Demystifying Iterative Development

Project managers or developers often confuse the meaning or use of the terms incremental, evolutionary, or iterative. Incremental, iterative, and evolutionary development are in fact the same thing. They execute all project phases (i.e., design, build) more than once. Whereas linear development (i.e., SDLC) is not. On any project, team members must understand the difference in these terms because they can define the future course of the methodology being selected or proposed on the next project. Iterative development adds agility to your project. For example, if you start a project and the executive sponsor informs you to follow an iterative approach, would you know what the sponsor meant? The following analogy best describes the differences in terminology:

Iterative. When building a house, the first iteration of the house is torn down, redesigned, and the second iteration is built from scratch. The emphasis is on re-doing the project. In the construction industry, this can be impractical and expensive; but in the information technology industry, this approach is common.

Incremental. When building a house, we start off with a basic design, and then incrementally add more rooms to the house. The emphasis is on adding to the project or expanding it. In addition, incremental models are best used to do a phased delivery to clients (e.g., release 1, release 2). This approach is more orientated to formal projects such as construction projects; information technology projects also use this approach as a dynamic way of delivering projects to clients.

The main difference between the iterative and incremental approaches is that you can still live with the incrementally built house, but the iterative house that has been torn down needs rebuilding.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment