You have heard of it but what exactly is the iterative model? It is the implementation of a software development life cycle (SDLC), which is full of various testing and development methodologies, activities, tools, techniques and more. The iterative model is also a part of SDLC.  

The iterative model is a specific implementation of a software development life cycle that primarily focuses on a simplified implementation that gains more complexity and a broader feature set as it continues on toward the final system is completed. Iterative development is, in short, a way of breaking the software development process of a larger application down into smaller, bite-sized pieces. 

The Iterative Model Process 

The iterative model differs from the traditional waterfall model in that it is more of a cyclical process, rather than a hard step-by-step process of stages. Once the initial planning phase is complete, a handful of other stages are repeated, creating cycles. As each cycle is completed, the software is improved and iterated on.  

The initial stage is a planning stage, used to map out any specific details including hardware or software requirements as well as prep for the other stages to follow. 

The second stage is analysis, which is performed to set in place the database models, business logic and so on that will be necessary for this stage. The design stage also takes place here, wherein technical requirements are established that are necessary to meet any needs determined in the analysis stage.  

Next, implementation and coding processes begin. Any specification, planning and design docs are implemented and coded at this point.  

Fourth is the testing stage after the current build iteration is coded and implemented. These testing procedures are in place to identify any issues or bugs that have shown up.  

Finally, once the previous stages are completed, a thorough evaluation is necessary of all development up to this stage. The team and clients or other parties are able to examine the project and offer feedback regarding what needs to or can change.  

Once these stages are finished, the most recently built iteration of the software, as well as any evaluation feedback, are returned to the planning and development stage at the top for the process to repeat itself over again.  

Iterative Model Advantages 

The majority of software development life cycles have some form of versioning. With the iterative model, it makes versioning easier by ensuring every new iteration is an improved version of its previous iteration. Furthermore, if a new iteration fails, a previous iteration can be implemented or “rolled back” with minimal losses. 

Although it seems like there are a lot of stages to be followed through and repeated with the iterative model, it actually offers a rapid turnaround. Each stage is effectively slimmed down into smaller time frames over time, enabling the life cycle of each iteration to be significantly shorter.  

The iterative model is suitable for agile organizations – especially those with smaller and more agile teams.  

Another benefit of the iterative model is that it is easily adaptable. With frequent and constant iterations flowing out on a regular basis, rapid adaptability is another benefit, enabling companies to adapt to the needs of the project or client rapidly.