Holistic Software Development is based on the H-Model that resonates with the old v-model but ties levels of abstraction related to planning, requirements, architecture or code to levels of a Definition of Done level through successive layers of integration validated through testing and acceptance activities. Unlike the V-model, the H-model is explicitly iterative, and focusses not on vertical decomposition and recomposition but on the cross-bar of the H-model: released products refined by iteration.

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The areas inside the H are (from the top) Portfolio and Programme Management and (from below) Product Delivery (containing agile/iterative teams, continuous flow teams contributing builds and releases).

The cross-bar of the H model, Builds and Releases implemented by Integration Streams, is the critical join up of Strategy, through Portfolio, Programme (and Project) management if they exist to Delivery teams. This area is where organizations traditionally have a lot of difficulty and is where we de-conflict agile delivery and management approaches. All of this wider view of delivery is aligned to business strategy and focused on the delivery of business value, not as an after-thought but permeating the entire model.

The left of the H-Model describes concerns such as people practices, organizational patterns, team forming practices as well as the decomposition of Requirements and Architecture. The right of the H-Model covers iterative and continuous integration and re-composition through Operational Environments, Definitions of Done, Quality concerns, Adoption and Business Change and ultimately the delivery of Business Value.

The H-Model combines the conceptual mapping of the V-model with iteration and re-emphasises the horizontal links, instead of the separation of the sides of the V.