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A Detailed Guide on Spiral Model! Its Uses, Advantages, and Process

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In the software development world, choosing the right development model is not an easy task. Among the myriad options available, the Spiral Model has emerged as a flexible and iterative approach. The blending elements of both waterfall and iterative models make it more appropriate for the development service.   This guide delves into the intricacies of the Spiral Model, exploring its uses, advantages, and the iterative process it entails.

Understanding the Spiral Model

The Spiral Model, introduced by Barry Boehm in 1986, is a risk-driven software development model. This model is also known as the Meta Model due to its subsumes all the other SDLC models. Its diagrammatic representation also gives it this name. It looks like a spiral with many loops and each loop is called a phase of the software development process.  

The development process in the Spiral model of SDLC begins with a modest set of requirements and progresses through each development phase. The software engineering team adds functionality to meet more requirements in ever-increasing spirals until the application is ready for production. 

It emphasizes flexibility, allowing developers to make incremental releases and refinements at every iteration. The model is particularly well-suited for large, complex projects where risks and uncertainties are inherent.

Use of the Spiral Model

  • Projects in which frequent releases are required.
  • Projects in which adjustments are required at any time. 
  • Long-term projects are not possible due to shifting economic priorities. 
  • Projects that pose medium to high risks. 
  • Projects that require careful cost and risk analysis.
  • Projects that would benefit from developing a prototype. 
  • Projects without clear and complex needs.

Phases Involved in Spiral Model 

  • Planning phase: 

All the required information about the project will be gathered in this phase. Here the requirements include business requirement specifications (BRS), System requirement specifications(SRS), design alteration, etc. will be done in this phase. Cost estimation, scheduling the resources for iteration, etc. also happens in this phase. 

  • Risk Analysis:

Project requirements are prepared on a research and study basis. Many brainstorming sessions are included to figure out the possible potential risks involved with the project. Once the risk has been identified in the next step proper strategies and risk methodologies will be scheduled.

  • Testing Phase: 

In the Testing phase, all the developmental changes will be done. Coding, test development, test execution, test summary report, defect report generation, and many more like done in this phase. 

  • Evaluation Phase:

When the project is ready to go to the next level, the customer can evaluate the tests and give feedback. 

  • 1st Iteration: Activities included here are panning, initial risk analysis, engineering evaluation, requirement gathering, etc. 
  • 2nd Iteration: This phase includes higher-level planning, detailed risk analysis, and evaluation strategies. 
  • 3rd Iteration: This phase includes tests for coding, tool selection, and resource allocation, as per the project requirement testing. 
  • 4th Iteration: This is the phase where the customer plays the key role. The customer here evaluates the entire process and expresses their opinion regarding it. 

Steps of the Spiral Model 

  1. The spiral model steps can be generalized as follows:
  2. In detail defining the new system requirements at first. This usually entails interviewing a large number of users who represent all external or internal users, as well as various parts of the existing system. 
  3. A rough design is developed for the new system. 
  4. From the preliminary design, the prototype of the new system is constructed. It is mostly a scale-down system and represents characteristics of the final product. 
  5. The second prototype is evolved by a fourfold procedure
  • Evaluating the prototype in terms of its strengths, risks, and weaknesses. 
  • Define the needs for the second prototype.
  • Planning and designing the second prototype 
  • Constructing and testing the second prototype 
  1. If the risk factor is deemed too great, the entire project can be aborted. Because the risk factors may involve app development solutions cost overruns, operating-cost miscalculation, and factors like the less-satisfactory final product. 
  2. The existing prototype should be evaluated in the same manner as the previous one. If a requirement arises, another prototype will develop from it according to the fourfold procedure. 
  3. The preceding steps are iterated when the customer is satisfied and the refined prototype represents the final desired product. 
  4. Based on the refined prototype, the final system is constructed. 
  5. The final system is thoroughly evaluated and tested. Regular maintenance is carried out as a routine to prevent large-scale failures and to minimize the downtime. 
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Advantages of the Spiral Model:

  • Software is created early in the software lifecycle. 
  • Managing risk is a major advantage of the Spiral model. It is the best development model to follow because of its risk analysis and risk management in every phase. 
  • In this model, one can easily change requirements. At a later stage can be incorporated accurately. We can say here requirements can be flexibly utilized. Here additional functionality can be added at a later date. 
  • It is an appropriate paradigm for huge, complex projects. 
  • It is one of those models, which is good for customer satisfaction. You can involve customers in the development of products at the software development early stage. 
  • This model provides strong approval and documentation control.
  • High-risk projects search this model for implementation. Where business seems to be unstable there this model is very much suitable. A highly customized product can be developed through this model. 

Disadvantages of Spiral Model 

  • As this model is expensive, most small projects don’t like to use it. 
  • This model holds a complex process in comparison to other SDLC models. 
  • This model is too dependable on risk analysis and requires highly specific expertise. 
  • Difficulty in time management. At the start of the project, the number of phases was unknown, so it became difficult to estimate the time. 
  • Spiral may go on indefinitely.
  • One cannot say at an early stage when the project will end. 
  • This model is not suitable for low-risk projects. 
  • In this model, it is very difficult to define the project’s objective and verifiable milestones. A large number of intermediate stages need excessive documentation. 

Final Thoughts 

In the world of software development, the Spiral Model stands out as a pragmatic and adaptive approach. Its emphasis on risk management, flexibility, and client involvement makes it a compelling choice for large, complex projects. By understanding the intricacies of the Spiral Model and its iterative process, software development companies can navigate uncertainties more effectively, delivering successful outcomes that meet both client expectations and project objectives. As technology continues to advance, the Spiral Model remains a valuable tool in the software development arsenal, ensuring projects not only survive but thrive in an ever-changing landscape.

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