The goal of most software development companies and their clients is software production at the lowest cost, with the best quality, in the shortest time. Proper planning and management of the development process with the right methodology is important to achieve such a goal.

There are lots of software development methodologies that propose different ways to achieve the desired result at a fair cost and short delivery time. These methodologies set up the framework that structures planning, controlling, and developing information systems.

Software Development Methodologies Life Cycle

This article is a spotlight on the popular software development methodologies, their advantages and disadvantages. Below is a comprehensive list of the software development models employed today in most software development companies.

  1. Agile Software Development
  2. Scrum Development
  3. FDD: Feature-Driven Development
  4. Lean Development
  5. XP: Extreme Programming
  6. Waterfall Model
  7. Prototype Model
  8. RAD: Rapid Application Development
  9. Dynamic Systems Development Model
  10. Spiral Model
  11. JAD: Joint Application Development
  12. Rational Unified Process
  13. DevOps Methodology
  14. Adaptive Software Development
  15. Behavior-Driven Development

Reading Time: ~20 min

What Is a Good Software Development Methodology?

While the term might be self-explanatory, it’s still a good idea for us to get on the same page about the meaning of software engineering methodologies and what might constitute a good one for your particular undertaking.

In short, an IT development method is a series of steps needed to produce a certain piece of a digital product. Typically, it includes research, planning, design, and development phases that all constitute the life cycle of the software you’re working on. However, depending on the chosen approach, the way of carrying out these stages might differ.

So, what makes the most suitable methodology? Unsurprisingly, it all depends on your unique business and industry needs, capabilities, and end goals. If you base your choice of the development process on these three elements, you’ll be more likely to pick the one that will deliver the best results.

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Software Development Methodologies: a Comparison of Pros & Cons

What drives the choice of a software development methodology? This choice is always relative to the requirements of a project. In addition to this, project type and size, the skills of team members, financial resources and preferences are also valuable considerations.

Let’s take a look at our top list of methodologies and see why software development companies opt for these models.


Agile Methodology

Agile development is one of the most popular software engineering techniques in the IT world today. Besides that, numerous software production methodologies are based on Agile principles. However, they slightly differ. Keep pace, some of them we will describe in this article.

Agile Methodology

By itself, the Agile software development is mainly focused on a finished product with collaborative efforts. It involves short-term software development cycles called iterations. Each iteration is well organized and similar to a mini software project usually lasting from one to four weeks.

The iterations contain tasks such as adding new functionalities, analyzing and planning, designing, coding, testing, and documenting. As the number of iterations increases, the development team reassesses the project and prioritizes the backlog.

Using the Agile model is a good practice that ensures regular product releases and continuous improvement with each iteration. However, it’s important to note that Agile is not a panacea for software development projects, as it comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages that need to be carefully considered.

Benefits of Agile

Considerations in Agile

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Agile Methodology Steps

Learn more: How to Ruin Your Mobile App with Agile in 8 Easy Steps


Scrum Methodology

Scrum is the most famous framework that is based on Agile methodology. It is empirical in nature and can be applied to any fast-changing or priority-emerging requirements.

Scrum Methodology

In Scrum, iterations are named sprints. As a software development process, it kicks off with brief planning for each sprint, followed by daily scrum meetings that highlight the progress and ends with a final review.

Scrum methodology is ideal for managing projects with not well-defined requirements and feedback from the client. Teamwork, transparency, and regular status updates speed up the development.

Benefits of Scrum

Considerations in Scrum

Scrum Methodology Steps


Feature-Driven Development Methodology

This is another iterative methodology but in combination with object modeling. It is effective for large team projects.

The first step is reviewing the scope of the system. After the review, next is the creation of domain models in detail for every feature, and then the scope of the system is reviewed all over again.

Feature Driven Development Methodology

Merging of all the domain models leads to an overall single model. The development process with FDD involves five steps which are: developing the complete model, making the list of features, planning, designing, and building by feature.

Benefits of FDD

Considerations in FDD

FDD Methodology Steps


Lean Methodology

Lean Methodology

The Lean methodology emphasizes creating cost-effective and adaptable software. Derived from lean manufacturing principles, it optimizes resources by operating with only one-third of the typical funds, human efforts, and production time.

The workflow follows a minimalist approach, eliminating any unnecessary elements like excessive meetings and documentation. The primary goal is to develop software that can easily accommodate changes while being efficient and resourceful.

Benefits of Lean

Considerations in Lean

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Lean Methodology Steps


Extreme Programming Methodology

Extreme Programming or XP also refers to Agile methodology. The main aim of this model is to create a fully-functional product and cut the cost of software non-essentialities.

It is a perfect fit for complex projects with fixed deadlines and not clearly determined requirements. Continuous planning and testing are one of the core principles here.

Extreme Programming Methodology

Extreme programming is most suitable for creating software in an unstable environment. This is one of the methodologies in software engineering that gives provision for developers to deliver a final product at a lower cost. At the same time, it is time-consuming with a lot of human effort due to the frequent meetings, test-driven approach, and pair programming.

Benefits of Extreme Programming

Considerations in Extreme Programming

Extreme Programming Steps


Waterfall Methodology

With its introduction in 1970 by Dr. Winston W. Royce, the waterfall is the most traditional methodology in the IT industry. It is a classic approach and a very popular version of the system development life cycle in software engineering. The goals are pre-defined for each development phase.

Waterfall Model: pros and cons

It is linear in nature with all projects progressing in stages. The completion of one stage precedes the other. This methodology is rigid because once a stage is complete, no reversible changes can be made based on new requirements.

Benefits of Waterfall Methodology

Considerations in Waterfall Methodology

Waterfall Methodology Steps


Prototyping Methodology

The strength of the prototyping methodology is that it caters to all the lapses of the software engineering process. According to this model, developers initially make a prototype of the software solution. They visualize how it will run and prove its function to investors or clients.

Prototype Model

The developers subsequently make all the needed modifications in readiness for developing the final application. Naturally, this gives room for understanding the requirements of software development and conducting useful business analysis.

Benefits of Prototyping Methodology

Considerations in Prototyping Methodology

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Prototyping Methodology Steps


Rapid Application Development (RAD Model)

Rapid application development, as the name implies, delivers speedy results with high quality. This method is complemented by the participation of active users in the development process.

Rapid Application Development

Software product development is made faster and of great quality by using focus groups to gather requirements, prototyping, user testing, reusing software components, continuous reviews, and informal communications.

Benefits of RAD Model

Considerations in RAD Model

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RAD Model Steps


Dynamic Systems Development Model

In comparison with the RAD model, the dynamic systems development model possesses similar features. The main principle of this model is that perfect software is achievable through a constantly changing process.

Dynamic Systems Development

Iterative in nature, it is goal-oriented with other major characteristics like flexibility, lightness, and continuous development. With a focus on user involvement, it aims at the development and provision of software models based on a specified budget and deadline.

Benefits of Dynamic Systems Development

Considerations in Dynamic Systems Development

DSD Model Steps


Spiral Methodology

The Spiral lifecycle model seems highly sophisticated. It functions by the early identification and reduction of risks in a project. Beginning on a small scale, it encompasses risk exploration and the provision of plans to eliminate such risks.

Spiral Model

It then indicates if the next level of spiral iteration can begin. In contrast to the waterfall model, the spiral method enables the developer to make changes in the code or design even in the testing stage. It is suitable for most kinds of projects but requires good management.

Benefits of Spiral Methodology

Considerations in Spiral Methodology

Spiral Methodology Steps


Joint Application Development Methodology

The Joint application development methodology is most suitable for business software solutions. However, it can be effective for all kinds of development projects.

Joint Application Development

The development and design stages of software production involve interactive workshops. In these workshop sessions, the software system is defined by the developers and end-user or client.

With special attention to user stories and use cases, it’s a popular methodology for automating a growing business. Due to user participation in all the stages of production, it’s a favorite method for high client satisfaction.

Benefits of Joint Application Development

Considerations in Joint Application Development

JAD Methodology Steps


Rational Unified Process (RUP) Methodology

Based on object-oriented and web-enabled program development, the rational unified process methodology is considered a modern approach. It functions by splitting the workflow into four different parts. These parts are namely analysis and design, business modeling, deployment, and implementation.

Rational Unified Process

Developers are facilitated with specific tools such as templates, guidelines, and sequential processes with examples for all the stages in software development. This approach constantly monitors the quality of software created and controls applied changes.

Benefits of Rational Unified Process

Considerations in Rational Unified Process

RUP Methodology Steps


DevOps Methodology

DevOps helps software development and IT operations function together. Usually, these two teams work in their own silos, but this methodology allows them to collaborate and foster the project implementation from the design phase to the product release.

DevOps Methodology

Enabling efficient communication between the teams, DevOps provides ground for building, testing, and releasing software in a shorter time. It ensures enhanced results and allows for delivering products on a continual basis.

Benefits of DevOps

Considerations in DevOps

DevOps Methodology Steps


Adaptive Software Development (ASD)

Adaptive Software Development takes roots in the best practices of Rapid Application Development and Evolutionary Life Cycles. This model helps to meet initial goals by adapting to dynamic business requirements.

Adaptive Software Development

ASD is a non-linear approach. It assumes that each life cycle can be iterated and modified while another one is being executed. For example, it fits best for products where adding new features incrementally is important and where the client’s feedback constantly impacts the process.

Benefits of ASD

Considerations in ASD

ASD Methodology Steps


Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)

Behavior-Driven Development is a variation of an Agile methodology that formalizes a shared vision between all participants of how an app should behave. It aims to enable non-technical people to take an active role in the implementation of technical functionality.

Behavior Driven Development

The approach is based on evolved Test-Driven Development (TDD). Essentially, it drives the execution of only those system behaviors that are crucial for business outcomes. On top of that, it calls for ongoing conversation and the use of concrete examples to minimize resource waste.

Benefits of BDD

Considerations in BDD

BDD Methodology Steps

Velvetech’s Top Software Development Methodologies

Based on what we’ve covered, what are your preferred software development methodologies? We at Velvetech prefer to work with Agile, Lean, and Scrum. Those modern methodologies have come to replace good old Waterfall and RUP models.

Yet, let’s see how they fare against each other when employed for mobile and web development.

Differences between Agile and Lean

The big secret nobody is saying out loud is that there are no differences between Agile and Lean. Both software development approaches focus on delivering products as fast as possible, with the best possible quality that the market justifies with growing demand.

Differences between Lean and Waterfall

These models are as different as a mole and a gazelle. By the time the mole digs up a tunnel, the gazelle has been all over the place, and there’s no market for the mole. That’s because the Waterfall methodology focuses on the result at the initiation of the project, and the Lean methodology keeps checking the market-product fit throughout the development process.

Differences between Agile and Waterfall

Waterfall is different from Agile in the same way as it is from Lean because as we’ve established, there’s no real difference between Agile and Lean. Just like with Lean, Waterfall differs from Agile in interim steps and the pace of the project.

Agile vs. Lean vs. Waterfall

Focus on Delivering the product as fast as possible Delivering the product that the market buys Staying within budget and time frames
Development Process Phases are following in cycle Phases are following in cycle Linear: one phase after another
Development Pace Iterations of 2 to 4 weeks Extra short iterations Development with no interim customer / market feedback
Customer Involvement Throughout the project Throughout the project At milestones
Scope Praises new changes that improve the product-market fit Keeps changing by removing waste: everything market is not ready to pay for Detailed from start
Team Smaller teams with tight communication are preferable Smaller teams with tight communication are preferable Hierarchical organization with clearly defined roles; not much communication

Thinking of the Best Methodology for Your Software Project?

From industry experience, all the software development methodologies are more functional with certain project types. Different types of complexities will demand different experts and levels of experience in the method of choice.

Considering that no method is a hundred percent perfect, developers need to thoroughly assess all the pros and cons. Equally crucial are factors like budget, project scope, available resources, time frame, and personal preferences that should be taken into account.

Velvetech has always been a pacesetter in software production by applying the most effective engineering methods in different kinds of projects.

Reach out to us today to discuss your software project. We will guide you through your custom software development journey and will follow the development model that aligns perfectly with your goals.

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