An iteration, in the context of software development and Agile methodologies, refers to a time-boxed development cycle during which a team works on a specific set of tasks or user stories. It is a fundamental concept used in various Agile frameworks, including Scrum and Kanban, to manage and deliver work in a structured and incremental manner.

Key characteristics of an iteration:

  1. Time-Boxed: Similar to a Sprint in Scrum, an iteration has a fixed duration, typically ranging from one to four weeks. The length of the iteration remains consistent throughout the project.
  2. Focused Work: During an iteration, the team concentrates on completing a predefined set of work items, often selected from the backlog based on priority and team capacity.
  3. Potentially Shippable Increment: The goal of each iteration is to produce a potentially shippable product increment. At the end of the iteration, the team delivers a fully functioning and tested portion of the software that could be released to end-users.
  4. Incremental Development: Iterations build on previous iterations, allowing the product to evolve incrementally with each cycle, integrating new features and improvements.
  5. Continuous Feedback: Agile teams embrace continuous feedback during iterations. Regular meetings, such as Daily Stand-ups, Sprint Reviews (in Scrum), or Kanban Cadences, facilitate communication and adaptability.
  6. Adaptability and Flexibility: Iterations enable teams to adapt to changing requirements, market conditions, and feedback more effectively.

While the term “iteration” is commonly used in Scrum, other Agile frameworks might use different terms for a similar concept. For example, in Kanban, iterations are often referred to as “cadences,” where the team performs regular reviews and retrospectives without the strict time-boxing characteristic of Sprints.

Overall, iterations provide Agile teams with a structured approach to managing their work, fostering a rhythm that promotes collaboration, predictability, and continuous improvement throughout the development process.

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