The Most Common Software Development Methodologies

Software product development uses a lot of methodologies – well-proven engineering practices. Software development methodologies determine the success of a project. Without a properly selected approach, it’s difficult to achieve stability in the product operation, safety and sustainability of functional features, etc. Therefore, the Project Managers try to find the best option out of many.
It can be difficult for a person without a solid technical background or a beginner specialist to understand all the nuances. In this article, we’ll try to provide an overview of the most essential software development approaches.

What Is Software Engineering Methodology?

A software development methodology is a system that determines the order of execution of tasks, methods of assessment, and control. Software development models are chosen based on the direction of the project, its budget, the timing of the final product, and sometimes even on the preferences of the project manager and team members. Software development techniques differ from each other in how the stages of the software life cycle are interconnected within the development cycle.
Software development consists of the following stages:

  • Strategy Definition: clarification of requirements, assessment of the implementation of these requirements, calculation of the budget, and determination of the possibility of performing work for the client on mutual terms. This stage can occur only once per cycle.
  • Analysis: a study of the functions that were determined at the stage of strategy, attributes and relationships. This stage usually occurs immediately after the definition of the strategy and can be repeated in a cycle.
  • Design: a collection of a data model.
  • Implementation: product development according to requirements, the interaction of the whole team to achieve the final goal. This is one of the most intense stages of the development cycle.
  • Testing: everything that the developers do is tested. This phase can run in parallel with the implementation phase.
  • Integration: often, the product is implemented in iterations in order to make it work better, gradually coping with bugs and difficulties. During the integration phase, your client will be your main tester. The systems go to full capacity and start working for the users.
  • Use and technical support: keeping the project afloat, interacting with the client, users, and so on. It all depends on the conditions of work on the project.

The alternation of these stages, the interaction between them can change, based on the software programming models chosen. Now, let's list the most common software development methodologies.

As you can see, there are several basic software development practices, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. To help you figure out which approach would be most appropriate for your product, be it an application or a website, we'll take a look at 6 types of software development methodologies. Check them out and decide which one will best suit your business goals and expectations.

  1. Waterfall

    A waterfall or cascade model of software development is a development process in which the phases of collection and analysis of requirements, design, implementation, testing, integration, and support are sequentially passed. Following the waterfall model, developers move from one process to the next in a strictly sequential manner. The transition from one phase of product creation to another occurs only after the whole completion of the previous phase and that transitions back and overlapping of phases do not occur.
    Software development within this methodology allows you to strictly fix the budget and terms. However, this model can be effective only if the customer understands in great detail the goals and objectives of the product being developed, and is also able to formulate them.

Pros
  • The model linearity simplifies the development process, which is especially important for novice developers;
  • All specifications and expectations are defined prior to development;
  • Great for small projects with clear requirements.
Cons
  • It does not take into account client feedback in the early stages, which enlarges the risk of the project deviating from the goal;
  • Making changes to the project is quite problematic;
  • TNot suitable for large and innovative projects.

  1. Agile

    The main idea of Agile software development is to develop a product through short iterations (cycles). This method divides the work into separate phases called sprints; that is, this methodology does not have a rigid framework. Communication is a key tenet in Agile. Team members are constantly looking for customer feedback and making changes to the software. This approach allows minimizing risks (for example, bugs, budget overruns, and changes in requirements) and adding new functionality if necessary.

    Pros
    • A high degree of involvement of developers and customers of the project;
    • The software has minimal bugs and risks due to repeated testing;
    • The working product has top priority as the main indicator of progress.
    Cons
    • Constant testing and seeking customer reviews can be very time consuming;
    • Documentation recedes into the background and that can lead to some development issues later;
    • The flexibility of software development may cause the release of the final product version to be delayed.

  2. Feature-Driven Development

    Feature-Driven Development is an iterative agile model. The main task of this approach is to develop real, well-functioning software and meet the established deadlines. The method seeks to avoid confusion that may result in costly rework. A developer’s to-do list is a list of features that a final product should have. For each function, engineers get over a planning, design, and implementation stage. Typically, the function takes no more than two weeks to complete.

    Pros
    • Such an approach takes fewer meetings and less time for software development;
    • Suitable for creating complex, innovative products, and large-scale long-term projects;
    • Allows large projects to be broken down into smaller parts, simplifies tracking and fixing coding errors, reduces risks.
    Cons
    • Doesn't work very well with small projects;
    • Less written documentation can result in confusion;
    • Depends heavily on the main developer.

  3. Lean Development

    Lean Development is an agile approach to software engineering focusing on quality, speed, and client centricity. This methodology is often compared to the MVP strategy, in which the minimum version of the product is released to the market and developers receive feedback from users. The goal of this software development model is to define bottlenecks that can interfere with the process and create a full-fledged system working faultlessly.

    Pros
    • Perfect for small projects;
    • Total development cost goes down;
    • Allows faster product release.
    Cons
    • Strong documentation is required;
    • The lean development approach needs the involvement of highly qualified developers;
    • Depends heavily on the team involved, which makes the approach less scalable.

  4. Rapid Application Development

    The Rapid Application Development model focuses on quick prototyping and feedback over long development and test cycles. Thorough prototype testing provides valuable feedback that helps reduce much of the risk associated with the product. Therefore, the goal of this methodology is to create products in a much shorter time without compromising quality.

    Pros
    • Has increased flexibility and adaptability;
    • Provides fast time to market;
    • High level of customer satisfaction thanks to continuous cooperation.
    Cons
    • It’s difficult to change the basic features of the software;
    • Not suitable for projects with a small budget;
    • Depends heavily on responsive clients.

  5. DevOps Methodology

    The DevOps method involves the development team and operations team working together to create a product. This provides a faster pace of work compared to traditional development models. The key principles of this method are software automation and bundling. This approach enables faster and more reliable testing and product release.

    Pros
    • Provides quick bug fixes;
    • Requires less development time;
    • Ensures reliable releases thanks to a common codebase and continuous integration.
    Cons
    • Implies a large investment of time and money, at least initially;
    • Requires well-coordinated teamwork;
    • Testing can fall prey to DevOps processes.

Summing up

We introduced you to the most common software development methodologies, their basic principles, as well as pros and cons. As you can see, it’s impossible to unequivocally answer the question of which one is best suited to your project – it all depends on a combination of various factors such as budget, requirements, product features, and payment options. Many of them overlap, so you may need to try a few before you find the one that will make your project more successful and productive.

If you are looking for a reliable partner for your software development needs, Yojji might be the best solution. We’re a team of experienced software developers, ready to deliver your project. Sign up for a free consultation and we’ll help you determine the most appropriate approach for the effective development of your product.

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Yevhen Piotrovskyi
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