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Characteristics of Adaptive Software Development
  • Last Updated : 05 Nov, 2020

Adaptive Software Development (ASD) is a software development process which is considered as a direct advanced extension of an earlier agile framework Rapid Application Development (RAD). It has been proposed by Jim Highsmith and Sam Bayer. It is a cyclic process with the phase name reflects adaptability to changing demands, requirements, and market needs. It is used as an ideal technique for building complex software and systems.

Adaptive Software Development is similar to Rapid Application Development (RAD). In Adaptive Software Development, no preplanned steps are followed or any traditional life cycle is followed rather it is based on constant change, re-evaluation, and evolving products with lightweight planning and continuous learning.

Characteristics of Adaptive Software Development :
Adaptive Software Development (ASD) has 6 basic characteristics they are :

1. Mission Driven
2. Feature Based
3. Iterative
4. Time boxed
5. Risk driven
6. Change Tolerant

Now let’s discuss the basic characteristics of Adaptive Software Development by analyzing one by one.

1. Mission Driven –



It generally happens with development team initially that requirements are fuzzy and uncertain but overall mission that guides team is rightly expressed. In beginning, this mission works as a boundary of exploration having no fixed destination but slowly directs development team to reach the destination by fulfilling all changed requirements, demands, and market needs. And the more interesting fact is that in each development cycle the activities are justified against overall project mission.

2. Feature Based –

In Adaptive Software Development, all activities which are performed not task-based rather those are based on application features and the focus are on developing working software and delivering a required product. In each iteration, customer’s requirements are added to product as new features and in the last, a good product is expected as a result.

3. Iterative –

Adaptive Software Development is based on iterative processes. The new features are added in each iteration. This follows the principle of constant change and re-evaluation. It does not do right for the first time rather is redoes the development repeatedly by taking feedbacks as input and working on those and again setting right direction for further development. So it is based on a continuous feature addition process with an aim of building complex software solution iteratively and giving results in the end.

4. Time Boxed –

Time boxed in the Adaptive Software Development process refers not to use time deadlines incorrectly rather it is about setting fixed delivery times for iterations and projects minimally and greatly focusing and forcing a good work environment to get work finished when change rates are so high and the environment looks like uncertain.

5. Risk Driven –



In Adaptive Software Development, in each iteration new challenges come and the process aims to solve high-risk items/activities quickly. So in this, the adaptive iterations are identified and analyzed with critical risks and also evaluated as well.

6. Change Tolerant –

As we discussed Adaptive Software Development is based on constant change, re-evaluation, and evolving products with lightweight planning and continuous learning. So this process takes continuous changes as an advantage and welcomes it. It does not make changes as problems rather it takes the changes as new challenges.

Advantages of Adaptive Software Development :

  • Useful for rapid and complex software product development.
  • Easy software incremental adjustment
  • Focus on end-users, meeting requirements, and fulfilling demands
  • Allows on-time delivery with maximum customer satisfaction
  • Provides high transparency between developers and clients
  • Reduced vulnerabilities and bugs as undergoes multiple testing

Disadvantages of Adaptive Software Development :

  • Working in an uncertain environment is challenging
  • Proceeding only with mission needs broad exploration and constant focus
  • Requires high user/client involvement
  • Requires testing into each iteration which increases the cost
  • Frequent changes undergo with less documentation
  • Requires strict time commitment between different teams involved in project

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