When Elon Musk founded SpaceX with a dream to colonize Mars, few believed that in ten years the company would disrupt the whole industry. His approach to building rockets is called iterative development (and it can help you make better software).
Instead of developing a huge (and expensive) spaceship that could take humans to the Red Planet, he chose to build a smaller rocket and iterate on the design.
Falcon 1 became the company’s Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Its first launch ended in a disaster – the rocket blew up over the launch site on Omelek Island.
Following two more failures, Falcon 1 finally became the first privately-built rocket to deliver payload into the orbit.
The lessons learned from early failures were used to develop Falcon 9, which in turn became a part of Falcon Heavy. Its maiden launch was a tremendous success with two side boosters landing simultaneously at Kennedy Space Center and Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster flying off into the orbit.
All of this would’ve been impossible without iterative development.