I have learned that an agile application is done by dividing the development process in form of sprints. How the sprints different from spiral model development? Is there an minimal sprint count for a particular project as constraint?

  • Duplicates: stackoverflow.com/questions/253789/… TL;DR Agile is a spiral model of development, but it is also much more. Dec 31, 2013 at 16:49
  • Actually, you are wrong, Agile is not a spiral model. First, Agile is a way of working, not a software development model. If you refer to Scrum then the differences are: there is no risk management phase in Scrum, no prototyping either. The requirements don't change in each iteration, they are "handled" separately by the PO. The common thing: both work with "iterations".
    – Zsolt
    Dec 31, 2013 at 17:30
  • 1
    @Zsolt I understand the point you're trying to make (and agree to an extent), but, I was just summarising the accepted answer from the stack overflow question that I think this exactly duplicates this one. I guess it would be be more accurate to say that both the spiral and agile methods are iterative/incremental development methodologies. Spiral pre-dates agile. Dec 31, 2013 at 20:07
  • @DaveHillier, regardless what we think the old (waterfall, sipral, iterative, etc) models had a positive or negative on the Agile movement, and it can happen that the authors of Scrum were familiar with Boehm's original paper ;-)
    – Zsolt
    Jan 1, 2014 at 11:29
  • "Agile" is not a framework. It's a set of values and principles. To avoid closure of this question, you should address what you've already researched, why that doesn't answer your question(s), and then narrow the question to a single, answerable question rather than an open-ended, compare-and-contrast one that is unlikely to elicit a canonical answer.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Jul 24, 2022 at 16:48

2 Answers 2


Agile is not a method, it is an approach towards software development. However, Scrum is a methodology and it is comparable to the Spiral Model. Both have test, plan, and evaluation phases, however Scrum lacks the risk management (when people attack Scrum that is their best move).

The Spiral Model doesn't say much about the length of an iteration - there is not iteration per say in the Model but you can interpret one "circle" as an iteration.

Experts recommend the Spiral Model for long projects that has high risk - the model highly depends on risk management.

In Scrum, there is no such thing as a minimal Sprint count. A project is done, when the customer accepts it. It can happen after one Sprint (very unlikely, but can happen), or after a thousand.


Look beyond just the sprints

Agile is an umbrella term used to describe a general approach to software development. There are many agile methods including Scrum, XP and Kanban. However, they all emphasize responding quickly to change, frequent deliveries of working software, close customer collaboration.

I don't know the specifics of the Spiral model of development that you practice. In order to understand how it is different from Agile, you should look beyond just the sprints:

  1. Do you start with a requirements document? And do you have a change control process if requirements change? Agile is designed to respond to change. Typically changes are welcome prior to the start of the sprint.
  2. Do you do up-front design? Agile tries to limit the design to what is needed to convert the stories to deployable code within the sprint. As the sprints progress plan to refactor the code as needed.
  3. Do you have Product Owners / customers working with the development team daily throughout the project? Agile requires such close interaction and feedback.

There is some previous discussion on Stack Overflow on Agile vs Spiral that you may find helpful as well.

To answer your specific question - no there is no minimal sprint count for a project in agile. But, sprints should be short to permit frequent inspection and adaptation. And at the end of each sprint, code should be developed, tested and demo'd to customers in fully ready for deployment condition. Here is some additional info on sprints/iterations.

  • Does not answer the question; you admit you're not familiar with the Spiral Model (google for Boehm's Spiral Model). Dec 31, 2013 at 16:53
  • Kanban is not an Agile methodology it is a completely different management method.
    – Zsolt
    Dec 31, 2013 at 17:33
  • 1
    Kanban IS an Agile methodology. It is NOT Scrum, but it is an Agile methodology.
    – MarkTO
    Apr 16, 2021 at 15:10

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