Choosing the Right Software Development Model to Improve the Project Flow
When it comes to software development, specialists come across some software development models to choose from. Each of them leads the developer a certain way considering project scope, timeframe, project size, and budget or engineering level.
Once you choose the right software development model, it will improve the team’s productivity, reduce defects in the final code, and facilitate product maintenance.
Choosing between numerous software development models is always a challenge in product development. It’s useful for project performance not to change the model after the project start. That is why it’s important to know the ways and means different software development models used to identify:
- how your company will reach the goals of the project
- directions and methods on how to achieve en-route tasks
- solutions to fix the problems.
We choose how to plan, reach the target, fix some inconsistencies. The same is about software development methodologies. The team should choose what range of processes they will implement for the development of the project. In the blog, Innovecs shares not only an overall profile of the top software development models but sheds some light on how each one contributes to the project’s success.
Top 5 software development models: benefits and peculiar features
In software development to choose the right methodology, it’s necessary to assess the needs of the project stakeholders, learn more about each model, and establish the list of your critical criteria. Here are some of the questions, which can be helpful in choosing the right model to manage the product development process:
- Is SDLC suitable for team size and skills (e.g. in software development outsourcing)
- Is it OK for the chosen technology
- Does chosen software development model meet the requirements of the clients and stakeholders
- Is it suitable for software type and complexity
- Does it enable work in the distributed team format
- Does it manage project risks efficiently?
The list of the questions above can be extended as well as there are more than five SDLC models. But some of them are so niche or not frequently used that companies choose them rarely.
Goodfirms.co, a platform for research and reviews of IT companies and software, placed a survey on what are the most frequently used SDLCs and what software engineers appreciate about them.
61.5 % of surveyed companies chose Agile noting that it’s convenient for “managing continuously changing client’s requirements, deeper client’s involvement, and efficient team collaboration”. 23.10 % of the representatives were sure Scrum was granting the necessary level of team collaboration, viable client involvement. Few companies (only 9.60%) prefer using waterfall with its rapid progress, linear and sequential approach.
Agile methodology: responding to change for the sake of project performance
Atlassian, a software provider for managing product development, outlines the Agile “iterative approach” to software development as the one helping to deliver value to the customers faster and with “fewer headaches”.
Manifesto for Agile software development considers the following core values:
- individuals and interactions prevail processes and tools
- customer collaboration is over contract negotiation
- working robust software is over comprehensive documentation
- responding to change is always over following the plan.
The Agile methodology of software development involves collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams, which follow disciplined project management with frequent inspections, fixing, and adaptation. The greatest benefit is that possible errors, bugs, and inconsistencies can be found in the early stages for better project performance overall.
Techbeacon.com platform surveyed 601 developers and IT professional to prove the concept that “Agile has become a new norm in IT environment”. And two-thirds of them described their company as “pure Agile” or “leaning towards Agile”. What’s interesting that among the rest one-third of the respondents 24% of them specified that they used a mixed approach, where Agile took place, too.
Scrum for Developing and Sustaining Complex Products
Scrum as a methodology assists teams in tighter, clearer collaboration. Scrum Guide outlines it as a productive framework for developing and sustaining complex products.
Scrum sprints are known for their fixed productive periods of time when the team works to complete a certain amount of work. Both developers and clients appreciate this approach for the ability to move the project forward quickly. Following scrum basic principles it’s easy to perform empirical process control, find out obstacles in the way of the product development.
Melissa Boggs, co-CEO of Scrum Alliance, explains the essentials of the Scrum methodology as that one “helping to the team to learn how Scrum can help serving the client better”. This approach is a possibility of a continuous team’s improvements throughout the software development process.
A Scrum master doesn’t deal with the project scope, budget or product development timeline. His or her main responsibility is to make sure the development team has everything necessary for building the product iteratively. While applying Scrum methodology developers work in a sustainable environment with the opportunities to improve their system.
Waterfall: the Basics of the Sequential Approach
Agile and Scrum are perfect under unclear user requirements, changing project environment, and stakeholders to manage shifts efficiently. But if the team faces a project of software development under clear and stable client’s demands under the limited but perfectly managed skills set of the developers, it’s reasonable to apply a standardized Waterfall sequential approach.
The team is never moving under the Waterfall approach until the precious stage is fully completed. Ben Aston, the Digital Project Manager at LucidCharts, shares his opinion about Waterfall as “not poor methodology (as it is often treated), but as a quite sustainable approach, if the project scope is clear, stages are known and well documented.
Waterfall model is simple and easy to understand and use. Each stage takes place separately and completed one at a time. Macadamian.com platform, a development consultancy blog, emphasizes that the Waterfall model looks like a number of stages, after completion of which the team has got large end final outcome.
A key difference between Waterfall vs. Scrum or Agile is that before start stakeholder should gather and document all the requeremtns thoroughly, and only after that they may deal with the design, developemnt, and testing. It may seem not so flexible, but under:
- limited skillset of the team
- presence of the project reusable components, and
- strong project management
it’s OK to apply Waterfall not to have extended team (hence, extra administrative expenditures) with additional members (Scrum Master or project managers) included.
V-shaped SDLC vs Waterfall: Another Approach to the Testing Phase
V-shaped SDLC may look very much alike the Waterfall approach. But a key difference that Waterfall has one common testing phase after product development and design completion while under the V-shaped methodology testing takes place after each development cycle. This peculiar features of a V-shaped development model may come handy if more precise testing is needed to fix the bugs not after the project completion.
On the initial stage under a V-shaped approach only a document described user requirements is introduced. The document usually describes system’s functionality, interface peculiarities, desired performance, and security requirements.
Further, following the other two sequential stages developers deal with the choice of the techniques, and selecting a software product architecture type to perform the desired functionality.
Airbrake, a provider of a software errors and performance monitoring, evaluates that among their clients V-model is “heavily adopted” by the medical device industry. And one of the main reasons the product owners appreciate this approach is that it gives ideal time management if project has a strict deadlines.
Iterative Software Development Model: Simple Implementation of a Subset of Software Requirements
Concerning the timeline Iterative approach delivers the possibility to split the whole development process into smaller stages. TechTarget specifies that the very idea of a repeatative (iterative) code writing can be found as Agile common practice (“iteration” or “sprint”).
Due to this model applicationg product owner can get:
- a code working from the start (due to iterations and bug fixes in the begining)
- higher business value with each iteration
- possibility to adapt changes throughout the development process
- a team use resources for the design effort only for that what will be built next (not for the whole product).
Iterative model can help to plan parallel development cycles and spend less time for documenting. But at the same time it is not suitable for small projects, because it demands more resources to perform changes and iterations, project progress is very much dependent upon the risk analyses phase.
That is why if the team has to cope with a clearly defined short-term project, Iterative model can be a “time-eater” rather than a working mechanics for hight performance.
Each SDLC has pros and cons. Both client and developers team will benefit from choosing the right one considering project scope, timeline, budget, and technology applied.
Why it’s important to match the software development model and the project scope
Even if any of the described above methodologies seems to deliver a range of advantages, it doesn’t matter if it suits your project. Because the choice of the SDLC depends on the:
- project budget
- technology the developers are dealing with
- team skillset
- project schedule and timeline.
Imagine you chose a waterfall engineering model for a complex software development project, where the client is still hesitating about the software prototype or the demands for the future product. For sure, you will face difficulties if you try to change the consequences of the planned stages or the necessity of new skills will occur with the course of the project. The waterfall approach seems to be poor to perform even slight changes under project flow.
CTO Universe, a platform bringing together SDLC content from the industry leaders, emphasizes that choosing the right SDLC model leads not only to successful software release but contributes to establishing special policies. They make an example of accessible software development (designed for people with disabilities). Such projects demand the incorporation of special policy, skills, and QA additional processes.
A wisely chosen approach to software engineering in specific cases like in the example above will lead to smooth teamwork even under changing policy of the project.
Many years ago IT specialists were discussing the “Software is eating the world” concept proclaimed by the Wall Street Journal (by Mark Andreessen). But now the discussion of perfect and suitable software engineering models is underway. Because it is known for the specialists how much effort they need in case a mistake occurs: things can go even worse if they apply the wrong model, not capable of managing current tasks.
Namely, to fix bugs, forecast and eliminate inconsistencies, and correct errors in time, development teams identified an approach they would like to use during the software development lifecycle.
Each approach has its own advantages:
- Agile gives vast abilities to react efficiently to project changes or the demands of the stakeholders. It eases and smoothes the collaboration inside the team
- Scrum sessions can deliver fresh insights, and ease decision-making because it gives a clear view of what’s happening inside the team. You see every approach targets software development with high performance in case it’s chosen correctly
- The Waterfall is more productive in dealing with the fixed clearly defined goals and gives the possibility to reach them in time with full completion of every planned stage
- V-shaped model is as sequential as the Waterfall is, but it supposes powerful testing phase after each stage completion
- Iterative approach provides the development team with the possibility of an early prototyping, and less time spending on documenting, but more resource used for designing.
It is impossible to say that one of the models is a perfect one. It is useful to learn about their features if your team is struggling with the undefined process of software development, search new ways to optimize the development phase and reduce project risks.
If after reading the blog you still have questions on which approach suits your project better, you are welcome to ask about any details with no hesitation to the Innovecs expert team.