Complete Guide: Agile Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)


Agile Software Development Life Cycle (Agile SDLC) is a big change from the traditional software development cycle. It front-loads the work for software developers and allows them to work more efficiently.

A Complete Overview of Agile Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)

Today, we’ll cover what it is, how it works, and how you can integrate it into your agile team’s workflow.

What is Agile SDLC?

Agile Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a combination of iterative and incremental process models. It focuses on process adaptability and can offer rapid delivery for maximum customer satisfaction through an iterative approach.

In a regular agile software development life cycle, the entire development is broken down into regularly iterated cycles known as sprints. These sprints produce small incremental builds and provide them in iterations, where each iteration lasts one to three weeks.

For every sprint, cross-functional teams must work on several aspects to deliver high-quality software. These include:

  • Planning
  • Requirements Analysis
  • Design
  • Coding
  • Unit Testing and
  • Acceptance Testing

Agile SDLC Benefits

Here are reasons why you should apply agile SDLC for your in-house development team:

  • The project gets divided into short iterations that are fully transparent
  • The change process becomes more flexible
  • The risks of software development are highly reduced
  • The first version of the product can be released quickly
  • The development process utilizes the correctness of functional requirement
  • Customer can be directly involved with the development process
  • The product quality improves significantly
  • The product ensures higher rates of user satisfaction
  • The Product owner has more control of the development cycle
  • Predictability for the product is improved
  • The product can be continuously improved

Phases of Agile Software Development Lifecycle

Agile SDLC has six different phases, each with its purpose. Sometimes, an application development life cycle may not go through all the phases, but it depends on the development needs of the entire project.

1. Concept

Concept creation is the earliest phase of agile SDLC phases, where the product owner determines the scope of the product. Then they proceed to list their priorities with detailed documentation. To make the process most efficient, the product owner needs to ask the following questions:

  • What is the product trying to achieve?
  • Which features can it support?
  • Which features are a must?
  • Which features are not as important as the others?

Agile development starts with minimal requirements. With the primary scope and necessary features established, the product owner can calculate the costs for development and deadlines.

2. Inception

Once the basic outlines have been laid out, it’s time to choose the software development team. The goal of any product owner should be to work with only the best of teams while providing them with all the tools of the trade as necessary. As for hiring, there are three ways you can do it if you’re the product owner.

  • Freelancers: This is a widely accepted option with the lowest cost. Though you need to verify if the teammates are certified for agile, finding the right professionals with communications skills makes this much easier.
  • In-House Development Team: A more traditional approach of creating a team of employees who work with you physically within the workspace.
  • Outsourcing Agencies: The most cost-efficient method of the modern market. The only downside is finding a trustworthy agency that offers quality.

Once the hiring process is complete, the team starts by creating a mockup of the product to design the user interface while building the product architecture.

3. Iteration

Also known as Construction, iteration is the longest of all the phases of agile SDLC. This is where the development takes place.

The major scope of work is completed within this phase, where the software designers collaborate with the UX designers to create a product that complies with all the software requirements while achieving maximum customer satisfaction.

The team also considers customer feedback during this phase to create and publish improved product versions. After every iteration, the product is thoroughly tested for any bugs or errors that can stop the key features from working as intended.

4. Release

In this phase, the product goes through detailed tests performed by the Quality Assurance (QA) Team. The tests ensure product functionality and ready the product for public release.

If QA finds any product with bugs, it goes back to the development team for further checking. Once the product functions as intended, the product owner releases the product and completes the phase.

5. Maintenance

The developers continue to work on the software so that it continues to serve the customers seamlessly. The developer team also offers additional user training for new users on using the product, making the user onboarding process easier.

New iterations can come in with upgrades and additional features that can make the user experience more convenient for both new and old users.

6. Retirement

The retirement of a software product can happen for two main reasons:

  • Another new product has substituted the software solution
  • The software has become outdated and incompatible with the organization

In this case, the software team will inform the product users that the product is obsolete, has stopped functioning properly, and will be put to retirement as a result. Before removing support for existing software, the developers must complete the remaining end-of-life activities.

If a substitute system is placed for the users, they will be migrated to the new system before the old one is retired.

Agile SDLC Workflow

The agile SDLC is two to four weeks long, and the completion date is estimated before completion. The entire agile SDLC workflow has 5 steps.

  1. Requirement Planning For Sprints
  2. Product Development Through Sprints
  3. Software Test & Sprint Review
  4. Iteration Delivery With Sprint Retrospectives
  5. Feedback incorporation.

The development team can repeat these steps over and over until the final product has reached the desired stage.

How To Integrate Agile SDLC In Your Workflow

1. Prepare Your Team For Complete Migration

To start, you must start by notifying the entire team about the agile approach you are about to take with your product development. The best way to introduce everyone to this change is with visual information, where you present detailed illustrations of the agile SDLC model for the team to grasp the agile thought process.

It just doesn’t concern the software developers. Customers and other stakeholders should know that your team also leverages agile SDLC.

2. Comprehend Agile Principles Before Migrating

You and your team should take your time to study the Agile manifesto before your team migrates to the Agile SDLC workflow. The agile methodology requires a company-wide change to adapt to, and your entire organization needs to be on the same page.

The transition process will require a lot of time since all the project members may not be familiar with the flow of agile software development.

3. Pick The Agile Framework That Suits Your Team

There are various iterations of the agile frameworks. Before making your choice, you need to consider the following:

  • Complexity
  • Needs
  • Requirements
  • Scale
  • Targets
  • Workflow

You can choose from any of the following agile SDLC methods:

  • Scrum
  • Lean
  • Kanban
  • Crystal
  • Extreme Programming
  • Feature-Driven Development (FDD)
  • Dynamic System Development Method (DSDM)

It’s best to study them all and then apply the one most compatible with your project.

4. Create & Optimize A Product Backlog

A product backlog is vital for any development since it contains the features and their priority.

The developer team must collaborate with customers and stakeholders to create the perfect backlog. It ensures that the developers note and prioritize the right features and user stories.

5. Plan Your Initial Sprint

Before you’re instructing your team to take on the development tasks, you must plan for the next sprint the team is about to perform.

A well-planned sprint will always achieve its goals by optimizing the development approach.

6. Hold Regular Meetings

Agile teams flourish better with regular communication, and the best way to maintain frequent communication between team members is through daily meetings.

Plan team retrospective meetings in regular intervals to help the team communicate and regain their focus during the development phase. The following three questions should be the focus of each meeting:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What are you planning to do today?
  • Are there any challenges in your current task?

7. Verify The Current Iteration With Stakeholders

After an iteration has been deployed, verifying the iteration with your stakeholders is a must. Once the stakeholders approve the current iteration, it validates and concludes the sprint.

If the iteration is rejected, the specialists must refine the product before the upcoming sprint.

8. Assess Software Quality By Checking Your Sprint

It’s best to take inventory of each sprint after they’re done. When you assess the impact of the sprints, you understand the effectiveness of your sprint, and in turn, you understand the quality of your software from work.

Disadvantages of Agile SDLC

Despite the huge advantages agile SDLC brings to the table, there are a few downsides:

  • The development team may not be efficient enough to adapt to the process.
  • The new requirements may conflict with the existing architecture.
  • High chance for the project to cross the preset deadline with further changes.
  • Final cost estimation can be difficult.
  • There is no defined requirement.

To Wrap It All Up

The agile software development lifecycle utilizes all the ideals of the agile manifesto to offer a completed product to the customers and stakeholders. It ensures maximum customer satisfaction in the process.

The Agile SDLC model can take a lot of expertise to adapt to, but it is the best method to stay competitive in the current market, regardless of the industry.

Planning to utilize this exceptional approach to software development for your next project? Impala Intech is ready to offer you a helping hand!

What Is the Agile Manifesto?

The agile manifesto is a detailed document containing all the core principles of agile methodology, and all agile models follow this manifesto.

What Are the Agile Frameworks?

An agile framework is a specific approach to a software development scenario using the agile methodology.

What Is the Purpose of the Sprint Planning Meeting?

A Sprint planning meeting is held to assign team roles during the sprint and define the objectives of the sprint.

What Is the Role of User Stories in Agile Software Development?

User stories help the development team members to determine the features to include in the final product.

What Is the Purpose of Retrospectives?

Team retrospective meetings help the developers reflect on their past mistakes and improve the next iteration based on the reflections.


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