The spiral software development model is based on risk and helps to accommodate the unique hazards associated with any project. The model encourages teams to adopt elements of multiple other software development process models, including waterfall or incremental. Here we’re going to explore everything you need to know about spiral software development and whether you should ask your software developer to use it, for your project.

The spiral software development model

As we mentioned above, the spiral software development model is risk-driven, and it’s a combination of the iterative model and the waterfall model. It helps to adapt a software development process to increase efficiency. During each phase of the spiral model, a design goal is established. The phase then ends when you, the client reviews the project, your developer will then move on to the next phase.

This model was originally introduced back in 1986 by Barry Boehm in a paper on software engineering. When your software developer uses the spiral model, your project will start with a smaller set of requirements to focus on in the earlier phases. During each phase, functionalities will be added for the next requirements, which eventually leads to the finished application.

The phases of the spiral software development

The spiral model is broken down into various phases, which play a key role in this development process:

  • Planning – The planning phase will include discussing the costs, resources, and schedules that are required for the phase. Communication between the team and stakeholders should be discussed at this time to ensure the process runs smoothly.
  • Risk analysis – Risk analysis is critical before any work takes place to ensure the risk mitigation strategy is planned.
  • Software development and engineering – This part of the process includes coding and deploying the software, which must be fully tested before it’s used by the end-user.
  • Evaluation – Finally, the software must be reviewed and evaluated by you, the client to finish off the project. You can also use this time to review the project from your company’s point of view, discussing topics such as the cost and project timeline. This will offer you valuable feedback for the next phase and future projects.

The benefits of the spiral software development model

Each software development model has its own advantages and disadvantages, which should always be considered before choosing the best option for your project, you can discuss these with your developer. One of the top advantages of the spiral model is that you can make changes or add additional features later on in the project due to the smaller segments the project is broken down into. Due to these smaller phases, you’ll find that it’s easy to stick to your budget as you can more accurately estimate the costs. You’ll also reduce the chance of errors occurring, as you’ll be seeing the project in phases and be able to continuously give feedback to your developer.

One of the biggest advantages of spiral software development is that there’s always time in the process to give feedback as the project progresses. This is incredibly important to ensure you are satisfied with the current progress and can help to avoid issues further down the line which may take a lot of time to rework. Finally, the spiral model allows features to be developed quickly, and added in an orderly manner, whilst building on features in layers during the production process.

Disadvantages of spiral software development

As you can see, there are many reasons why the spiral software development model is a good option for companies today. However, you’ll want to be aware of the risks and disadvantages that come along with using this model. One of the biggest risks companies experience when using the spiral software development model is the risk of going over the budget or allocated timeframe due to the extensive phases involved in the model. This makes it a good option for larger projects, where risk assessment is critical to avoid wasting precious resources during the process.

When should you ask your developer to use the spiral model?

Now that you know about the advantages and disadvantages of the spiral model, you might be wondering when this would be a good development model for your project. It’s generally recommended for larger projects which are medium to high-risk. If you need your project to be released in phases, rather than as a whole, it’s also a good idea as this is a key component of the spiral model.

If you are a client with extremely complex requirements, you’ll find the spiral model to be an excellent option. You won’t have to commit to too much work at one time, allowing you time and flexibility to understand and discuss with your developer your requirements further. This is also applicable if you think you are likely to have changing requirements. Finally, if you feel you can’t currently commit to a long-term project due to the state of your company’s finances or the economic climate, you’ll find this to be a great option for developing your project in chunks.

The spiral software development model is an excellent option for larger projects. If you think this could be a good model for your software system, call our consultant today, who would be happy to discuss the potentiality of the best development model for your software project.