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What Is Continuous Design?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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Continuous design is an approach to making software and other systems in which the developers make up the design and coding as they go. This is in contrast to traditional software design, in which the design is made and then implemented. One advantage to continuous design is that it typically is easier for developers to add necessary features on the spot, and they can adapt to problems. Another advantage is that this design method also can be used to decrease risk if the client is shown the progressing software and providing input along the way.

When continuous design is used to make software, the developers have decided to make the software without a static design. This does not mean there is no design work done beforehand, because some programs made with this method do have some design work already done. The main point of this design method is that the design is malleable and can be changed during programming. Developers also are able to add or change features during production.

Before continuous design, a static design method was commonly used. With this method, an entire software design plan was made before any coding occurred. Despite any difficulties during production, the developers would continue to follow the design. While some changes may be made with static design, these typically are serious changes that come about because the current design framework is not compatible with the client’s or developers’ needs.

Developers who work on continuous design are able to change a software design as the project goes forward, which presents several coding and programming advantages. If new features are needed, either because of the client’s orders or because it will greatly benefit the system, then developers are open to add these features, even if the software design has to change. Any problems that come up during production with continuous design usually can be fixed more efficiently, because the developers can alter the design as needed. With a static design method, problems would be fixed in a way that best preserved the original design.

This also can be used as a risk management maneuver if the developers are making a program for a client. The production is going on dynamically, so the team can show the client portions of the program to see if he approves of the features or framework. If not, then the program can be easily fixed. In a static design approach, the program would be shown to the client after it was finished, making it much harder to deal with these problems.

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