Software development tools and methods have been an integral part of the overall development process for any web development company who are engaged in some sort of software development – be it web applications, mobile applications or even desktop applications. The utilization of accurate software development methods in any software development environment results in a highly productive quality software product.  The selection of the suitable software development methodology for any software product depends mainly on the development team, project objective, and different iterative factors. Many popular software development techniques have been used by software development companies from generations. Each of those methodologies constitutes different strengths and weaknesses, destined for different software development environments.  

The software development methodologies are considered as a chief infrastructure organized for planning and controlling the software development process to reach the end goals effectively. Every method is meant to make the system development lifetime more productive and boost the expected results. 

Due to the abundance of methodologies available for use, it may be confusing for anyone which one would suit best for a specific scenario. So, here we are going to examine some of the most recognized and common software development methodologies based on their processes, strengths, and weaknesses. 

  1. 1. Agile Development Methodology

The main aspect of Agile Software development methodology is that it is heavily dependent on collaboration focusing on the development team’s strengths and efficiency with recurring iterations based on internal feedback from various departments and clients. This methodology was established as a response to inflexible and strict structured methods such as Waterfall and other similar methodologies. This method facilitates flexibility in the requirement of any changes which in turn reflects faster development and quality software. It is free of rigid and strict frameworks. The overall working process is divided into short milestones with constant prototypes and feedback which includes a rigorous QA process as well.

Pros: 

  • This method allows the release of a software product with constant iterations. 
  • Highly flexible in altercations.
  • Establish constant communication between development teams with incremental improvement in the end product. 
  • Clients play a critical role from beginning to end.  

Cons: 

  • Tracking changes can be difficult with the constant iteration of changes. 
  • It may be hectic and work-intensive for development teams. 
  1. 2. Waterfall Development Methodology

The waterfall development method may be one of the most renowned and traditional methods among all.  The concept of this model is very simple which implies going through a series of development stages without turning back. The structure and procedure are very rigid and strict. The direction of steps is very linear where another step cannot be touched until the previous one is complete. This kind of method requires everything to be pre-planned with absolutely no error in doing requirement analysis. The objectives must be properly discussed and track must be strictly followed. The lack of flexibility is obvious with this approach, that implies the decision made by the customer and developer at the beginning must be seen through till the end. Any altercation requirement results in restart of the entire process. 

Pros : 

  • It is simple and easy to understand
  • It is functional, gradual, and analytical. 
  • Projects with clear objectives can be easy to plan using this method of software development.

Cons: 

  • Highly inflexible with a strict linear flow of processes. 
  • Incompetent for larger projects.
  • Mid or end altercation is very difficult as this method does not accompany iterations and feedback.
  1. 3. Extreme Programming

Extreme programming methodology is devised to address unstable projects that involve frequent dynamic changes. The involvement of clients is highly encouraged in the method. This method enables frequent releases of prototypes in short development sprints that address change if needed. It helps to boost the overall quality of software sustaining its ability to adapt to dynamic changing needs and requirements. Just as in Agile methodologies, this method encourages the development teams to work closely with each other and clients with a constant feedback mechanism. 

Pros:

  • High tractability within the modeling procedure.
  • Team collaboration and substantial client involvement for quality end products.  
  • Frequent feedback and accurate decision making.

Cons: 

  • Future outcomes and exact output is unknown.
  • High cost in requirement and work input for frequent changes.
  • The quality outcomes depend on the working efficiency of development teams. 
  1. 4. Lean Development

Lean is a workflow development methodology and a philosophy, incorporating principles and processes from the manufacturing space and applying them to software development. This method is designed to provide impeccable priority to the client base. It can be said that the whole process revolves around the client. It emphasizes loss reduction at its best. For that, the overall project is studied and analyzed significantly beforehand to avoid any wastage of time or money. The decision making procedure is very rapid as per the feedback from the client. The point is to improve the software by 33% each time, with minimum budget, and very less amount of essential workflow. The combination of  Lean strategy along with Agile software development practices can produce a quality, sustainable environment of development that increases the productivity of development organizations.  

Pros: 

  • Works towards eliminating wastage of time and budget.
  • Strictly client based with fast decision making.
  • Fast development and delivery of products.

Cons

  • The accurate execution of this development methodology mainly depends on the working ethics and capacity of the development team. 
  • Excessive flexibility can lead to bad influences.
  1. 5. Scrum Development

Scrum amplifies Agile’s structure and philosophy implying that the development team and developers must collaborate daily. This method is easy to understand and efficient for achieving quality results. One of the main processes to be highlighted in this method is the division of working processes into sprints. The number of tasks is set for a certain duration of time which are called sprints. After each sprint, there is a resting period called a cool down period in which the task of last and the next sprint are discussed.  This results in an easy and fast response to emerging problems early. This is one of the most flexible development methods as the development and the revisions go hand in hand with proper structure. This incremental method enables quick altercations and development and puts value on complex projects. 

Pros: 

  • The overall decision making is done by the team in the meeting at the end of each sprint.
  • Easy to track developers’ work and deadlines.
  • Flexible with constant updates.

Cons: 

  • The required development cost is uncertain.
  • Unsuitable for big and complex projects.
  • Only the team of highly professional individuals can manage the workflow of this method.
  1. 6. Prototype Model

Prototype development approach takes the essence of rapid application development into account. This approach is based on the rapid development of applications where a prototype is developed with each feature and tested iteratively with the feedback from the client. The processes of this method are based on the waterfall approach but the developmental processes are significantly faster having a focus on customer feedback. The main impact brought by this model is that it resolves a set of altercation issues occurring with the waterfall method.

Pros: 

  • Simple approach, easy to understand and execute.
  • Improves requirement analysis and objectives.
  • Brings the risk of failure of any functionality in software to a minimum. 

Cons:

  • Possibility of an increase in overall budget and cost. 
  • Risk of degradation in productivity due to excessive involvement of the client. 
  • Too much feedback and altercation can make it confusing and frustrating for the development team.
  1. Conclusion

The world of software development is moving very fast with many leading programming languages have come and many big players are also investing in the same like Google with, Angular Js and Facebook with its React Js. Many top-level software companies utilize these methods for their overall benefit. It seems that following the best approach required for the overall development of the software can help gain immense productivity and quality end product. The proper execution of proper software development methods can strengthen the workflow, meet objectives before deadlines, organize an effective development environment, and provide the best result possible. It is the process of creating viable software that adds value to the overall business operation. Each methodologies have their strengths and drawbacks. However, it is up to the experts to analyze and pick the best approach to produce the maximum productivity with minimum risk factor. Some of the best and common practices to be considered are listed above in the article but there are many more to explore in this huge world governed by technological advancement. 

About the author
Rithesh Raghavan is the Director at Acodez, a Digital Agency in India. Having a rich experience of 15+ years in Digital Marketing, Rithesh loves to write up his thoughts on the latest trends and developments in the world of IT and software development.

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