Pros and Cons of Major Software Development Methodologies
One of the largest US stock market makers struggled to stay afloat after a software bug caused a loss of $440 million in just 30 minutes. The company’s shares lost 75% in two days after the faulty software flooded the market with erratic trades—Knight’s trading algorithms launched faulty trades through nearly 150 different stocks.
That’s why choosing the right system and style of management is the key to successful software development. Today, we have tons of approaches, and they all have their pros and cons. It’s a difficult and crucial task for your future or ongoing project to choose the smartest strategy as well as define objectives, budget, and deadlines.
We have investigated the most popular and beneficial software development methodologies to give you a distinct image of what the industry suggests at the current moment.
Types of Software Development Methodologies
What is the software development life cycle (SDLC) all about? It has to do with breaking the workflow into milestones, as well as distributing tasks among dev team members.
Moreover, it assumes taking a concrete approach to organizing and streamlining the entire development process and teamwork management. That is why there are a bunch of types of methodologies aimed at improving SDLC. We examined the most useful SDLC models that you should pay attention to.
Agile Development Methodology
Agile methodology is a practice that stands out from traditional programming models, with its continuous iteration of development and testing throughout the entire software development life cycle. When a project is agile-based, both developers and testers work in parallel.
All collaborators in an agile process (including project owners, developers, tech leaders, testers, and scrum masters) are not afraid of changes that emerge unexpectedly in the workflow. On the contrary, they seek changes and consider them to be good things because those modifications mean that the team learns more about customer demands and investigates new ways to improve the product.
Agile team participants work together on all aspects of the project, where each one can contribute to the whole. Meanwhile, no single teammate is solely liable for the architecture, the requirements, or the tests. Those responsibilities are shared among team members and can be influenced by each of them.
- A flexible approach that favorably responds to changes
- Provides better communication within the team to maintain transparency
- Improves quality by finding and fixing bugs instantly
- Identifying expectation mismatches early
- The product goes to the market faster
- Suitable for long and ongoing projects
- Lacks documentation efficiency
- Sometimes processes are hard to predict
- Possibility to get off track due to frequent changes
Agile project management has different frameworks with their own specific sets of benefits. The most frequently used are scrum, lean modeling, and extreme programming. Due to how popular agile development methodologies are in modern IT companies, we decided to outline some methods separately and have a more detailed look at them.
Scrum Development Methodology
As part of Agile methodology, many teams apply scrum to help structure more complex development projects. A survey by Coding Sans shows that it is the most widespread agile framework exploited by companies in 2019 (60.58%).
Scrum is known for its flexibility, productivity, and the innovation that it brings to a team’s one-day tasks. It has an incremental development structure, meaning you divide the project into tasks that are classified into three groups: analysis, development, and testing.
Key characteristics of Scrum:
- Teams work in timeboxes called “sprints,” which usually last two to four weeks
- A living backlog of prioritized tasks to be done
- A fixed list of backlog items in a series of sprints to be completed
- A brief daily meeting is scheduled for the team to describe the progress, upcoming work, and possible bottlenecks
- A short planning session is performed to define backlog items for the next sprint
- A retrospective is held for all team members to discuss the past sprint
- A scrum master identifies and removes obstacles from the workflow to achieve the sprint goal
- Verbal communication is fostered across all team members and all aspects involved in the project
One of the main benefits of this approach is the ability to respond and to solve emerging problems early and quickly. The scrum development method is by far the most flexible. For this reason, it also quickly deals with projects having changing requirements.
- Decision making lies in the hands of the team
- Business requirement documentation is considered insignificant
- Lightly controlled method empathizing with frequent updating
- Costs needed can often be uncertain
- Not suitable for large projects
- Only a highly professional team is involved, with no place for novices
While agile programming models continue to hit the IT market, we would like to shed light on a more traditional but equally as popular one, waterfall methodology.
Waterfall Development Methodology
The absolute opposite to the previous approach, the waterfall methodology is strict and linear. This model is regarded as a traditional representation of software development. Its linear and sequential flow means that any phase in the development process begins only if the previous phase is completed. What’s more, there is no going back to the earlier stage. This approach is easy to understand as it presupposes a strict sequence of completed tasks.
- Simple and easy to understand and use, especially for a junior developer
- Easy to manage because of the rigidity of the model
- Suitable for small projects where requirements are clear
- Allows for easy testing and analysis
- Presupposes minimum client intervention while being dependant on the team only
- Only works when exact, up-front requirements are given
- The testing period starts quite late in the development process
- Bugs can be fixed only during the phase of development
- No opportunity to release working software until it reaches the last stage of the cycle
- No possibility to know the result of the entire project
- Not suitable for long and ongoing projects
- Small changes or bugs in the completed software may cause a lot of problems
Despite being inflexible and out of date, this methodology intended to eliminate unnecessary paperwork, time-consuming regular meetings, and backlogs (list of the features, bug fixes, infrastructure changes, or other operations a team may deliver to achieve a specific result). So, this is an excellent option for small projects where all the aspects of development are clear from the very beginning.
Although extreme programming (known as XP) is another agile methodology, it’s primarily used for creating software within an unpredictable environment. In extreme programming, developers usually work in pairs and customers can freely alter their requirements.
The main goal of the XP model is to lower the cost of software requirements while boosting the quality of the product owing to its ability to adapt to dynamic changing demands. In addition to that, constant feedback and communication is the key to an efficient team environment.
- Focuses on customer involvement
- Helps to make rational plans and deadlines to get the developers personally committed to their schedules
- Developers are exceptionally committed to the project
- Continuous testing and continuous integration (CI) ensure the delivery of high-quality code
- Effectiveness depends on the people involved
- Requires frequent meetings for development, raising total expenses
- Necessitates for excessive development changes, which are often hard to adopt every time for the developer
- Exact possibilities and future results are unknown because, at the starting of the project, nobody’s aware of the entire scope and requirements of the project
Unlike Waterfall programming, where the requirements for the software are defined and often “frozen,” XP means that the price of changing the requirements at a final stage in the project can be very high.
It is the best choice if you have a deadline to deliver software without a precise understanding of how it must work, and the risk is higher. XP is set up to address and minimize the risks and increase the likelihood of success.
Lean Software Development
Lean software development, with its 12.81%, is the fourth popular methodology after scrum, kanban, and agile modeling. It was inspired by lean manufacturing practices and resulted in seven principles: eliminate waste, amplify learning, decide as late as possible, deliver as fast as possible, empower the team, build quality in, and see the whole.
Value for the customer is a quintessential element of the whole approach. If something is worthy, it should be implemented at once; if not, it should be removed. Lean development focuses primarily on loss reduction. That is why the entire project is examined thoroughly in advance to minimize any wasted time or money. Since value is the core component, feedback plays a pivotal role itself, so that the actions are taken immediately.
- Ideal for a low-budget project with tight time limits
- Delivers more functionality in a shorter period, enabling more projects to be done
- Empowerment of the team helps to boost their decision-making ability, which results in higher motivation
- Success greatly depends on the working capacity of a team
- Excessive flexibility can lead to loss of a focus
Lean programming focuses on the creation of easily changeable software. The goal of this methodology is to develop software in less time, with a minimal budget and resources involved. This, in turn, helps to create more overall value for customers and enhances their satisfaction.
Besides already renowned approaches, there are also newcomers to the SDLC scene. Typically, such models emerge from older trends and combine their characteristics. Let’s have a look at the DevOps model.
DevOps Development Model
As this article explains, DevOps appeared from applying agile and lean practices to operations and the general tendency in business to see the value of collaboration between development and operations personnel at all stages of the SDLC.
In a DevOps model, developers and operations members cooperate—and sometimes as a single team—to speed up innovation and the deployment of first-class and robust software products. Updates to products are small but frequent. Continuous deployment (CD), continuous integration (CI), and automated testing are all basic principles of the DevOps model.
- Faster delivery of a fully-functioning software product
- Provides cost reduction on the average
- Improved workflow management
- More reliable releases
- Quick bug fixing
- The integration of a different approach requires a skilled team. Along with that, your company has to standardize the processes and procedures
- Companies prefer CI and CD processes to test automation while automated testing is one of the essential parts of the approach
- The DevOps approach involves massive investments of both time and money
Like many SDLC approaches, DevOps is not only a way to plan and execute work, but also a new concept that demands significant mindset and culture changes within the company.
Innovecs Solutions to Efficient Software Development
Choosing the right model for your software development project requires careful thought. But keep in mind that a methodology for planning and conducting your project is only one key ingredient for success. Even more critical is assembling a reliable team of experts committed to driving the project forward through every unexpected challenge or setback.
Therefore, we suggest you become acquainted with a project an Innovecs team brought to life and continues to deliver the full support for it.
At the time of addressing the Innovecs team, one client had a legacy platform developed by third parties engineers and had serious system flaws. The main issue was that the system was not scalable and the architecture did not allow it to withstand minimal loads for this type of product. In addition, the product was not user-centric in terms of functionality for admin users.
A product is a transformative platform dedicated to simplifying the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and renewable energy installation and service landscape by matching the end-users to an on-demand qualified workforce through the automated asset DNA match-technology.
То make an existing system work seamlessly, the Innovecs team had to rewire the platform from scratch. The client also wanted frequent releases during the development process. The project collaborators, in turn, designed a customized workflow based on the agile methodology to meet this demand.
The configured flow allowed us to solve the current system issues and made the development process flexible and predictable at a time. This unique agile-based workflow accelerated the increase of the product’s functionality and growth as a whole effectively. Meantime, the team delivered fulltime product support.
To Sum up: Pick the Right Model for SDLC to Grow Your Business
To get the desired outcomes from the development process, it is essential to first choose the best approach. Companies have to dedicate much time and effort to define their goals and objectives, estimate the budget, and set deadlines. If you want to succeed, you must understand which method to follow.
Every system has its benefits and drawbacks that need to be taken into account. Agile programming, for instance, is flexible and time-restricted. It is perfect for long and ongoing projects while being sometimes hard to predict.
Regarding the waterfall model in SDLC, it’s simple, easy to understand and use, and easy to manage, because of its rigidity. On the other hand, it is only useful for small projects and works effectively only when exact, up-front requirements are given.
For this reason, be careful and scrutinize every methodology before picking one. The Innovecs team is always ready to help you decide what type of software development to choose and which is more important to help you succeed.