile SDLC, meaning methodology, is an approach allowing to organize a project by dividing it into multiple stages. It implies continuous partnership with stakeholders and regular enhancements at every phase. Nowadays, it is considered to be one of the most widely-used software development models. In 2001 the Agile software development SDLC methodologies were invented and started to be applied. Seventeen software creators released the Agile Manifesto that described the principles and values of Agile most successful practices, which will be covered in this article a little bit later.

  • Concept
  • Inception
  • Iteration
  • Deployment
  • Support
  • Retirement

Pros

  • Flexibility to comply with adaptive market and user requirements
  • The space for a creative problem-solving approach
  • Optimized resource allocation
  • Regular updates and higher client satisfaction
  • Rigid cadence, deadline adaptiveness

Cons

  • Obscure planning may result in the unforeseen final result
  • Receptive to a lack of concentration and responsive reactions within sprints
  • Unremitting pace
  • Inaccurate testing takes a chance in releasing a product with bugs

It is the primary document forming the values and principles of the Agile software cycle, created in February 2001 at a meeting of 17 independent specialists in various programming techniques, naming themselves the "Agile Alliance.”

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