Agile Development Cycle. 6 steps to successful project

Nowadays almost all industries are using solutions built using web & mobile development. To provide a high-quality service, each product is developed in 6 stages from requirement analysis to ongoing technical support. The development process is highly organized using one of the modern methodologies called Agile. 

Agile is one of the most simple, yet effective ways to deliver web & mobile experiences. Using an iterative approach, it enables team cooperation on every iteration that are usually two or four weeks in length with fixed completion time. 

Planning and requirements

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” Benjamin Franklin

An idea is what everything starts with. For this idea to be realized into a working product, both requirement analysis and planning should be conducted. Planning is the core stage of product development as it results in determining the scope of the project, its goals, both timeand cost-related issues

To start building problem-solving projects, it’s not enough to write good code and create a native design. You have to start by working out and collecting business requirements. During this stage, the development team gets deeper and understands better several things:

  • What this product will be used for
  • Who will use this product
  • How this product will be used
  • What should be included in the product (user cabinet, chatbot, etc.)

All this information is used to create a product backlog. A backlog is a list of features that are implemented as a part of project development. It enables the team to prioritize tasks and meet all the product requirements depending on business value. A backlog is never complete and is always dynamic as it evolves along with the product.  

During this stage, you get time and resources estimation. The Product Owner provides stakeholders with a pro forma price list stating the hourly rate or fixed price and oriented time to be spent by each team member or time for any feature to be implemented. This data is required to determine project feasibility and get the project approved by stakeholders. 

Complete transparency is ensured as long as stakeholders can track the whole development process by creating a detailed plan using project management tools like Trello, JIRA, or Gantt chart. Backlog, specific tasks, task description, the team member responsible, time to be spent, etc. are represented there.

Design

Design drawn with paints

Design is where product creation begins. This stage can be split into two directions: technical design and UI / UX design.

The first direction starts when the Product Owner analyzes business requirements and introduces these requirements to the team. The team discusses the requirements and finds out the ways to tackle them. This is the right time to choose technologies to be used as well as choose frameworks and libraries. 

UI / UX is about visuality. During this stage, the whole product structure is built and product prototypes and mock-ups are presented to see the product functionality and understand whether these prototypes meet the business requirements. It’s also highly important to conduct a prior analysis of the competitors. These analyses allow you to create the best decisions for stakeholders. 

The prototype is presented to stakeholders, feedback is received and the final version of product design is agreed upon, it’s time to move on to the development stage.

Coding

This stage is all about writing code. The previous design stage and its outcomes are converted into a working product. 

A working product is a measure of progress that’s why the process is divided into short 1- or 2-week iterations. At the end of each iteration, a viable product is presented so the stakeholders may give intermediate feedback to developers. This product is far from the final result but it enables the team to see whether they are moving in the right direction.   

An agile set of principles simplified the development phase in 4 ways:

  • A working product is delivered frequently enough 
  • The team follows top priorities to meet the deadline, scope, and budget of the project
  • Frequent communication between team and stakeholders 
  • Agility resulting in easy adaptation to changing circumstances 

At the end of the development phase, a ready-to-use product should meet all the business requirements.

Testing

Testing indeed is being done in 2 stages: conducting QA (Quality Assurance) tests and giving the product to a client for testing. 

The Quality Assurance team is conducting many tests to detect bugs and is making sure that the final product meets all the business requirements. This stage consists not only of functionality testing but user acceptance testing.

After all the QA tests are conducted, stakeholders test the product by themselves. They want all the original specifications to be met and see whether the product needs additional features to be added. And there will definitely be some iterations to address issues arisen during user acceptance testing. 

Deployment

During the pre-final stage, the product is deployed. This deployment is either for a demo or its end-users. Demo deployment allows stakeholders to carefully use the product before releasing it to a wide market and collect useful feedback. In both situations, it’s important to track bugs and catch them before the final release. 

Long-term support

This is the final phase of the development process. When the product is deployed and is being used by its end-users for some time, the issues may otherwise arise and should be fixed urgently. Furthermore, the product can be updated upon the feedback of end-users on its performance. 

At the same time, stakeholders can realize the need for new features to be implemented and that’s when the whole development process restarts.

Pulling it all together

The Agile development cycle is a structured process consisting of 6 phases. This process nevertheless may vary from one development team to another based on their experience and other factors. The key point is getting your product done and meeting all business requirements, the scope of the project, deadlines, and budget.