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Iterative and incremental life cycles are generally preferred when an organization needs to manage changing objectives and scope, to reduce the complexity of a project, or when the partial

delivery of a product is beneficial and provides value for one or more stakeholder groups without impact to the final deliverable or set of deliverables. Large and complex projects are frequently

executed in an iterative fashion to reduce risk by allowing the team to incorporate feedback and lessons learned between iterations. Adaptive Life Cycles
Adaptive life cycles (also known as change-driven or agile methods) are intended to respond to high levels of change and ongoing stakeholder involvement. Adaptive methods are also iterative

and incremental, but differ in that iterations are very rapid (usually with a duration of 2 to 4 weeks) and are fixed in time and cost. Adaptive projects generally perform several processes in each

iteration, although early iterations may concentrate more on planning activities. The overall scope of the project will be decomposed into a set of requirements and work to be performed,

sometimes referred to as a product backlog. At the beginning of an iteration, the team will work to determine how many of the highest priority items on the backlog list can be delivered within

the next iteration. At the end of each iteration, the product should be ready for review by the customer. This does not mean that the customer is required to accept delivery, just that the

product should not include unfinished, incomplete, or unusable features. The sponsor and customer representatives should be continuously engaged with the project to provide feedback on

deliverables as they are created and to ensure that the product backlog reflects their current needs. Adaptive methods are generally preferred when dealing with a rapidly changing

environment, when requirements and scope are difficult to define in advance, and when it is possible to define small incremental improvements that will deliver value to stakeholders.