08 Best Software Development Methodologies
Various software development methodologies have been introduced throughout the decades. And they all aim is to provide continuous delivery by shortening the systems development cycle while ensuring high software quality with faster time to market, security, code quality, and improved communication and collaboration among developers. However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all methodology for every development team.
In this article, we will guide you through the 08 most beloved Software Development Methodologies that might work best for your business.
1. What is Software Development Methodology?
“In software engineering, a software development process is a process of dividing software development work into smaller, parallel, or sequential steps or sub-processes to improve design, product management. It is also known as a software development life cycle (SDLC).
The methodology may include the pre-definition of specific deliverables and artifacts that are created and completed by a project team to develop or maintain an application. Most modern development processes can be vaguely described as agile. Other methodologies include waterfall, prototyping, iterative and incremental development, spiral development, rapid application development, and extreme programming.” – Wikipedia
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When working on a project, software development methodology refers to the systematic processes that must be followed. It’s an amalgamation of design ideals and pragmatic realities that dates back to the dawn of computing. The purpose is to establish a method for software development that is systematic.
Various software development approaches have been established to utilize available technology and resources. Software development methodologies give a framework for developers to collaborate more effectively as a group. It defines how information is shared within the team and formalizes communication.
Many IT businesses now agree that using a software development process is critical for their team’s success. However, the question of which strategy is the most effective remains unanswered. This is due to the fact that there isn’t one. Each methodology has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Getting the most out of one depends on the team’s structure, needs, and objectives. Various software development approaches can also be used for different projects.
2. The Importance of Software Development Methodology?
It should be emphasized that picking a software development approach and sticking to it throughout the project is critical. When you take the software development process for granted, you might run into several sequential risks that we have listed down below:
- Developers’ performance can be badly affected by customers’ ever-changing requests if they don’t have organized advice, especially when there are miscommunications. As a result, the software is frequently revised without regard for the project’s broader ramifications.
- So, what’s the end result? Well, it could be many, including a waste of time, money, and effort with the risk of generating a mediocre product that doesn’t add value.
- Both the development team and the client profit from software development approaches. Choosing the right one guarantees that talks take place in the proper channels and that decisions are taken after all issues have been considered and dealt with.
- The development team can improve efficiency and provide a more realistic delivery date by using a software development approach. It allows both parties to be more organized and systematic while dealing with spontaneous changes rather than responding to every input.
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3. 08 Best Software Development Methodologies
The numerous software development methodologies are available to provide developers with a plethora of options. Most techniques fall into one of three categories: Waterfall, Iterative, or Continuous.
When it comes to implementation, a Waterfall technique follows a set of steps. The stages of development are established in a strict, chronological order. Due to the certainty of the project scope, Waterfall was very popular in the early days of programming. The rigidity of its structure, on the other hand, leads to the high failure rate of many initiatives.
The iterative model is a software development methodology that is less focused on rigid documentation and more open to continual modifications. Multiple sprints are used to swiftly develop and test concepts to guarantee that they are relevant to users. As a result, problems are identified early on, and the team sticks to the project’s objectives. Two of the most prominent iterative software development approaches are Agile and Scrum.
The Toyota Production System inspired the continuous model. It’s all about reducing disruption and enabling smooth transitions between stages of growth. The purpose of the ongoing software development strategy is to minimize waste and increase efficiency across all phases.
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3.1. Agile Development Methodology
In recent years, the agile methodology has become one of the most popular software development methodologies. It differs from the traditional linear method because it takes a different approach. Instead of emphasizing paperwork and strict procedures, Agile focuses on how to satisfy consumers.
Tasks are broken down into tiny sprints that take 1 to 4 weeks to complete in Agile. It’s an iterative model in which many tests are run as the project proceeds. Customers’ feedback is constantly sought by developers, who then make modifications to the software.
In Agile, communication is a top concern, especially amongst engineers, clients, and users.
Agile Adoption Statistics 2022
- 71% of companies are adopting Agile.
- Agile adoption has helped 98% of companies.
- The US government has lost $32 billion as a result of failed IT projects.
- 60% of companies experience growth in profits after adopting an Agile approach.
- 80% of federal IT projects adopt Agile.
- The Agile failure rate is 8%.
- The average salary of an Agile project manager is $90K.
- Microsoft Project is the most sought after project management software.
– Statistics taken from GoRemotely
- The software has minimal defects due to the iterative effort in testing and fine-tuning.
- Clarity between team members during development, thanks to systematic and transparent development.
- Changes in project requirements are quickly addressed and worked on with little impact on the timeline.
- An overall improvement in the deliverable’s quality.
- The development team can sometimes lose focus due to overwhelming requests for changes.
- Documentation takes a back seat in Agile, which can be a problem later on in development.
- Agile focuses on discussions and feedback, which can be time-consuming for the team without an experienced PM and BA.
- Due to its non-structured approach, Agile requires experienced developers who can work independently.
For projects with rapidly changing needs, the Agile technique is perfect. If you’re developing software for a new market, Agile is the way to go. Adopting the additional ideas is ideal when you gain a better understanding of the market’s needs. Of course, this requires that your development staff is self-sufficient and accustomed to working in a fast-paced, unstructured atmosphere.
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3.2. Waterfall Development Methodology
The waterfall methodology is still applicable in some projects, despite being utilized for decades. It’s a straightforward, linear strategy in which development stages are organized into a series of sequential, cascading steps.
Because the waterfall development process is simple to grasp, it is common among teams with little design knowledge. Before moving on to the next stage, each one must be accomplished. Before design can begin, for example, all requirements must be determined.
There is no going back in this method, just as there is no going back in a waterfall. As a result, the waterfall method is inflexible and should be avoided for projects with quickly changing needs. According to a study performed by Ambysoft in 2013, the waterfall methodology has a success rate of 49% while the agile method has a success rate of 69%.
- The linearity of the waterfall model makes it easy to understand, particularly for new developers.
- All specifications and deliverables are spelled out before the development commences.
- There’s no room for miscommunicating information with the waterfall model as it’s clearly defined in each stage.
- It doesn’t include customer feedback in the early phases, which increases the risk of the project veering off target.
- Testing is only executed at the end of the development. Some problems are harder to fix at a later stage.
- The rigidity of the waterfall model gives no room for changes, making it unsuitable for complex projects.
- The team can spend too much time on documentation instead of delivering solutions to the user’s problems.
Only use waterfall if your project has a well-defined scope. It is unsuitable for development with a large number of unknowns. Waterfall is the way to go when you have a team of inexperienced developers and a project with predictable outcomes.
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3.3. Lean Development
Toyota’s lean manufacturing concepts inspired lean development, and it concentrates on reducing waste and improving output. Developers can avoid non-productive activities while still delivering high-quality work by following the guiding principles.
Continuous learning and decision deferral are also emphasized in the Toyota-inspired methodology. It allows teams to have an open mind during the development process and examine all considerations before making a final decision.
Developers are responsible for identifying bottlenecks that could stymie the process using the lean methodology. The goal is to create a system that is both efficient and reliable. Human respect is also emphasized in the process, which means communication is essential for improving team collaboration.
- Cuts down unnecessary parts in the project, such as redundant codes, unnecessary documentation, and repetitive tasks.
- The overall cost of development is reduced with lean principles.
- Time-to-market for the software is shortened as lean development promotes efficiency.
- Increased motivation amongst team members as they are empowered with more decision-making authority.
- For lean development to be successful, you’ll need a team of highly-skilled developers, which isn’t easy to put together.
- Less-skilled developers can be overwhelmed by the responsibilities and loss focus on the project.
- Detailed documentation is needed, which places an enormous burden on the business analyst.
Lean development is appropriate for working on a small project with a limited budget. Its ideas of reducing waste and boosting efficiency imply you’ll be able to get great results with a little workforce. Larger projects make lean development less realistic because they require a more extensive staff to complete the tasks.
3.4. Prototype Model
The prototype model allows developers to work on a prototype version of the eventual product rather than producing a full-fledged software. Customers can then test, evaluate, and provide comments on the prototype.
The prototype goes through multiple stages of development based on the customer’s feedback until it’s judged satisfactory. The advantage of the prototype technique is that it allows for a thorough examination that exposes potential problems before actual development begins.
The effectiveness of this technique depends not just on the development team but also on how well they communicate with clients during the test. It’s also worth noting that the prototype is frequently built at no expense to the developers.
- Good in ironing out potential issues in the early development stage significantly reduces product failure risk.
- Ensures the customer is happy with the ‘product’ before the development starts.
- Build rapport with the customer early on with the discussions, which helps throughout the project.
- Gather detailed information with the prototype, which is later used in building the final version.
- Excessive to and fro testing the prototype with the customer can delay the development timeline.
- The customer’s expectations of the product may not align with the prototype.
- There’s a risk of cost overrun as the works on the prototype are often paid for by the developer.
When you’re designing software with a lot of unknowns, the prototype model is ideal. Consider an online platform with a high level of user interaction. You may find out what works best with people and lessen the risk of building the actual product using the prototype approach.
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3.5. Rapid Application Development
In 1991, the Rapid Application Development (RAD) methodology was created, and it became the basis for modern iterative frameworks. It focuses on producing items in a considerably shorter amount of time without sacrificing quality.
The RAD framework is a four-step process that includes project requirements, prototyping, testing, and implementation. Instead of linear models, RAD focuses on creating prototypes based on the supplied needs and testing them with the customer. This is done through several iterations until the customer is satisfied with the outcome.
Extensive prototype testing yields valuable input, which helps to minimize much of the product risk. When RAD is used, there is a reasonable likelihood that the product will be released on time. RAD frequently uses development tools that automate and streamline the process.
- Risks reduction through regular customer feedback.
- Increased satisfaction for customers.
- Works well for small and medium applications.
- Reduces time-to-market.
- Highly dependent on a responsive customer.
- Requires a team of highly-skilled and experienced developers.
- Not suitable for projects with budget constraints.
- Lack of documentation for progress tracking.
Rapid Application Development will yield the finest results if you have a team of professional developers and customers equally invested in the project. The RAD technique relies heavily on communication to complete tasks. You’ll need to invest in RAD tools like low-code/no-code applications to speed up development.
3.6. Dynamic Systems Model
Much of the Dynamic System Model’s principles come from the Rapid Application Development framework. This improved methodology aims for on-time delivery and project goals aligned with company needs. The four iterative processes are feasible and business study, functional model, design and build, and implementation.
End users are heavily involved in providing input throughout the process. This lowers the chances of deviating from the project’s objectives and needs. Most Agile frameworks lack thorough documentation, which the Dynamic Systems Model provides.
- The iterative approach ensures that basic software functionalities are delivered promptly.
- Developers have better control of the development timeline and budget.
- Necessary documentation is created throughout the development.
- Establish communication between end-users and developers, which keeps the team on the right track.
- It can be pretty expensive to execute. Heavy user and developers’ involvement is needed, and it takes a considerable budget to train them.
- Smaller teams will have a hard time implementing this methodology.
- The concept and implementation of the model are pretty complex.
It’s impossible to use the Dynamic Systems Model in small businesses. Instead, it’s better suited to large companies with a lot of red tape, bottlenecks, and redundant processes. It simplifies team communication by breaking down complex procedures into smaller iterative segments.
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3.7. Feature Driven Development
FDD (Feature Driven Development) is an Agile-based software development methodology. Its purpose is straightforward: to avoid misunderstandings that result in costly rework. FDD is frequently misunderstood as focused on each program feature, which isn’t the case.
Breaking down development activities into a feature list on the overall model is what Feature Driven Development achieves. Developers go through an iteration of each feature’s planning, designing, and building. A feature should typically take no more than two weeks to complete.
FDD produces quick, impactful results for each of the actions described as features. This method is intended for large groups, and information is provided via thorough documentation.
- Breaks down complicated tasks into more minor activities, which fuels efficiency.
- Enable large teams to work on multiple tasks simultaneously.
- Based on predefined standards and best practices, which leads to predictable success.
- Not suitable for smaller projects.
- Highly dependent on the lead developer, as they are in charge of coordinating the tasks between members.
- It can sometimes deviate from delivering value to the end-users as the model is driven by activities.
Larger teams working on complicated projects benefit from Feature Driven Development. It combines the advantages of an iterative framework with a more structured methodology. With FDD, you should ideally have a capable lead developer in control.
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3.8. Scrum Development Methodology
Scrum is, without a doubt, one of the most adaptable software development strategies. It is built on the Agile principle and is well-known for its incremental and iterative methods. The Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team are all in the Scrum approach.
The product owner accepts the client’s feedback and ensures that the team is on track to meet the client’s needs. Meanwhile, the Scrum Master is a facilitator, ensuring that all team members understand the Scrum methodology. The team is responsible for putting the plan into action.
The way tasks are completed in sprints makes Scrum an appropriate methodology for a fast-paced setting. Each sprint can take up to four weeks to complete. Teams can quickly discover issues, present solutions, test them, and receive feedback thanks to the quick execution. It makes tackling time-sensitive assignments a lot easier.
- Short iterations allow quick resolutions to problems.
- Scrum is very responsive to changes as the process includes regular feedback.
- Scrum is economical and practical.
- Regular meetings ensure that team members are on the same page.
- Contributions of individual members are noticed and appreciated through the Scrum meetings.
- All team members must be equally skilled and committed for Scrum to work.
- The daily Scrum meetings can be draining for team members.
- May increase time-to-market if there’s no strict control on the deadline.
- Not suitable for large projects.
If you have a project with ambiguous requirements that must adapt to frequent changes, Scum is the methodology to use. For example, you may need to quickly build an MVP and test it with users. Scrum is only effective if you have a team that is totally committed and experienced.
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