Another model for staged development

Building a successful ecosystem is highly dependent on the development model. The right model can encourage teamwork, increase efficiency, and lead to outstanding outcomes. Given the fast-paced digital world, our preferred model is Scrum. However, we also offer Waterfall, Evolutionary, and the Hybrid model. In this context, let's delve deeper into the Evolutionary model. What is it? How does it work and compare?

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Defining Evolutionary

The Evolutionary model is a type of development life cycle model that combines both an iterative as well as an incremental approach. It's important to understand that it is best suited for large-scale projects. Instead of delivering the entire software product at once, the Evolutionary model divides the development into smaller, incremental stages. Users can receive and test the product at the end of each cycle. This allows for changes to be made based on user feedback and enables the application (or ecosystem) to evolve over time.

Illustration of the Evolutionary Model: intermittent programming
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To some extent, the Evolutionary method can be seen as a series of smaller traditional Waterfall projects. In the Waterfall model, the software development process is also divided into distinct stages, with each stage completed before moving on to the next. In the Evolutionary model, however, the stages are smaller and the product is delivered incrementally to the customer.

Preparation is pivotal

With the Evolutionary model you need to have your homework done before you start. You require a clear understanding of customer needs and sufficient time to consider the limitations and constraints that may impact the project's timeline. It's important to have this information well-defined before starting the project so that the development team can effectively plan and execute the project.

Pros of Evolutionary

  1. Incremental delivery
    The model allows for the incremental delivery of functional software, so that the customer can start using the system as soon as possible.
  2. Early feedback
    The model provides early feedback from stakeholders, which helps to identify and correct problems early in the development process.
  3. Flexibility
    The model is flexible and allows for changes to be made during the development process based on customer feedback.
  4. Improved quality
    The customer is able to test the system and provide feedback, which helps to improve the overall quality of the final product.
  5. Reduced risk
    When the development process is broken into smaller, clearly defined, incremental stages, it reduces the risk of failure - or at least to fail big.

Cons of Evolutionary

  1. Initial preparation
    The model requires more preparation and planning compared to other development models, which can increase the overall time and cost of the project.
  2. Complexity
    The model can be complex and difficult to manage, especially for large projects with multiple stakeholders and requirements.
  3. Resource intensive
    The model requires a significant amount of resources, including manpower, time and financial resources, to implement effectively.
  4. Dependence on feedback
    The model is dependent on receiving regular and accurate feedback from stakeholders, which can be difficult to obtain in some cases.
  5. Lack of agility
    The model is less agile (compared to Scrum) because it follows a traditional, rigid, sequential development process. This makes it less suitable for projects with a high level of complexity.

Evolutionary is not Scrum

The Evolutionary and Scrum models have a similarity. Both aim to deliver working software incrementally and frequently. That said, they are different. Scrum is an agile framework used for managing and completing complex projects. It emphasizes the importance of teamwork, collaboration, decisions on the go and frequent delivery of a working application. Where the Evolutionary model focuses on delivering smaller increments of the application, the Scrum model focuses on delivering a complete, functional product at the end of each sprint.

Another difference is the programming in both models. Scrum development has a repeating rhythm of planned sprints, typically 2-3 weeks long at New Story, after which a potentially shippable product is delivered. Evolutionary development, on the other hand, is characterized by irregular, intermittent programming as the development team has to wait for customer feedback - and has to adjust plans and priorities accordingly.

A project example
A suitable product for Evolutionary development would be a community-building platform that consists of separate modules. Over time new models emerge or evolve. The platform typically has complex requirements and multiple stakeholders. The boxed modules can be delivered and tested incrementally.

Does the Evolutionary model sound right?

Please reach out to us. We look forward to discussing your project in detail to find out if the Evolutionary model fits your purpose. Whatever the outcome, New Story will adapt to your needs.

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