What is the Agile software development life cycle?

Agile is an approach within software development that focuses on creating high levels of collaboration with tech clients and optimisation of all processes for efficiency. It is a modern approach to development that has risen steadily in popularity across the world. Many clients may specifically seek out an Agile team for their projects due to its reputation for success.

Within the Agile software approach, there is the Agile software development life cycle. This is the model which gives structure to the approach and informs how Agile projects are carried out.

As Agile is both popular and successful, knowing how an Agile project works is interesting and essential information for many. In this blog, we are going to shed some light specifically on the Agile software development life cycle and how it works. 

Let’s start by defining the structure of the life cycle via its phases.  

The phases of the Agile life cycle

There are six distinct stages to the Agile software development life cycle, which are as follows…


In this first stage of the Agile SDLC, requirements, documentation, and plans are set out. What the client wants for their project is carefully considered and used to plan the project ahead. Time, cost, and deadlines may also be considered and decided upon at this stage. 


In the inception stage, a software development company will create their team for the job. Team members will be assigned roles and tasks, and the project will be more finely planned.


The iteration stage of an Agile software development life cycle is the most important stage of all. The majority of work will take place within this stage and it is generally quite a lengthy one. We will talk about this stage in more detail in the next section when we discuss the Agile workflow created for the iteration stage.


The release phase includes quality assurance and testing to prepare the product for release to end users. One final iteration is carried out after this testing to ensure the product is ready for final production.


At this stage, the product is live and being used by its target audience. However, the software development team’s job is not done. During this phase, the team will provide ongoing support and will maintain the system. They will check for bugs and flaws, and make sure that the system is running as it should. They may also include updates, upgrades, and new features when necessary.


Finally, the last stage of the life cycle may occur when a product needs to be replaced or it has become obsolete. The software development company may provide support here in terms of closing down the system, removing customer support, and helping with any migration of data to new systems. Even at the end of the product’s life, there is still work to be done.

The Agile software development workflow

The most important stage within the Agile SDLC is that of iteration. Agile projects go through many iterations, usually lasting about 2-4 weeks with fixed completion dates, in which they go through a cycle of developing, receiving feedback, and re-developing to consider this feedback. This cycle is the main premise of the Agile approach.

Each iteration follows a specific workflow which consists of the following five stages: 


  • Requirements: The requirements for this next iteration of the project are defined using feedback from users and stakeholders, alongside the product and sprint backlog


  • Development: Design and development takes place

  • Testing: Testing of everything created in this iteration occurs

  • Delivery: What has been developed and tested is delivered into production for the users and/or stakeholders to use and evaluate


  • Feedback: Any feedback gathered is pulled together and reviewed, ready to be used to structure the next iteration

What are the benefits of following an Agile software development life cycle?

The benefits involved with a software development company using this life cycle can include…

Transparency for and communication with clients: Frequent iterations involving feedback means that clients know exactly what is happening throughout their project. 

Deadlines and schedules in advance: Regimented sprints allow clients to know their deadlines and schedules for delivery in advance. This makes it easier to plan projects and stay productive throughout.

Strong user and client focus: Agile approaches focus strongly on the requirement and preferences of both users and clients. The feedback-heavy approach ensures a higher chance of users and clients being happy with the turnout of the project. 


Increased overall quality of product: With everything that is involved with the Agile SDLC, you can expect an increased quality of the product delivered to the client. It is a structured, well-thought-out and collaborative approach to development that ensures the best quality results. 


Long-term quality and success: The ongoing software support and customer migration offered in the last stages of the Agile SDLC allow long-term quality and success to be offered to the client involved. 

Who is an Agile approach right for?

The Agile approach to software development is beneficial for many different clients and their projects. It is a successful and modern approach to development that consistently ensures that clients are getting exactly what they want from their projects. Such a strong focus on incorporating feedback means you can consistently guide the software development company you are working with on what you want and whether or not this project is meeting your expectations.

Agile projects can be long-term, with their attention to detail and repeated iterations. So they might be best suited to those with long-term goals and bigger projects. They will also require clients that are able to dedicate the necessary time to providing feedback and being involved with development meetings. 

It is an approach that requires time and effort from both sides but it is certainly worth it in the end. Agile projects are known for their high success rate and boom in efficiency. 

If that sounds like what you are looking for, an Agile team should be on your radar for your next project. 

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