A well-implemented and successful project is the outcome of proper planning and strategy. Software development methodologies are all about planning and smooth software development at every stage of the process. There are various development methodologies with their own strengths and weaknesses. A software development company must choose the methodology that will work best for their project at hand.

Here’s an overview of some most commonly used and efficient software development methodologies.

Waterfall Model

It is a classic and traditional software development model. The life cycle of this model works sequentially and allows flow only in a linear fashion. This means any phase of the development process begins only when the previous stage is completely executed. It also doesn’t allow backward movements; changes in previous phases cannot be done.

Phases in the Waterfall model: Requirement gathering, Design and development, Implementation, Testing and Maintenance.

Advantages:

  • Easy to understand and use. Most beneficial for novice and beginner developers.
  • The rigidity of the model makes it easy to manage. Each phase requires some specific deliverables.
  • Most efficient for small projects where requirements are clearly understood.
  • Testing is easily done by reference to scenarios mentioned in earlier functional specifications.

Disadvantages:

  • Works efficiently only when precise upfront requirements are available.
  • For projects which include regular maintenance, this model is not suitable.
  • Editing in the previous phase can’t be done as this model does not allow going back to the previous phase.
  • Though it works well for small projects but is not ideally suitable for long and on-going projects.

Agile Development Methodology

Agile development methodology is an adaptive approach used to design a disciplined software management process. Unlike the Waterfall model, this methodology allows frequent alteration in various phases of the development process. The agile development methodology is popularly used to minimize the risks of bugs, changing requirements and cost overruns.

Phases in Agile Development Methodology: Requirement Analysis, Design, Development, Quality Assurance, Deployment and Release to Market.

Advantages:

  • The primary benefit of this method is that it allows the release of software in iterations.
  • Constant communication and feedback from the clients leave no space for guesswork here.
  • It’s an adaptive approach that enables changes at every phase of development.

Disadvantages:

  • This method relies on real-time communication; often lacks documentation.
  • Requires huge commitment from users and developers 

Rapid Application Development

RAD is a condensed development process that provides much quicker development and high-quality results. The primary objective of this methodology is to accelerate the development process. It also allows user participation in the development process.

Phases in RAD: Requirement Planning, Iterative user design and construction, Testing and Cutover.

Advantages:

  • Most useful for medium to large-sized projects that are time-sensitive.
  • Allows clients to take a quick review of the project
  • Focused on customer feedbacks that eventually improve the end result.

Disadvantages:

  • Requires a strong team with individual expertise performers to clearly identify the requirements.
  • This approach demands highly skilled and expert developers.
  • Not suitable for small projects with a low budget as the cost of modeling and automated cost generation is very high.

Dynamic Systems Development Model

Originally based on RAD methodology, it is an iterative and incremental approach that focuses on continuous user involvement. Intending to deliver software on-time within budget, this model works on the philosophy of iterating and continuously changing processes.

Phases in Dynamic Systems Development Model: Feasibility and Business study, Design and Build, Implementation and Functional model.

Advantages:

  • High user involvement.
  • This model allows basic functionality to be delivered quickly, with more functionalities offered at frequent intervals.
  • On-time within budget project delivery.

Disadvantages:

  • Not suitable for small projects.
  • Demands highly qualified and skillful developers.
  • Costly to implement.
  • A relatively new model, therefore, is not easily understood and not commonly used.

All these software project development methodologies have their own qualities. All these work efficiently in a specific environment depending upon the nature of the project. It is expected that one may work well for a particular project and may not for another project. No methodology is the perfect fit for every situation. The developers working in different software development companies must know and understand all these methodologies to make an informed decision and correct choice for their software development project.