Similar to other types of software development life cycles, the spiral model has its unique characteristics, benefits, and disadvantages.
The spiral approach is based on regular risk tracking on every stage of the project. This way, it becomes clear what obstacles can hinder the team’s success.
Risk analysis requires special knowledge and qualification of the development team members. Thus the spiral model is more suitable for large projects that can cover the costs of top-notch professionals.
The spiral model implies a constant repetition of the basic development stages and risk elimination on each of them. For this iterative nature, the model was called spiral.
There are 4 key stages of the software development life cycle:
Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
In the beginning, team members collect project goals and requirements. In subsequent phases, they can act on customers’ feedback. Continuous communication between the customer and the development team is highly important at this stage.
The development team has to find, assess, and eliminate project risks. Risks are understood as possible conditions, which can prevent the development team from reaching the customer’s goals. It is necessary to foresee and prioritize all expected risks. After that, the development team has to find potential strategies to eliminate the risks that can affect success at the next level. At the end of this stage, a prototype is created. The initial version of the product that is delivered before getting customer feedback is called the Proof of Concept, or POC.
This stage includes the very coding of the software product, followed by verification and testing. At this and the next stages, the product is called the Build. Developers deliver the version to the customer for more detailed feedback and precise requirements.
Developers and project managers evaluate the current results of the project and plan a new stage before the next spiral starts.
The Spiral model comprises the elements of the Waterfall and Prototype models and thus is sometimes called a metamodel. The lifecycle of the real project is more flexible than a theoretical scheme, and there is a possibility to change a previous decision.
The spiral model has its benefits and disadvantages, just like other methods of software development.
Let’s review some of them:
The spiral model is a good decision for high-risk software development projects when it is very important to foresee the costs, there are no definite requirements, and significant changes are possible during development.