What Is an Iterative Process in Business?

The traditional project management method may not be as effective for projects that include a significant software component because the requirements may be vague and changeable. Alternatively, you can use the agile project management method based on an iterative process. Here is more about it. 

Iteration in an agile business project management

Agile project management is a project planning approach in which the team constantly adapts their product to user feedback. Teams often used in software development complete and release a project piece by piece and update each version as they work. The benefits of agile management in business include faster product development and better response to market trends and feedback. This method is a reasonably iterative and periodic process, during which developers and project participants actively work together to understand the scope, identify what needs to be implemented and prioritize functionality.

Agile project management divides the completion of a project into smaller units called iterations or sprints. Each iteration is a development cycle that typically lasts from a few days to a few weeks. An agile approach to project management includes the following steps:

  • The team completes and releases the iteration.
  • Team members, project stakeholders, and customers test, review, and critically evaluate the iteration.
  • The team uses this feedback to guide the next step of the project.
  • The team starts the next iteration, repeating this process as often as necessary until they decide the project is complete.
  • The goal is to release parts of the project on a continuous schedule and continually make improvements. Agile project management practices help ensure the success of one part of a project before moving on to the next and help companies launch projects on time and budget.

The peculiarities of the iterative process

To meet the customer’s requirements on time, the unified process is divided into phases consisting of iterations, so the process is also called iterative. An iterative approach in software development is the execution of work in parallel with the continuous analysis of the results obtained and the adjustment of previous stages of work. Each iteration goes through a cycle of significant work and brings developers closer to the final goal: creating a system model and its software implementation. During iterations, intermediate modules are created that are necessary for the successful completion of the project, and the version of the software system that implements a specific set of functions increases from iteration to iteration.

So, the basis of the iterative approach is the continuous analysis of the work performed, the subsequent design, and the physical embodiment of the design results. An iterative approach puts the team in a more predictable and repeatable direction.

The benefits of an iterative approach are:

  • leveling the impact of severe risks in the early stages of the project, while it can still be done at minimal cost;
  • the ability to organize fruitful feedback with future end-users in order to create a system that meets their needs;
  • focus on the most critical areas of the project;
  • continuous iterative testing of the final product, which allows evaluating the success of the entire project as a whole;
  • early detection of inconsistencies between requirements, models, and program code;
  • more uniform loading of project participants;
  • effective use of accumulated experience;
  • a real assessment of the current state of the project and, as a result, greater confidence of customers and direct participants in its successful completion.