Devlane Blog

Top 5 Software Development Methodologies

Software development methodologies are nothing but different product organization methods for your software development workflow. All methodologies have different strengths and weaknesses and exist for different applications. Let's dig into the most commonly used software methodologies to develop custom software products.

Juan Pablo Gutierrez
Juan Pablo Gutierrez
November 2022

If your company is looking to add efficiency to your workflow, selecting the right methodology for your product depends largely on your team size, goals, and other factors.

A good choice will provide smooth development, faster results and will ultimately save money.

The software development methodology is a process framework the team follows to develop applications that satisfy changing requirements, timelines, and lower the failure rate. It is a combination of roles, rules, and best practices about how to develop and create apps.

Those methods do not entail the use of any technical elements, but it does involve meticulous planning for the project's lifecycle.

There are several methodologies you can choose from. Here are the most popular ones with their pros and cons:

Agile Development Method

Agile is a technique used to design a process of software management that facilitates the development project to change regularly. This approach for software development is a systematic structure for conducting different projects in software engineering.

Agile separates work into different stages called sprints. Each sprint lasts a few weeks, during which a list of tasks is pursued by team members. Team members check the task, along with the Scrum master, as the sprint finishes.

This framework can help you deal with the volatile marketplace dominated by consumers, and will show small results in a constant timeline, with short checkpoints and coordinated tasks.

Agile Pros

  • Highly adaptive approach
  • Large teams can effectively cooperate together and maintain direct communication and high transparency
  • Frequent releases and feedback collection
  • Early release of a working product
  • Early detection of defects and fixed for a fraction of the cost
  • Great customer satisfaction

Agile Cons

  • Not ideal for beginners and inexperienced developers. Your team should consist of skilled, senior developers
  • Documentation is less detailed. Meaning, when new members join the team, they won’t know how they need to perform
  • The team needs extensive training to understand the model and the project process
  • Need constant attention, otherwise, the agile development project can lose track
  • There must be constant interaction between testers, customers, and developers. This can be time-consuming and overwhelming

Waterfall Development Method

The waterfall method is considered to be the most traditional software development method. It's a pretty rigid model that consists of sequential phases focusing on distinct goals.

Each phase must be fully complete before the next phase can start. There’s usually no process for going back to modify the project's original design.

Waterfall requires plenty of discipline and documentation upfront. The start stage is essential, requiring a full understanding by both developers and customers of the project’s needs and scope before anything begins.

The stages are relatively rigid and often follow this progression: determine the project’s requirements and scope, analyze those requirements, design, implement, test, deploy, and finally, maintain.

The lack of flexibility in this approach means that whatever is decided by the customer and the team at the beginning must be seen through. If there's an imperative need for any changes to be made or mistakes addressed toward the end stages, the Waterfall method usually requires a full restart.

On the bright side, because the full scope of the project is understood in advance, software progress can easily be measured. Waterfall is frequently used by large, plan-driven teams who have a very clear understanding of the project’s scope.

Waterfall Pros

  • The model is easy to understand, follow and manage
  • It's suitable for smaller projects whose requirements can be determined upfront
  • It's recommended for less experienced project managers and teams 

Waterfall Cons

  • It’s almost impossible to go back and edit something
  • It’s not flexible and doesn’t handle project risks well
  • It’s not a good model for a complex and long-term project

Scrum Development Method

Scrum is another kind of Agile development methodology based on iterative and incremental processes. It's an adaptable, fast, flexible, and effective framework that is created to deliver value to the customer throughout the whole development lifecycle of the project.

The primary purpose of Scrum is to satisfy the customer’s needs through good communication and continuous progress. The development starts from a general idea of ​​what needs to be developed, refining a list of characteristics established by the priorities that the client wants to obtain with their product.

Scrum Pros

  • Rectifying mistakes is considerably easy with scrum methodology
  • There's easy visibility of all stages of the process throughout its development
  • Changes required by clients are easy to implement, as Scrum methodology consists of short sprints with constant feedback
  • Scrum methodology includes daily meetings, which aids in identifying and resolving issues
  • Scrum methodology is quite budget-friendly and gives desired results in a very short time

Scrum Cons

  • If a member of the team leaves the process during development, it harms the project development
  • It always keeps project managers demanding new functionality to be delivered due to the lack of a delivery deadline
  • No predicted time limit and cost valuations, which can make it expand to several sprints
  • Mostly suited for small teams that have great cohesion and understanding
  • Requires a team of skilled people for performing tasks

Lean Development Method

Lean is at once a workflow methodology and a mindset, combining teachings and practices from the manufacturing space and applying them to a variety of industries, including software development.

While Agile is an excellent methodology for the practical application of development best practices, it does not include guidance for scaling these practices across the organization.

This is why many companies who follow the Agile method begin to incorporate Lean theories, practices, and tools to help to innovate at scale.

The Lean method has some basic principles:

Optimize the whole, eliminate waste, build quality in, create knowledge, defer commitment, deliver fast, and respect people.

This philosophy can help guide decision-making across the company in a way that can discover potential issues and maintain healthy organizational habits.

Combining the best of Lean thinking and Agile software development practices can create a healthy, sustainable culture of innovation that benefits not only the development team but the process as a whole.

Lean Pros

  • Efficient budget management
  • Best for early-stage projects and startups
  • Easily eliminates the waste
  • Improves the decision-making process
  • Delivers a high-quality product in the most efficient way
  • Greater flexibility

Lean Cons

  • It highly depends on the project development team involvement and compromise
  • If there’s no right business analyst in the team, it won't be effective
  • Team and management can easily lose focus due to excessive flexibility

DevOps Deployment Method

DevOps is a software development methodology that merges software development (Dev) with information technology operations (Ops) cooperating together in the entire project lifecycle, from design through the development process to production support.

DevOps is not just a development methodology, it is also a set of practices that sustains an organizational culture.

It enhances collaboration between the areas responsible for different portions of the development lifecycle, such as development, quality assurance, and operations.

DevOps is centered on improving time to market, lowering the failure rate, reducing the lead time between fixes, and minimizing disruption while maximizing reliability.

To achieve this, DevOps methodologies aim to automate continuous deployment to guarantee everything happens smoothly and reliably.

Organizations that use DevOps methods benefit by significantly reducing time to market and improving customer satisfaction, product quality, and employee productivity and efficiency.

DevOps Pros

  • Businesses can deploy new processes, systems, and applications in a fast, secure way
  • Teams working closely together guarantees quality assurance and speed delivery
  • It improves the customer experience by delivering faster high-quality systems
  • Track both time at each stage, and the errors and exceptions, so metrics are more reliable

DevOps Cons

  • It's hard to hire skilled DevOps specialists with hands-on experience for your team, so you may have to find a reliable company to outsource
  • Some quality attributes require a lot of interaction within the team, which can slow down the delivery process
  • Some customers don’t want continuous updates to their systems
  • If different areas use different environments, undetected problems can slip into production

These are just some of the many software development methodologies existent in the IT industry. Technology has paved the way for unique tools and techniques to fit every process, and software development workflows are no different. 

The key is that every methodology deals with several complexities, involving expert handling, and fits a wide range of project types. 

Consequently, before choosing any of these methods for your software development projects, you must have knowledge of all these and analyze thoroughly every strong point and every weakness. However, it is highly recommended to contact a competent software development firm for improved results. 

We constantly train our talented team in multiple technologies and workflow methodologies to stay up to date on the latest trends.

Tell us about your project and we'll help you reach your goals.