Discover Top Software Development Methodologies That Streamline Software Development
Ever since software development started to get popular, developers have started to develop different software development methodologies. Their aim was to come up with a development methodology that would ensure a robust and complete software product according to the project requirements.
Through the years, software engineers have come up with various methodologies to help development teams create the best approximation of their software project. Each new methodology either built on a previous model’s concept, or brought forward an entirely new way to break down and track a project’s progress.
That allows a software development company to choose the software development methodology that suits the scope of their project the best, based on the resources they have. Each methodology is designed to address to work with a specific type of project, and we need to know their features before making a choice for our software project.
What are software development methodologies?
Before we study the different variants of software development methodologies, we first need to understand what they are. A software development methodology is a process that provides structure to the phases of a software project. Using a mix of design and management philosophies, it offers an easy-to-use approach to developing a quality software product.
Over the decades, different methodologies have been proposed, based on the technologies and ideas of that time. And the goal, for each of them, was to provide a solid platform for teams of developers to work together seamlessly. These methods allowed for clear and quick communication, both within the team as well as with the client, meaning that the end result was developed according to their brief.
Today, the majority of software development company use different development methodologies to offer quality custom software development services. Each company chooses the method that suits their project, as well as its ability to streamline their work flows.
Often, we hear newcomers to the field talking about the difference between good and bad software methodologies. The answer, however, is that there is no good or bad development methodology. Any of the available choices which fits the client needs, is considered a good methodology. But, if your chosen method fails to deliver, then no matter how intuitive and effective it may be for others, in this case will be considered a failure.
Therefore, before making your choice, it is best to evaluate and assess all factors that may affect the success of your methodology, such as your team structure, experience, project requirements, and project goals. Only by factoring in these will you be able to make an informed choice.
Why we need software development methodologies?
It is extremely important to first read a .NET development guide and choose a software development methodology that suits your project. If we fail to do so, there are a number of risks that can derail the entire project. As we mentioned earlier, software development methodologies provide structure to your development project.
That means that without a methodology to guide the process, the development teams would be constantly subjected to requests about repeated changes by the client. Moreover, without a software methodology, there is a high chance of failure to communicate within the team, as well as the client too.
As a result, the repeated revisions that might occur in such scenarios can often derail a project, either financially, or via time-to-market. In any case, by forgoing choosing a suitable software development methodology, you risk developing a poor approximation of the software required.
It also allows software development companies to break down the project better, which means that developers can calculate the time of delivery for milestones much more accurately. All in all, using a software development methodology helps cut down on inefficiency, and improves the quality of the product developed.
Best Software Development Methodologies for Developers Today
Nowadays, developers have several options when it comes to pick .NET development tools and software development technologies. However, it can make choosing the most suitable for your project, somewhat complicated.
For the most part, the majority of these methodologies can be categorized as either a version of waterfall, continuous, or iterative development model. Each of these development styles follows a distinct pattern, which means that development teams can choose their model depending on what they are working with.
Waterfall method is quite simple to understand. It follows a fixed, step-by-step process, where each stage is predefined in sequence. One of the most popular techniques in the earliest days of professional software development, where the focus was on the end product, and the scope was clearly defined.
However, it was the strict sequential structure which made the failure rate quite high for projects where the scope changed partway through the development stage. Nevertheless, it is still used to develop projects where the developers are new, making it easier for them to focus on the project as a whole, rather than on individual milestones.
The continuous model, is designed to minimize any interruptions between different phases of the development process. The methodology was developed to ensure a smoother and more streamlined software development process, thus increasing team efficiency.
Iterative software development model is designed to be less rigid to changing project scope, and allows for multiple revisions within the process. It uses the concept of sprints to develop and test individual modules of the software to check if they work with the project requirements. This allows issues and new ideas to be incorporated early on, without deviating from the overall project objective.
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Common Traditional Software Development Methodologies
Some of the most common software development models which do not follow the Agile or iterative method of development include:
- Waterfall model
- Prototyping model
- Spiral model
Common Agile Software Development Methodologies
Agile method is a type of iterative software development. As such, there are many different software development models which follow this ideology. Some of the most popular options include:
- Scrum model
- Lean model
- XP model
- FDD model
Agile vs Traditional Software Development: Which Methodologies Would Work for Me?
Choosing which mode of software outsourcing works best for you is a matter of evaluating the resources you have. It includes the experience of your developers, your budget, time-to-market, and other similar factors.
The first thing you need to decide on is the type of development methodology you want to follow. You can opt for the highly popular agile methodology, or you can go for a simpler, traditional model. Depending on the factors described above, you will be able come up with suitable options for your software development project.
When you are short on time, or have a limited budget, or have a small project to develop, then a traditional model like spiral or waterfall method would be perfect. However, for more elaborate projects, choosing one of the agile methodologies would be more suitable.
Nowadays, Agile methodology is quite popular with many software development companies around the world. That is because it opts for a very different method of operation, when compared to the traditional, linear methods. In Agile, the primary focus is user satisfaction, rather than the adherence to rigid development protocols and procedures.
For this methodology, the project is broken down into short sprints, each of which can take anywhere from one week up to four weeks. A type of iterative model of work, it involves multiple cycles throughout the development process. The purpose of each new cycle is to implement the changes from the previous round of customer feedback, and look to the customers for feedback once again.
Only when the gained feedback shows no new changes to be made to the project, then the project progresses to the next phase. The entire premise of Agile shows that clear communication is prioritized, especially between the developers and their customers.
Pros of Agile Methodology
- With multiples cycles and iterations in each phase of the project’s development, potential issues are highlighted early and rectified.
- Constant communication leads to complete clarity about the project between all members of the development team.
- Any required changes are made early in the development stages, meaning that the timeline is not affected.
- Multiple iterations in each phase ensure a better quality product is developed and delivered to the client.
Cons of Agile Methodology
- The often changing requirements and multiple cycles can cause a less experienced team to lose focus of their primary objective.
- With the focus being on delivering the best product to the customer, the lack of proper documentation can cause issues later on.
- The repeated cycles of feedback, while useful in creating the ideal product, can often result in an overflowing the desired timeline.
- The unorthodox, client-first approach often requires the expertise of experienced developers, especially those who can work independently as well as within a team dynamic.
Agile Methodology Applications
Despite its cons, Agile is especially useful for projects which have the possibility of quickly changing requirements. These applications include software niches where you are breaking new grounds, and require constant client feedback to ensure that the final product is successful. That is necessary for you as it allows you to implement new ideas and features depending on market perception and research during the development process as well.
Scrum methodology, today, is one of the most versatile of the software development methodologies available for development teams today. Developed on the idea of Agile method, it is known for its incremental as well as iterative process flow. There are three primary stake holders in the Scrum process, namely the owner of the product, the Scrum Master, and the software development team.
Each stake holder has their own job to do, which ensures that the process goes seamlessly to fulfill the customers’ requirements.
The product owner’s job consists of taking feedback from the client, and ensuring that the development team gets it and is developing on track. The Scrum Master, on the other hand, acts as an advisor to the development team, ensuring that everyone is familiar and follows the tenets of Scrum.
The execution of various sprints within the scope of Scrum makes it quite suitable for a fast-paced development environment. Each of these sprints can take anywhere from a few days up to four weeks. That allows the development team to find out potential issues and resolve them as soon as possible.
Pros of Scrum Methodology
- Multiple and short sprints allow for quick error resolution.
- It is quire responsive and welcoming of new frameworks, as it involves consistent feedback with the users.
- Using Scrum is cost-effective.
- With each sprint, there is a meeting which ensures that all the team members know the goal and scope of the project.
- The contributions and wins of individual team members are acknowledged in the meetings for a confidence boost.
Cons of Scrum Methodology
- Every member of the team must have comparable skill if Scrum methodology is to work.
- The process of a daily meeting for Scrum can quickly get boring and draining for the people involved.
- Can also result in an increased time-to-market if not managed properly.
- Not recommended for large and extensive software development projects.
Scrum Methodology Applications
Scrum methodology is ideal for software projects where the requirements are vague, so it needs to be able to adapt to sudden changes. A great example is a project where the developers are tasked with creating a minimal viable product, yet the definition of what the client desires within that is not clear.
The most important factor when using Scrum method, is to ensure that everyone is experienced and committed to this software development methodology.
Waterfall method is one of the oldest software development methodologies ever used. However, despite its age, it is still relevant, and is used for a number of projects even today. The idea behind it is very simple. Waterfall follows a straightforward linear method, where the stages are arranged in a sequence of orderly cascading processes.
Its simplistic method makes it easy for developers to understand and implement, and is especially beneficial for software development teams with new or less-experienced resources. Each step of the method must be finished completely before moving on to the next stage. However, once you move on, you cannot go back to the previous stage.
That is why, while straightforward, Waterfall is rarely used by experienced developers due to its rigid methodology. Even less-experienced teams prefer not to use Waterfall method if their project requires rapid or constantly changing instructions.
Pros of Waterfall Method
- With its linear flow, it is one of the simplest and easiest methodologies to use, a is quite popular with new developers.
- Due to its rigidity, Waterfall requires that all project requirements and goals are specified clearly before the start of the project.
- Due to its rigidity, clarity is important when it comes to instructions and goals. Any miscommunication can cause the development process to be derailed, which will cost both time as well as money.
Cons of Waterfall Method
- Unlike Agile, the process of feedback comes quite late in development. This can cause issues, like the identification of missing features which affect the adoptability of your product in later stages, meaning that you have to go back and start again.
- Like feedback, the testing phase is also performed at the end of the project. This means that any potential issues, no matter if trivial or critical, will often require far more effort to resolve so late in the process.
- Complex software development projects require flexibility for changes, which is why Waterfall is not suited for such tasks.
- Unlike Agile, the focus here is on comprehensive documentation before the start of the project, which can often result in a lot of time spent at this stage. This unnecessarily extends the timeline of the project.
Waterfall Method Applications
Waterfall is especially suited to development projects where the goal and scope are clearly defined, and not liable to change at any time during the development process. For projects that have a more abstract end-result, Waterfall is not one of the software development methodologies of choice.
It is also well-suited to teams where the developers are new and inexperienced, and are liable to get sidetracked by the constantly changing scope of projects in methods like Agile.
DevOps is one of the most modern software development methodologies. However, for those who understand the concept behind it, it is far more than just a software development method. If implemented correctly, it can also support a great organizational culture.
The premise behind the working of DevOps focuses on establishing and improving communication and collaboration between the various groups of members on your development team. Each group of resources would be working on their assigned section of the software project. by improving the flow of information and teamwork, the end product of the development project will be of a far better quality.
There are other software development processes that too focus on improving communication between the various elements of the team. However, DevOps is the only one which can be applied at an organizational level, improving the overall workflows and processes at the upper level.
Pros of DevOps Methodology
- DevOps helps reduce the time to market, by lowering the rate of failure for project releases.
- It also reduces the time it takes to fix any issues that might pop up, maximizing up-time for the project, and improving reliability.
- DevOps relies on continuous deployment processes, which can help development teams improve the reliability of their development and deployment operations, by making them seamless.
Cons of DevOps Methodology
- There are some businesses who do not prefer the process of continuous updates to their software projects.
- For projects that require extensive testing regimens before each update is made, DevOps can be almost impossible to implement.
- Some elements of quality control rely on the human factor, which can hamper the smooth process that DevOps is known for.
DevOps Methodology Applications
As it is applicable even at large, enterprise level organizational setups, DevOps can be used for some of the larger, more extensive, software development projects. Due to its continuous deployment process, it can be extremely beneficial for projects that require a constant stream of updates and fixes to keep it running.
However, it is that exact continuous deployment feature, which prohibits its use in software projects which require extensive testing before deploy.
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Feature Driven Development
Like Scrum methodology, Feature Driven Development is also based on Agile. It one of the few software development methodologies that take the concept of Agile and implement it in different ways, for different applications.
The goal of FDD is simple – to remove and reduce the possibility of any confusion and ambiguity that could lead to costly redevelopment. Feature driven development is often thought of as a method that specifies and focuses on specific elements and features of the project. However, that is not true.
What it does actually do, as its name suggests, is break down the development of the software project into small, achievable features. For each of the features specified, the development team goes through the complete software development cycle, starting from planning, then design, and finally development.
Generally, each feature of FDD rarely takes more than two weeks to complete, and its impact is best experienced in larger teams, where there is a lot of extensive documentation involved.
Pros of Feature Driven Development
- Divides larger and complicated tasks into smaller, more manageable goals. This helps boost morale, as well as efficiency.
- Allows larger teams to work on multiple activities at the same time, by dividing into smaller groups internally.
- Extensive use has resulted in the creation of a set of defined industry standards, which helps teams predict the rate of success.
Cons of Feature Driven Development
- Requires a highly experienced lead or manager, as the task of breaking down and managing the project into smaller tasks can be quite difficult.
- Not suitable for smaller teams, as the process of breaking down tasks and working on them in smaller groups require a lot more manpower than small teams have available.
- Not suited for smaller projects, as its primary working model requires a project large enough to warrant breaking into smaller activities.
Feature Driven Development Applications
Among the software development methodologies used nowadays, feature driven method is one of the best processes to follow. It works best for larger projects, which allows it to maximize the benefits from its iterative manner, but also gives it a better structure.
However, on the other hand, FDD requires that your team be experienced enough to implement and follow the feature-driven model. Moreover, you would need a lead who is not only competent, but is also experienced in FDD to take charge of a team using it as their software development methodology.
Extreme Programming (XP) Method
Extreme programming, or XP for short, is also one of the software development methodologies that proscribe to the agile process. Its primary focus is on producing the highest level of software products, using the best industry practices. XP uses the concept of sprints, short development runs, that are used to release frequent software updates that allow quick and urgently needed changes to be made easily.
Essentially, the concept of extreme programming relies on four basic tenets. Unlike other software development methodologies, XP does not rely on steps, rather, it prefers development processes that comply with its core values.
These values include:
- Simplicity in design, developing only what needs to be created, and no more.
- Seamless collaboration and transparent communication between team members.
- A constant stream of constructive feedback.
- Respect and trust within the team.
Pros of XP Method
- The need to understand what the customer wants require extensive paperwork, which can help developers create a more reliable end product.
- Multiple sprints allow for better integration of new ideas and elements into the project.
- Extensive testing can help development team solve any issues that might affect user experience.
Cons of XP Method
- The process of making a process simple can result in the development team ignoring a small but crucial element which would’ve made it easier for users to adopt the product.
- Lack of relevant feedback can hinder the progress and affect the quality of the end product developed.
- Requires an experienced team lead to break down the project into tasks, and manage iterations.
XP Method Applications
Extreme programming methodology is immensely useful for larger projects, which can be easily divided into smaller tasks. However, like a few other software development methodologies, XP also requires that your team lead is someone highly experienced in running a sprint environment.
Moreover, the team needs to be clear on what features are important and should be implemented within the software project. That would ensure that all the necessary elements are implemented in the final product, without issue.
Lean Development Model
The Lean methodology is a development process which maximizes productivity by reducing waste. Introduced by Toyota, the Lean development methodology is derived from the Japanese motor company’s manufacturing ideals.
The entire premise of Lean development is that developers will aim to deliver high-quality results while avoiding wasted efforts in tasks that are non-productive. A few other software development methodologies also aim to improve productivity, but Lean is the only one that does so by focusing on reducing and eliminating elements which are a waste of resources.
Lean also focuses on a constant learning cycle, as well as considering all option before taking a decision. This allows development teams more freedom when it comes to making a decision, allowing them to consider and interpret them the way they feel would be best for the development of the software.
Moreover, this methodology assigns developers the task of identifying any issues and problems which might affect the productivity of the development process. That ensures that an efficient system is created for the project, ensuring a smooth and simple software development.
Pros of Lean Development Model
- Reduces the occurrence of elements that waste time and other valuable resource, such as redundant codes, unnecessarily extensive documentations, and other such functions.
- The focus on reducing waste to increase productivity ensures that the cost for project development is reduced comparatively.
- With the removal of redundancies, the time-to-market is also shortened.
- By allowing the teams more freedom regarding decisions, this empowers them to produce and deliver high quality products.
Cons of Lean Development Model
- While extremely effective in developing high-quality software, Lean development demands a team of highly skilled and experienced developers. This is not only hard to find, but can also cost more than a company is willing to pay for.
- The amount of decision-making responsibility in Lean can often end up overwhelming new or less-experienced developers, which affects their productivity.
- Moreover, the entire process of Lean development requires creating a lot of documentation, which can be a burden for the entire team, and especially the business analysts.
Lean Development Model Applications
It is one of the few software development methodologies that are ideal for small to medium software projects with tight budgetary constraints. With its focus on minimizing wastage, the team will be tasked with maximizing the efficiency using a small team of resources to achieve maximum results.
However, while Toyota uses Lean principles on a massive, industrial scale, Lean loses its benefits as the scope of the projects expands. That is because for larger projects, you will automatically need a larger development team, which can be hard to manage within the scope of Lean methodology.
Prototype Model Development
We often see that for larger software projects, companies often release a limited-functionality prototype for users to test, assess, and provide feedback on. This prototype contains the core functions and features, and allows for controlled evaluation and modification of software projects, based on client perception.
Using the feedback given by the testing customers, the prototype goes through several changes and modifications that slowly brings it towards what the client expects and desires. The process of producing a proof-of-concept, and then refining it according to the customers’ needs is why companies who want to produce a new and innovative product prefer this method.
The Prototype methodology requires clear and transparent communication, within the team of developers, as well as with the customers. That allows the released product to be perfectly suited to the prospective customers’ needs, which ensures better adoptability and greater market share when fully released.
Pros of Prototype Model
- The iterative process model of the Prototype methodology allows for early detection and solution of any potential issues that might cause problems later.
- Makes sure that the potential customers are satisfied with the core product, before the development begins on the actual, finished product.
- Generates hype among users before the finished product is released, building anticipation as well as a connection with the potential customers.
- Helps gather critical information on what the customer desires from the finished product, which helps developers create and maintain the actual finished version.
Cons of Prototype Model
- The time it takes to take a product from the core functionality, using multiple iterations of feedback and development, can take too long for some projects.
- As the prototype is limited when it comes to functionality, it may not be what the customer is looking for when the final version is released, which defeats the purpose.
- As the cost is usually paid by the development team during the development of the prototype, it runs the risk of going over budget in the long run.
Prototype Model Applications
As the name suggests, the Prototype methodology is used when the project has a large number of unknown variables. That results in confusion about the scope and direction of the project, which if not handled correctly can be catastrophic to the project’s success.
That is why in such scenarios you can use the Prototype methodology to identify any issues at the start of the development process, reducing the risk of failure, as well as the time, cost, and labor associated with it.
Choosing The Right Software Development Methodologies
It is always best to choose your desired software development methodologies at the start of the project, along with the other critical data needed. This will ensure a smooth workflow from the beginning of the project, making the process seamless and problem-free.
However, choosing the right software development methodology is far from easy.
Each method has its own pros, cons, and preferred usage scenarios. Teams which prefer a faster time-to-market prefer methodologies based on the Scrum model, while waterfall model is preferred when predictability and accuracy are important factors.
To sum it up, teams need to evaluate their resources and project requirements, to understand what software development methodology would suit their project the best.
Choosing More Than One Software Development Method
In some cases, more than one software development methodology might be called for. However, getting the right balance between your chosen methodologies can be a bit tricky.
When your project requires multiple development methodologies, you need to ensure that the primary working process and the idea behind their inception does not clash. For example, if your project needs a methodology with fast time-to-market, you should never choose a methodology that works on the iterative model.
Moreover, in order to ensure that your team is able to follow along with the multiple methodologies you’ve chosen, you will need an experienced team lead, at the very least. For the best results, however, you will need to hire an expert .NET developer lead who is already well versed with such scenarios.
What Factors Do We Need to Asses When Choosing Our Software Development Methodology?
There are a large number of factors that can help you choose the perfect software development methodologies for your project. However, the factors listed below are some of the most important, which can help you choose the best option for your project.
- Understand what your client/ software product/ prospective user needs from your services
- Evaluate the characteristics of your software project, and what is its primary development objective.
- Determine the level of flexibility you and development team can afford.
Once you work out these three core factors, it will help you choose the software development methodology best suited for your software development project.
Importance of Software Methodologies in Software Development Lifecycles
We have studied the pros and cons of different software development methodologies, and looked at the applications that can use each of them. After that, we can say that depending on the project requirements, our choice of suitable development methodology changes too.
For some of the most common software development methodologies, we can use them for:
Projects where the requirements are not fully defined and have a tendency to change, or where an incremental development model is required.
Projects where the budget and time-to-market is flexible, yet the requirements are definite and fixed.
Large projects with lots of elements or features, and you have a large team of experienced resources to divide them up into smaller groups.
Smaller projects which need to be done in a short span of time.
Projects where the robustness and security of the product is extremely important, and each new development needs to go through several risk assessments, requiring a longer timeframe for completion.
Your chosen software development methodologies are very important for the success of your software project. The huge amounts of effort and resources dedicated to designing, developing, and testing of the product is wasted if there is no proper guiding methodology helping them reach the desired goal.
Each development methodology, from the ones mentioned earlier, to several others, are designed to fulfill the specific purpose they are created for. That is why, before we begin developing our project, we need to evaluate the needs of the software product we are going to develop, and choose a methodology that aligns with its desired goal.
And while it may be hard to choose the right one for your project, the tips and essential factors discussed in the article will help you make the right decision.