Software Development Methodologies

Software Development Methodologies

Most Effective Software Development Methodologies

Throughout the decades, various software development methodologies have been introduced. The goal is to assist you in creating better software development projects. There is, however, no one-size-fits-all methodology for every development team.

Continue reading to discover which software development methodology is best for you.

What Is the Definition of Software Development Methodology?

The term “software development methodology” refers to the structured processes that are used when working on a project. It is a synthesis of design philosophies and pragmatic realism that dates back to the dawn of computing. The goal is to offer a methodical approach to software development.

Various software development methodologies have been introduced over the years to capitalise on available technologies and resources. Software development methodologies provide a framework for developers to collaborate more effectively as a team. It governs how information is shared within the team and formalises communication.

Many IT companies today agree that using a software development methodology is critical for their team. However, the question of which method is the best remains unanswered. This is due to the fact that there isn’t one. Each methodology has advantages and disadvantages.

The best out of one is determined by the team structure, requirements, and goals. Different software development methodologies can also be used for different projects.

Why Should You Use Software Development Methodology?

It should be emphasised that it is critical to select a software development methodology and stick to it throughout the project. When you take software development methodology for granted, you run a number of risks.

Developers can suffer from customers’ ever-changing requests without structured guidance, and this is exacerbated when there are miscommunications. As a result, the software is frequently revised without regard for the project’s overall implications.

The end result? Wastage of time, money, and effort with the risk of producing a subpar application that does not add much value.

The goal of software development methodologies is to benefit both the development team and the customers. Choosing the right one ensures that discussions take place through the proper channels and that decisions are made after considering all factors.

By employing a software development methodology, the team can reduce inefficiency and provide a more accurate delivery timeline. It keeps the team from reacting to every input, allowing them to be more organised and structured when dealing with unexpected changes.

There are 8 different types of common software development methodologies.

Developers have a plethora of software development methodologies to choose from. The majority of methodologies fall into one of three categories: waterfall, iterative, or continuous.

In terms of implementation, a waterfall methodology follows a set sequence. Developmental stages are defined in a strict, sequential order. Because of the certainty in project scope, this model was very popular in the early days of programming. The rigidity of its structure, on the other hand, contributes to a high failure rate for many projects.

The iterative model for software development provides an alternative that is less focused on rigid documentation but allows for constant revisions. It employs multiple sprints to rapidly develop and test ideas to ensure that they are relevant to users. As a result, problems are resolved early on, and the team stays on track with the project’s objectives. Two of the most popular iterative software development methodologies are Agile and Scrum.

The Toyota Production System inspired the continuous model. It is about minimising disruption or ensuring a smooth transition between stages of development. The goal of the continuous software development method is to reduce waste and increase the efficiency of the various phases.

Here are the top eight software development methodologies used by today’s developers.

Methodology of Agile Development


In recent years, agile methodology has arguably become one of the most popular software development methodologies. It takes a different approach than the standard, linear method. Instead of emphasising documentation and rigid procedures, Agile focuses on how to satisfy users.

Agile divides tasks into short sprints that take 1 to 4 weeks to complete. It is an iterative model with multiple tests as development progresses. Developers constantly solicit customer feedback and make changes to the software.

Communication is a top priority in Agile, especially among developers, customers, and users.


  • Because of iterative testing and fine-tuning, the software has few defects.
  • Clarity between team members during development, thanks to the frequent and transparent development.
  • Changes in project requirements are easily addressed and implemented with minimal disruption to the timeline.
  • An overall improvement in the quality of the deliverable.


  • Overwhelming change requests can cause the team to lose focus.
  • Documentation takes a back seat in Agile, which can cause issues later in the development process.
  • Agile emphasises discussions and feedback, which can be time-consuming for teams.
  • Agile requires experienced developers who can work independently due to its non-structured approach.

Appropriate For

Agile methodologies are ideal for projects with rapidly changing requirements. If you’re developing software in a new market, you should use Agile. It is best to implement additional ideas as you learn more about market requirements. Of course, this assumes that your development team is self-sufficient and comfortable working in a fast-paced, unstructured environment.

Overview of the Waterfall Development Methodology

Despite being used for decades, the waterfall methodology is still used in some projects today. It is a straightforward, linear approach in which development stages are organised into sequential, cascading processes.

The waterfall development methodology is simple to grasp, making it popular among teams with little design experience. Before proceeding to the next stage, each stage must be completed. For example, before design can begin, all requirements must be established.

There is no turning back in this approach, just as there is no turning back in a waterfall. As a result, waterfall is a rigid method that should be avoided for projects with rapidly changing requirements.



  • The waterfall model’s linearity makes it simple to understand, especially for new developers.
  • Before development begins, all specifications and deliverables are spelled out.
  • The waterfall model eliminates the possibility of information miscommunication because each stage is clearly defined.


  • It does not include customer feedback in the early stages, which increases the risk of the project deviating from its intended path.
  • Testing is only executed at the end of the development. Some issues are more difficult to resolve later on.
  • The waterfall model’s rigidity leaves no room for change, making it unsuitable for complex projects.
  • The team may devote too much time to documentation rather than providing solutions that solve the user’s problems.

Appropriate for Use Only use waterfall when you have a project with a well-defined scope. It is unsuitable for development with many unknowns. Waterfall is best suited for projects with predictable outcomes and teams of inexperienced developers.

Overview of Lean Development


Toyota’s lean manufacturing principles inspired lean development. It aims to reduce waste while increasing productivity. Using the guiding principles, developers can avoid non-productive activities while delivering high-quality results.

The Toyota-inspired methodology also prioritises continuous learning and decision deferment. It enables teams to keep an open mind throughout the development process and consider all factors before making a decision.

Developers are tasked with identifying bottlenecks that could stymie the process using the lean methodology. The goal is to create an efficient system that operates flawlessly. The methodology also emphasises human respect, so communication is essential for improving team collaboration.


  • Reduces project waste such as redundant code, unnecessary documentation, and repetitive tasks.
  • The lean principles reduce the overall cost of development.
  • Because lean development promotes efficiency, the time to market for the software is reduced.
  • Team members’ motivation will increase as they gain more decision-making authority.


  • Lean development requires a team of highly skilled developers, which is difficult to put together.
  • Less-experienced developers may become overwhelmed by their responsibilities and lose focus on the project.
  • Detailed documentation is required, putting a significant burden on the business analyst.

Appropriate For

Lean development is ideal for working on a small project with a limited budget. Its principles of minimising waste and increasing efficiency mean you’ll be able to achieve incredible results with a small team. Lean development becomes less practical for larger projects because it requires a larger team to complete the tasks.

Overview of the Prototype Model

Instead of creating a full-fledged software, the prototype model allows developers to work on the final product’s prototype version. After that, the prototype is made available to customers for testing, evaluation, and feedback.

The prototype is refined several times based on the feedback received until it is deemed satisfactory by the customer. The prototype approach’s appeal stems from its rigorous evaluation, which uncovers potential issues before actual development begins.

The success of this approach is dependent not only on the development team, but also on how well they communicate with the customers during the test. It’s also worth noting that the cost of building the prototype is frequently borne by the developers.



  • Effective in resolving potential issues early in the development process, lowering the risk of product failure.
  • Before beginning real development work, ensure that the customer is satisfied with the ‘product’.
  • Early on in the discussions, establish rapport with the customer, which will help throughout the project.
  • With the prototype, collect detailed information that will be used to build the final version.


  • Excessive back and forth in testing the prototype with the customer can cause the development timeline to slip.
  • Customers’ expectations of the final product may differ from the prototype.
  • Cost overruns are possible because prototype work is frequently paid for by the developer.

Appropriate For

When developing software with many unknowns, the prototype model is ideal. Consider an online platform with high user interaction. The prototype model allows you to discover what works best with users while lowering the risk of developing the actual product.

Rapid Application Creation


The Rapid Application Development (RAD) model, which was introduced in 1991, served as the foundation for modern iterative frameworks. It focuses on producing products in a much shorter time frame without sacrificing quality.

RAD is a four-step framework that includes project requirements defence, prototyping, testing, and implementation. RAD, as opposed to linear models, emphasises creating prototypes based on the given requirements and testing them with the customer. This is repeated several times until the customer is satisfied with the results.

Extensive testing of the prototype yields valuable feedback, which aids in the elimination of much of the product risk. Using RAD increases the likelihood of a successful product release within the timeframe specified. RAD frequently employs development tools that have the potential to automate and simplify the development process.


  • Regular customer feedback reduces risks.
  • Customer satisfaction has increased.
  • It is suitable for small and medium-sized applications.
  • Shortens time to market.


  • Customer responsiveness is critical.
  • Customer satisfaction has increased.
  • It is suitable for small and medium-sized applications.
  • There is a lack of documentation to track progress.

Appropriate For

You’ll get the best results from Rapid Application Development if you have a team of experienced developers and customers who are equally involved in the project. Communication is essential for completing projects using the RAD method. To accelerate development, you’ll also need to invest in RAD tools such as low-code/no-code applications.

Overview of the Dynamic Systems Model

Much of the Dynamic System Model’s principles are derived from the Rapid Application Development framework. This refined methodology is aimed at delivering projects on time and aligning project goals with business needs. It consists of four iterative phases: feasibility and business study, functional model, design and build, and implementation.

End users are heavily involved in providing feedback throughout the process. This reduces the risk of straying from the project goals and requirements. The Dynamic Systems Model also includes detailed documentation, which most Agile frameworks lack.



  • The iterative approach ensures that basic software functionality is delivered as soon as possible.
  • Developers have more control over the timeline and budget for development.
  • Throughout the development process, necessary documentation is created.
  • Maintain communication between end-users and developers to keep the team on track.


  • It can be quite costly to carry out. Heavy user and developer involvement is required, and training them costs a lot of money.
  • Smaller teams will struggle to implement this methodology.
  • The model’s concept and implementation are quite complex.

Appropriate For

The Dynamic Systems Model is not appropriate for small organisations. Instead, it is better suited to large organisations that are burdened by red tape, bottlenecks, and redundancies. It simplifies communication between different teams by breaking down rigid processes into smaller iterative parts.

Overview of Feature Driven Development


FDD, or Feature Driven Development, is an Agile-based software development methodology. Its goal is straightforward: to avoid confusion, which leads to costly rework. FDD is sometimes misunderstood as focusing on each software feature. It is not the case.

Feature Driven Development divides development activities into a feature list for the overall model. Developers go through an iterative process of planning, designing, and building for each feature. A feature should typically take no more than two weeks to complete.

FDD produces quick, significant results for each of the activities listed as features. This method is intended for large teams, and information is communicated via detailed documentation.


  • Breaks down complex tasks into smaller activities, increasing efficiency.
  • Allow large groups to work on multiple tasks at the same time.
  • Predictable success is achieved by adhering to predefined standards and best practices.


  • Smaller projects are not suitable
  • The lead developer is extremely important because he or she is in charge of coordinating tasks among members.
  • Because the model is driven by activities, it can occasionally deviate from delivering value to end users.

Feature Driven Development is best suited for larger teams working on complex projects. It combines the best features of an iterative framework with a more structured approach. You should ideally have a capable lead developer in charge of FDD.

Scrum Product Development


Scrum is widely regarded as one of the most adaptable software development methodologies available. It is founded on the Agile philosophy and is popular due to its incremental and iterative approaches. The Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team are all involved in the Scrum methodology.

The product owner solicits client feedback and ensures that the team is on track to meet the client’s requirements. Meanwhile, the Scrum Master serves as a facilitator, ensuring that team members understand the Scrum process. The team is in charge of carrying out the development.

The way tasks are completed in sprints makes Scrum an ideal methodology for a fast-paced environment. Each sprint can last up to four weeks. The rapid execution enables teams to quickly identify issues, introduce solutions, test, and gather feedback. It makes dealing with time-sensitive projects much easier.



  • Short iterations allow for rapid problem resolution.
  • Scrum is very adaptable to changes because the process includes frequent feedback.
  • Scrum is both cost-effective and efficient.
  • Regular meetings ensure that team members are always on the same page.
  • Individual members’ contributions are recognised and appreciated during Scrum meetings.


  • Scrum can only work if all team members are equally skilled and committed.
  • For team members, the daily Scrum meetings can be exhausting.
  • If the deadline is not strictly enforced, it may lengthen the time to market.
  • Large projects are not recommended.

Appropriate For

Scum is the go-to methodology for projects with ambiguous requirements that must adapt to frequent changes. For example, you may need to create an MVP quickly and test it with users. Remember, Scrum is only effective if your team is fully committed and experienced.


Software development methodologies guide the development of software and apps. They have been used since the early days of programming and continue to be essential for modern developers.

While new methodologies are introduced over time, none have proven to be superior to others. The best software development methodology for your team is determined by factors such as team structure, experience, project requirements, goals, budget, and other underlying factors

With the detailed descriptions, we hope you have a better idea of which methodology is best for your team.