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Overview Of The Most Popular Software Development Methodologies

Various factors produce a decisive impact on the success of a project, and a properly chosen software development methodology is one of them. All methodologies have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of an approach depends on the type of project, its goals, timeline, budget, and client preferences. Below is an overview of the most common methodologies that project teams select. Let’s get right to the point.

What Is a Software Engineering Methodology?

Software development methodology provides a structured approach to software development. This system allows developers, designers, and all other professionals involved in the development process to work effectively as a team. It systematizes communication between team members, determines the order of tasks, as well as methods of assessment and control. There is no consensus among IT companies on the best methodology since each has its own pros and cons. The decision to use one or another approach is made individually, depending on the type of project.

Three Main Types of Software Development Methodologies

Developers are spoiled with a wide selection from the various development methods available, which makes the choice even more difficult. Below, we will look at the main methodologies, their strengths and weaknesses to help you make the right choice.

Agile

Software engineers use this flexible development method to avoid bugs and cost overruns. This methodology involves dividing the work on new features (functions) into iterations (sprints).

Each sprint is dedicated to working on a particular task, at the end of the sprint the results of the work are summarized, the feedback from the client is analyzed and, if necessary, changes are made. The Agile software development methodology can be of several types: scrum, extreme programming (XP), crystal, and feature-driven development (FDD).

Pros

  • Through iterations, developers can find and eliminate defects in the software product in time.
  • Engineers and customers work together to develop the product, so customer expectations are agreed upon early on.

Cons

  • As this method focuses on effective communication, sometimes the necessary documentation is not available.
  • Continuous testing of the product takes a long time.
  • Flexible development can have a negative impact on the product’s release date.

Waterfall

This classic model is linear and rigid. It is characterized by the sequential passage of stages (research, design, development, testing, implementation). Every stage has its own goals, and the next stage begins after the previous one has been fully completed.

Pros 

  • Makes the development process easy to understand and manage.
  • Great for novice project teams and medium-sized projects with transparent requirements.
  • All objectives and specifications are spelled out at the beginning of the process.

Cons

  • Due to the heavy emphasis on documentation, the process may be slow. 
  • Testing is carried out at the end of the development, so some changes are hard to make.
  • The model doesn’t involve an analysis of customer feedback at the earliest stages.

Feature Driven Method (FDD)

The basis of this model is the division of the development process into a list of functions. For every feature, the stages of planning, design, and implementation are determined. As a rule, an iteration for one feature takes two weeks. Communication is implemented through documentation, so this model is suitable for large teams.

Pros

  • Allows large teams to work on several tasks at once.
  • Improves efficiency by breaking down complex tasks into smaller steps.

Cons

  • This model is not suitable for small projects.
  • For the most part, success depends on the lead developer.

Bottom Line

We’ve shared with you the most widely-used software development methodologies. All of them have their strengths and weaknesses, so pick a model based on particular project requirements.

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