Information Systems Development
One last methodology to discuss is a relatively new concept taken from the business bestseller The Lean Startup by Eric Reis. Lean focuses on taking an initial idea and developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The MVP is a working software application with just enough functionality to demonstrate the idea behind the project. Once the MVP is developed, the development team gives it to potential users for review. Feedback on the MVP is generated in two forms. First, direct observation and discussion with the users and second, usage statistics gathered from the software itself. Using these two forms of feedback, the team determines whether they should continue in the same direction or rethink the core idea behind the project, change the functions, and create a new MVP. This change in strategy is called a pivot. Several iterations of the MVP are developed, with new functions added each time based on the feedback, until a final product is completed.
The biggest difference between the iterative and non-iterative methodologies is that the full set of requirements for the system are not known when the project is launched. As each iteration of the project is released, the statistics and feedback gathered are used to determine the requirements. The lean methodology works best in an entrepreneurial environment where a company is interested in determining if their idea for a program is worth developing.