The simple guide on choosing a software development methodology Check out this simple guide and know your options. 

Nov 25
Read 5 Min

All successful projects require awesome management. If you’re aiming for top-notch outcomes and increased efficiency, it’s paramount to draw the right moves. That includes choosing a fail-proof methodology and following its concepts. So, what is a software development methodology, which ones are the most popular, and how to pick the one that will get you the best results? There are several key facts to grasp and aspects to take into consideration when choosing a software development methodology.

What is a software development methodology?

Software development methodology applies to structured processes needed when working on a specific project. It represents a combo of design philosophies, good communication, and pragmatic thinking – among other things. Also, to do so, it encompasses a well-established process (or series of processes or operations). The main goal is to offer a superbly organized approach to each stage of software development.

These days, most tech companies agree that employing a software development methodology is essential for their team. Now, here’s the good and the bad news: there’s more than one method. And since they all have some serious pros and cons, choosing a single one seems to be an eternal dilemma.

What are the basic software development methodologies?

When choosing a software development methodology there are three absolute pillars of SDLC that determine how the whole thing will play out, which steps will be taken, and how long it will all take. They include:

  • Agile,
  • DevOps,
  • Waterfall.

Of course, that’s not all. There are many other efficient and prevalent methodologies software companies tend to use. One of the noteworthy ones is Rapid Application Development (RAD). However, we will focus on these three most elementary methods. So, this is how it goes: a project manager or the dev team as a group should pick an approach that suits them, matches their aims, scope of work, and time frames. So, let’s get going and see what each option looks like.

Agile methodology is often a top pick

When choosing a software development methodology, most development teams rely on the Agile development methodology because it helps them reduce risks. That way, they can minimize snags and stumbling blocks like bugs, increasing costs, and changing requirements. One thing is common in all agile methods. Dev teams build the software in multiple iterations that include mini-increments of the new functionality. So, there are many forms of Agile out there. Scrum, Crystal, Extreme Programming (XP), and Feature-driven Development (FDD) are the most popular ones.

The key perk of this approach is that it allows the software to be released in iterations. That way, the efficiency increases, and all errors can be fixed early on. But even though many love to use these methods, they don’t suit all needs equally well. And because of that, many firms come up with hybrid methodologies. Agile is usually a better fit for smaller and mid-sized companies, while the giants prefer to utilize Waterfall methodology.

DevOps combines proven techniques

DevOps is actually way more than just a software development methodology. It is, in fact, a set of practices that builds up organizational culture. It focuses on organizational shifts that improve efforts and teamwork between different departments. These teams are responsible for various segments of the SDLC, like development, quality assurance, and operations, and the DevOps role is to bring them closer.

Its goal is to shorten the time to market, lower the failure rate of new releases, cut the lead time between fixes, and reduce disruption while boosting reliability. To accomplish this, DevOps organizations automate continuous deployment to make sure everything is a smooth sail. As a result, companies that use DevOps methods are likely to improve customer satisfaction, product quality, and employee productivity and performance.

Simultaneously, some customers resent continuous updates to their systems, which can be a major drawback. Also, different departments use different environments. That can cause unnoticed issues to slide into production. So you better keep an eye on these cons as well.

Waterfall is the old reliable method

Many think that the Waterfall method is the most classic and time-honored software development approach. It is a pretty rigid linear model that is made of sequential phases focusing on distinct goals. These usually involve establishing requirements, handling design, covering implementation, taking care of verification, and dealing with maintenance. Each stage needs to be finished and perfected before the next one can start. Going back to revise and change the project or direction is rarely an option. This methodology is very simple and manageable. The objectives are perfectly clear, and all requirements are precise. However, this tactic has a downside, too. It can often be slow and become costly.

How do you choose a software development methodology?

As we have seen so far, each option has several significant advantages. And it goes both ways. Every single method will probably imply a few flaws and inconveniences. So, which is the best software development methodology for you? Well, to answer this question correctly, you must do a bit of introspection. Know your actual needs, focus on the flow and flexibility, and think of the ideal reaction from your user persona. Plus, there is a matter of outsourcing software development or having a remote dev team. So, let’s just see why each of these aspects is paramount to explore.

Be sure about the precise level of flexibility

Before picking an SDLC model, you will have to consider the flexibility of your specification. Agile (and some similar iterative methods) are usually the best fit for web and app development. These types of projects often entail rapid changes and adjustments that are frequently introduced along the line. On the other hand, the Waterfall is optimal for stable and predictable projects with fixed requirements and predetermined steps.

Know who your users are & go for a tested formula

If you have a controlled group of end-users on your hands, you’ll most likely have a principally fixed set of requirements to work with. That would make Waterfall ideal for your team and project. However, if your target end-users are very diverse and their personas feel scattered all over the place, you’re in for some serious feedback collecting after the launch. Translated into tech and business terms, this means requesting new features. So, in this case, Agile is the best SDLC model for you.

Keep the scale and scope in mind

The scale of a project is one of the key factors that define the number of developers needed on board. The equation is ridiculously simple: the larger the project, the larger the tech team. Therefore, large-scale projects demand much more complex and precise project management plans, and you can guess which method is consistent with these aims. Gigantic firms and a colossal amount of work will call for a Waterfall approach.

Know that location plays a huge role

Are you planning on insourcing or outsourcing your dev tasks? We all know it – countless companies use outsourcing to reach their goals faster, obtain better results, boost productivity, and get a cheaper solution without cutting down on quality. If you’re among them, it is safe to say that your outside dev team needs a clear roadmap to follow and that communication has to remain on the highest level. On the other hand, many in-house tech teams also work remotely. The new normal has changed the ways we all operate and brought the urge to come up with instant solutions and appreciate simplicity (even more).

So, if your development team is spread across multiple regions (and even time zones), then there’ll be a greater need for extra planning, more consistency, and higher accountability. And because of that, a more fixed project management system is often the best fit. This is the scenario where the Waterfall seems to be the most advantageous. Still, although Agile demands more regular contact and palsy-walsy teams, many will rather go for it because it’s a better match for them when it comes to the company culture. Take this crucial aspect into account, too.

Go for the right software development methodology & secure the best results

It is always best to start from the basic stuff. So, what is a software development methodology? We have learned that it stands for a process (or series of processes) that are used to define and complete a software development life cycle. And by canvassing the ones that are most sought-after, we’ve got an idea or two of how they can help. Ultimately, we reviewed a couple of tested ways to select the best one for your business and dev team. Now, the rest is entirely up to you. Apply these insights & nail your targets.

So if you are done choosing a software development methodology and you need a professional BPO company with a track record of tech expertise to rely on – we’ll be happy to hear from you!

 

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Tatjana Zotovic