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What is an iteration?

Definition: An iteration is a time slot when team members with different expertise work simultaneously on a section of a bigger project. Rather than dividing the tasks among individuals, the end goal is for the team to work together on a task, test it, and adjust it numerous times during this time slot.

Examples of iteration 

  1. Product management

Iteration in product management is present when launching new features or versions of a product. 

Instead of doing the design, then the development, and finally the testing of the whole version, the team works on a specific feature first. After testing and gathering feedback, the team creates a product version tailored to customers' needs.

  1. Marketing

Iteration in marketing is when a designer, copywriter, and Ads manager think of and test different ads to see which one has better metrics.

Another example is when email marketers do A/B testing and send two campaigns to see which one has a higher open rate.

  1. Business development

A business can test its development channels and see if cold calls or content marketing have better results.

Phases of iterative process


During the first stage, the team revises the project objectives and defines the iteration goals. 

This step aims to avoid straying from the initial goals and objectives and give a general framework regarding the duration and expectations of each iteration.


The executing stage begins the cycle, where individuals contribute by building and testing the new feature. 

The goal of this “ trial and error” step is for the team to collaborate and adjust based on feedback until they are ready for the “review” stage. The so-called “ learning culture” is at the core of the iteration process and this stage.

Each member is encouraged to bring new ideas and improvements to grow as an individual and take the project to the next level.

Testing & reviewing

During the 3rd stage of the iteration, the team demonstrates and tests the new feature or the changes they’ve made. 

The aim is to get feedback on the progress and check if the outcome has met the project’s initial objectives.  


The iteration process ends with improvement based on the performance and feedback from the audience, product owner, or stakeholder. Feedback is crucial here to take the step in the right direction for the next iteration.

Before starting a new iteration, the team reflects on the previous one and documents the challenges, strengths, and weaknesses.

Advantages of iteration

  1. Team Empowerment

Every team member contributes equally, resulting in them feeling valued and appreciated.

  1. Efficiency

Constant testing limits the space for errors and helps reach goals faster.

  1. Flexibility

The iteration process allows more flexibility for changes and adjustments while decreasing the risk of unforeseen problems.

Disadvantages of iteration

  1. No time limit 

Iterations can push the team on a quest for perfection, leading to never-ending improvements.

  1. Straying from the initial vision

Promoting new findings and constant improvement can lead to the end result being far from the initial objectives and goals.

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Article FAQs

What is usually the end result of an iteration?
The end result of an iteration is a completed, tested, and error-free feature that helps identify new features the team can focus on.
What is an iteration in agile?
In Agile project management, the iterative process divides a large project into small parts. Yet one iteration is usually time-limited, usually one or two weeks.
What are iteration goals?
The team defines the technical and business goals of an iteration during the planning stage. The main purpose of this goal is to guide the self-organizing teams during the changes and adjustments, so they don’t stray from the initial objectives.
Who is in charge of the iteration process?
Unlike in most traditional approaches, there isn’t a manager in charge. The team, stakeholders, and customer feedback are equally important for each iteration's success.
How long does the iteration process last?
One iteration usually lasts around a week or two, so the whole process can take months. Setting a due date before starting the iteration process helps navigate the process toward the end goal.

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