Agile Software Development Lifecycle Phases Explained

25 May 2022

Liubomyr Sirskyi

Content Manager

Agile is the general approach to developing quality software used by many teams worldwide. Over 80% of the companies implemented agile, but not all of them have a complete understanding of this process. And it is not surprising because agile has established itself as a group of the most advanced software development methodologies to follow. According to the article in the InformationWeek, agile still has not reached its apogee now. Therefore, the unique set of software development principles continues to evolve with hundreds of companies and gain valuable expertise worldwide (especially among dedicated teams).

However, what is the agile lifecycle and what events are the most widely used? Let's learn more about it.

The Notion of the Agile Software Development

This set of methodologies provides for the joint work in sprints. They can last for one to four weeks instead of delivering a finished digital solution after the development process. During this time, employees release the primary functionality and see how it responds to final users. Based on user feedback, the team plans the next changes in the product.

Plus, constant interaction with the dedicated team allows adapting to changing business and user requirements and creating customer-centred digital software.

The 6 Key Stages of the Agile Lifecycle

The entire lifecycle divides into six steps called agile phases. Let's find out more about them.

Concept

In this case, founders need to define the scope of future work. If the company runs dozens of projects at the same time, they need to prioritise the crucial ones. After that, the founder should organise a meeting with the dedicated team and present the critical needs, required features and the expected deliverables. Experts advise establishing minimal requirements, so you add the remaining ones later. 

Another critical part is setting clear timeframes and the budget for the future project. It will help the founder assess how realistic it is to bring all features to life. 

Inception

It is the second of 6 stages of the agile development life cycle. The founder needs to choose the right people, assign roles in the team and provide all the necessary instruments to start the development.

Then, the dedicated team starts to create a UI simulation and define the architecture of the digital product. The inception phase is always organised immediately before the construction phase. The reason is simple: you need to establish a plan and define the core set of methods and templates for future development activities.

This stage divides into two parts:

  • UI/UX design. In this case, designers should create a mock-up of the user interface and user experience. They also conduct a proper analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors. 
  • The product architecture. The dedicated team discusses the most suitable tools to meet the business requirements (frameworks, containers, programming languages, etc.). 

As a result, you get the team and the software structure. Therefore, you can move on to the next phase. 

Iteration

This phase is also known as development. It is usually the longest part of the agile development life cycle that covers most of the work to execute. The developers cooperate with UI/UX designers to merge all business needs and feedback with code. The main goal is to create the minimum features, while revisions and additional functionality are to implement later. The iteration stage is the foundation of the agile approach, which enables the dedicated team to create a full-fledged solution and improve it to meet the client's needs. 

After the development stage is over, it is time to conduct QA activities, develop the techniсal documentation, and end the iteration. 

Testing

Even though you check the digital product after every sprint, the testing phase orients toward employees that verify that the software performance is flawless. There are different types of testing in the agile life cycle:

  • Unit testing. In this case, the QA team isolates each part of the front-end and back-end infrastructure and checks its performance and functionality.
  • Integration testing. This stage of the QA process focuses on combining different parts of the product to ensure their compatibility. 
  • Acceptance testing. When quality assurance specialists pass this part, they evaluate the digital solution's compliance with the end-user requirements. 
  • System testing. In the final part of the test activities, the team tests all the elements as a single unit. If so, QA employees permit further deployment. 

The specific team does all these actions to check the quality of code and the product on how they follow the business goals. After successfully passing all the testing stages, it is time to go public.  

In addition to agile SDLC phases, there are other SDLC methodologies. Here we compare the most popular software development lifecycle models.

Release

In this case, the QA workers should perform several tests to check the final software performance. Firstly, they will test the code for further release. Moreover, if the testing team finds any bugs, the developers will fix them in the shortest possible time. 

The release stage also covers the user training stage requiring even more technical documents. When the dedicated team ends all the activities, they pass to the final phase. 

Review 

The founder gathers all workers to review the final digital product. All the employees assess the progress in the business requirements implementation, the key points, and the obstacles encountered during all iterations. The founder also asks the dedicated team for feedback and adds it to the list of the following iteration requirements. 

The reviewing phase helps to cope with future challenges as all parties know more about the software development workflow. After all agile phases of a project, the lifecycle starts a new iteration. 

How the Standard Agile Iteration Workflow Looks Like

The traditional software development life cycle usually takes from one to four weeks. The typical workflow looks like this: 

  • Plan needs and requirements for the project
  • Create a digital solution
  • Test the finished product
  • Review the software
  • Collect feedback from the team employees

Remember that each iteration passes the same agile lifecycle as the dedicated team aims to improve the product and develop the top-notch software. But these iterations are short cycles within the entire agile process. 

5 Advanced Agile Events to Implement

After we learn more about the agile SDLC methodology, let's look at the most widely used practices. One of the most widespread agile practices is Scrum, and you can adapt the following events to your project.  

Short Iterations

They help catch up on development progress and may include small features and short meetings. Such an approach also allows to improve the team workflow and adapt to market changes faster and more flexibly.

Sprint/Iteration Planning

The team answers the following questions:

  • What is the goal of the sprint?
  • What is the valuable feature to release at the end?
  • What will be the increment (the latest stable and usable version of the software)?
  • What important business tasks do employees perform?

In other words, the team discusses where it is now and determines the goal and action plan for the coming days.

Daily Meeting

This meeting is intended to determine progress towards the sprint goal (that is, how confident the team is to achieve the sprint goal). Another goal is to discuss the obstacles that prevent this from being done and develop an action plan on how to eliminate them during future agile SDLC phases. 

Sprint/Iteration Review

Speaking of the sprint review, it is the discussion with the team and stakeholders. All parties review the functionality that was done during the sprint. It is also important to collect feedback from stakeholders and improve current requirements accordingly. All data collects into a product backlog that allows you to get software that meets all your needs and requirements.

Retrospectives

This activity aims to look back on the development progress and notice what tasks were done perfectly and not so good. Hence, retrospectives help the dedicated team highlight the possible problems, find ways to avoid them during future agile SDLC phases, and increase their productivity.

All agile software development phases mentioned above are a must for quality communication within a project and building top-notch software. That is why over 80% of dedicated teams implemented these events, and it brings significant results. 

Conclusion

The agile SDLC is a critical model for most dedicated teams that allows them to develop flawlessly working software shortly. This approach also helps meet the challenges of achieving business goals, and the team members can stay productive. However, you should provide them with all the necessary instruments for quality work.
At Rocketech, we know how to implement the most advanced software development methods and templates. You can ask for a dedicated team that will cover all business needs and create first-class software for your project. And if you are ready to reach new heights, contact us and get in the rocket!

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