Iterative Product Development

November 15, 2013
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The iterative product development involves developing the product in small portions and receiving the customer feedback/review at the end of each portion. This method is particularly useful in software development projects and is one of the basic principles of Scrum methodology. The concept is, more quickly you deliver the product to the user, the quicker you can learn whether the product matched the acceptance criteria and the need of the end user. Scrum follows an iterative and incremental approach to product development, making it possible to incorporate change at any step in the development process. Thus Scrum prevents you from getting into long and indefinite product development life cycle which may go on for a long period without knowing what actually works for the user and what doesn’t.

The major advantage of iterative product development is that it offers sufficient room for accommodating the new needs/necessities without disturbing the whole project. In complex projects, the customers may not have a concrete idea regarding what the end product should look like and what are their actual requirements. The iterative product development model is more flexible as it allows changes requested by the customer can be included as part of the project.

Another benefit of iterative product development is that it offers a steep learning curve for the Development Team members and allows course correction. All the people involved get better understanding of what needs to be delivered as part of the project and also they will be aware of the errors or challenges which they would have come across in the last iteration. Thus this approach also reduces risk and you will be able to produce a working product at the end of each sprint. Scrum projects are completed in an iterative manner delivering value throughout the project lifecycle. In large projects, various cross-functional teams work in parallel across Sprints, delivering potentially shippable solutions at the end of each sprint. After the Sprint is complete, there will be a Sprint review meeting during which the deliverables will be presented to the product owner. The PO may accept or reject the Sprint output based on the Acceptance Criteria. The rejected stories go in to the next sprint.

In iterative product development, the Backlog Grooming and Prioritization are important factors in delivering maximum value to the customer. It’s the responsibility of the PO to ensure that the product backlog items are prioritized based on the value to the customer and the items with more value should go into the sprint early.

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