Top 5 Software Development Methodologies

Top 5 Software Development Methodologies

Software development is an ever-evolving field that is indispensable in modern society. It encompasses designing, coding, testing, and maintaining computer software according to specific user requirements; thus, it forms the basis of modern apps, websites, and systems.

Software development aims to produce high-quality applications that solve problems, increase productivity and provide an enjoyable user experience. To achieve this goal, software development company employs a systematic process that begins with understanding the needs and objectives of the software project before designing and implementing solutions accordingly.

Software development typically comprises several stages, from requirements gathering through analysis, design, coding, testing and maintenance. Every stage requires careful planning, collaboration and attention to detail from all parties involved. Software developers use various programming languages, frameworks and tools for software application creation - translating requirements into efficient, scalable and secure code that meets client requirements.

Software development encompasses various methodologies, from the traditional Waterfall model to more agile approaches such as Scrum or Kanban. The decision on the methodology depends on both the nature of the project at hand and the preferences of its development team.

What Are Software Development Methodologies?

Software development methodologies refer to structured processes used when undertaking a project, from the conceptual designs and pragmatic realities back to early computing days that provide a systematic approach towards software development.

Following such methodologies can benefit software professionals as it provides a structured sequence of steps to guide professionals through each stage of development. Furthermore, development methodologies often follow a design philosophy that can assist developers with aligning their process and product's features to its functional goals - for instance, defining what the product does or any issues it solves for users as part of its design philosophy is often part of this approach.

Software development methodologies are systematic processes engineers employ when working on various projects, helping software engineers organize task execution, assessment and control methods in an orderly fashion.

Software development methodology refers to any process or series of processes used in software development. While its definition may be broad, SD Methodology typically involves design and development phases and non-iterative methods like a waterfall. In most cases, SD Method is divided into defined phases to describe how software evolves from conception through completion and beyond.

Types of Software Development

The type of software development employed often depends upon project requirements, development team strengths and an organization's overall goals. Here we explore some of the most prevalent methods and their unique characteristics.

Waterfall Development

Waterfall Development Waterfall development is a straightforward approach to software development that follows a predetermined, sequential process for requirements gathering, design, implementation, testing and deployment. Each phase (requirements collection, design, implementation testing and deployment) must be complete before moving to the next. This type of development works well when working on projects with established requirements that clearly understand their end products; however, this might prove less suited when changes need to be implemented during development.

Agile Development

Agile development is an iterative, flexible methodology emphasizing collaboration and adaptability. It fosters close working relationships among developers and stakeholders throughout the development process. Agile methodologies like Scrum or Kanban allow continuous feedback and adjustments throughout each development sprint, making this development ideal for projects with evolving requirements that need frequent iteration cycles.

Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Rapid Application Development is a form of software development specializing in rapidly building functional prototypes with the aid of reusable components, iterative development, and user feedback. RAD seeks to decrease development time and costs while producing usable software quickly, often utilized when an urgent deadline or rapid prototyping is required.


DevOps (Developer Operations, or DevOps for short) is an amalgamation of development (Dev) and operations (Ops) designed to streamline software development and deployment processes. DevOps emphasizes collaboration, automation, continuous integration/delivery (CI/D),and bottleneck reduction. With DevOps development and operations teams work collaboratively throughout all software lifecycle phases to reduce bottlenecks faster, speed up delivery of high-quality software releases quicker, reduce bottlenecks as well as reduce bottlenecks between updates/deployments/ updates/deployments/ updates/deployments/updates or deployments/upgrades frequently - perfect for projects requiring frequent updates/deployments/upgrades/deployments.

Prototype Development

Prototype development entails creating an initial version of the software with limited functionality to gather user feedback and test feasibility. Prototyping allows developers to quickly validate ideas, identify potential issues and refine requirements before moving forward with full-scale development. Prototyping is often employed in user experience-focused projects where usability plays a significant role.

Incremental Development

Incremental development divides a complex software project into smaller increments or modules for testing and deployment, using all stages of the software development lifecycle, such as planning, analysis, design, implementation testing and deployment for each increment. This approach allows developers to deliver functional software pieces in stages for early feedback and risk management purposes - an especially helpful method when dealing with complex projects with evolving requirements.

Mobile App Development

Mobile app development entails creating software applications specifically tailored for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, including those running the iOS or Android operating systems, in terms of designing user interfaces, optimizing performance, leveraging the unique capabilities of each mobile device as well as designing user experiences that make sense on a screen. Today's digital landscape makes mobile app development highly sought-after.

Web Development

Web development refers to designing websites and web apps that run on browsers. This process encompasses frontend development - which deals with the user experience - and backend development which encompasses server-side programming and database administration. Web developers employ technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and various frameworks as a part of this field of software engineering. With an ever-increasing demand for online presence, this area remains essential in software engineering.

Top 5 Software Development Methodologies

Here is an overview of some of the more commonly utilized software development methodologies and why different methodologies exist.

Agile Development Methodology

All agile methods involve developing software in iterations containing mini increments of new features - including scrum, crystal, extreme programming (XP) and feature-driven development (FDD). Various forms of agile development methods include scrum, crystal XP or feature-driven development (FDD). All forms contribute to creating an agile software development cycle.

Agile software development cycles can be broken down into six steps:

  • Concept
  • Inception
  • Iteration/Construction
  • Release
  • Production.
  • Retirement

The initial step, concept, involves the identification of business opportunities within each potential project and estimating the time and work required to complete it. With this knowledge, projects can be prioritized according to technical and economic feasibility before progressing.

At inception, team members must be identified, funding arranged, and initial customer requirements discussed.

Iteration/construction is the third step of agile software development services and involves teams beginning to produce working software based on requirements and user feedback. This iterative cycle typically lasts two to four weeks with an end date set; its goal is a working product ready for launch upon each iteration completion.

The release is the last stage, consisting of final quality assurance testing, resolution of any outstanding defects, finalization of system and user documentation, and finally, releasing the final iteration into production.

After release, production takes the next step and provides ongoing software maintenance support to keep it running smoothly while teaching users how to use it effectively. It continues until either support has ceased or it is time for the product's retirement.

When retiring a system release from production, it should either be replaced by another release or removed due to becoming outdated, redundant, or incompatible with business objectives.

Related: Advantages of Hiring a Dedicated Software Development Team

DevOps Deployment Methodology

DevOps is more than a development methodology; it's also an approach to culture change within an organization. DevOps deployment entails organizational changes which enhance collaboration between departments responsible for different parts of development life cycle management such as development, quality assurance and operations.

DevOps Software Development Cycle

DevOps' process flow emphasizes agility and automation.

Continuous Development

Continuous development (or iterative development) refers to an iterative process for creating software products that will be delivered directly to customers. This may involve continuous integration, testing, delivery and deployment - each step being part of this larger process.

Implementing a continuous development strategy and sub-strategies enables businesses to deliver new features or products faster while meeting higher quality and risk standards without significant bandwidth restrictions.

Continuous Integration

Continuous integration (CI) is a software development practice often seen within DevOps process flows. Developers regularly commit their code changes into a central repository where those updates are tested automatically.

Continuous integration (CI) ensures developers can access the latest, validated code. CI helps reduce delays by enabling multiple developers to work simultaneously on one source code rather than waiting until release day to integrate separate sections simultaneously.

Continuous Testing

Continuous testing is a verification process to help developers ensure the code works exactly as designed in real-life environments. Testing can uncover bugs or highlight specific aspects of the product that require further attention or improvement, which can then be fed back into development stages for continued enhancement.

Continuous Monitoring and Feedback

Maintain Continuous Monitoring and Feedback at every point in the development pipeline, and your team should implement measures for continuous monitoring and feedback of products and systems developed. Much of this monitoring should be automated to provide continuous feedback loops.

IT operations use this process to quickly identify issues and alert developers of changes.

Continuous Delivery

Continuous Delivery (CD) is the next logical step after Continuous Integration. Changes to code are automatically built, tested, packaged for release into production and delivered quickly and sustainably to end users. The goal is to update users quickly yet sustainably.

CD automates the release process (based on automated testing in CI) so that new builds can be released at a click of a button.

Continuous Deployment

Continuous deployment for experienced DevOps organizations, continuous deployment may be preferred over continuous integration (CI). Continuous deployment provides fully automated versions of both CD and CI with no manual intervention necessary.

See More: Custom Software Development Cost, Process and Time

Waterfall Development Method

Waterfall development method Many consider the waterfall method the classic software development methodology, with five sequential phases comprising requirements gathering, design development, implementation testing verification maintenance. Each phase must be 100% complete before starting its next stage, and there's usually no way to backtrack or change directions in any phase. There are 5 stages commonly found within a Waterfall process.

5 common stages in a Waterfall process

Assuming you're developing software, the Waterfall process typically includes stages such as these:

  • Requirements: The Waterfall methodology assumes that all project requirements can be collected and understood upfront, with the project manager doing their best to gain an in-depth knowledge of the sponsor's expectations. Written requirements serve as the main document detailing each phase of the project: costs, assumptions, risks, dependencies, success metrics and timelines for completion.
  • Design: Software developers use design to provide technical solutions to product requirements, creating scenarios, layouts and data models to meet them. First, a higher-level or logical design is made, which describes the purpose and scope of the project along with general traffic flows of components and integration points before finally being translated into physical designs using specific hardware/software technologies.
  • Implementation: After the design is complete, technical implementation begins - possibly the shortest stage of the Waterfall process, as all necessary research and design have already occurred. Should significant modifications arise during this stage, this may necessitate returning to the design phase for adjustments.
  • Verification or testing: Before releasing any product to customers, rigorous testing must occur to ensure there are no errors and all requirements have been fulfilled; this ensures the user experience with software is optimal. A team dedicated to testing will use documents, personas and user case scenarios provided by product managers in creating test cases for this process.
  • Deployment and Maintenance: After the software has been released onto the market or customers, its maintenance phase begins. As user defects or change requests arise, a team will be assigned to oversee updates or new versions of it being made available to them.

Rapid application development

Scott Stiner is the CEO and President of UM Technologies. Forbes quoted him: "RAD allows us to adapt quickly to changes in a fast-paced market - resulting in low, upfront investment costs."

Steps in Rapid Application Development

Rapid application development (RAD) methodology comprises four phases: requirements planning, user design, and construction and cutover. These four basic steps represent Rapid App Development:

  • Define the requirements: Rapid application development sets itself apart from traditional software development by shifting away from detailed specifications-gathering workshops with end users, instead requesting broad requirements that enable you to take time segmenting them throughout development.
  • Prototype: Here lies the actual development. Instead of following rigid requirements, developers create prototypes quickly with various features and functions for display to clients, who will decide what they like and don't like about each prototype.
  • More often than not, prototypes are created quickly to show just the key features. This is the norm; finalization happens when the client and developer agree on what their final product should look like.
  • Construction: The construction stage of development is of critical importance. Engineers and developers work tirelessly to turn a working model into a functioning system with regular feedback sessions from engineers and developers working on it. Reviews play an essential part in this stage, as bugs, issues, or changes must be addressed promptly during this phase of the development cycle. Often this phase can last for an extended period when clients change direction frequently, or feedback becomes numerous.
  • Deployment: The final stage of Rapid Application Development is deploying the built system into a live production environment. This phase includes rigorous scale testing, technical documentation and issue tracking, final customizations and system simulation.

Scrum Methodology

Scrum is the go-to agile framework. Based on empirical techniques, it can quickly adapt to fast-changing or priority emerging requirements.

Scrum refers to iterations as sprints. As part of its software development plan process, this approach starts with brief planning for each sprint before holding daily scrum meetings to track its progress, ending in a final review meeting.

Scrum methodology is ideal for projects with loosely-defined requirements and client feedback and requires teamwork, transparency, and regular status updates to speed up development.

Scrum Phases and Processes

Scrum processes represent the activities and flow that make up a Scrum project. There are 19 such processes listed in SBOK(r),which have been organized:

  • Craft a Project Vision Statement: In this step, a review of the project business case is used to create a Project Vision Statement, which serves as inspiration and focus for the entire endeavor. Furthermore, the Product Owner is identified in this phase.
  • Form Scrum Team: In this process, members of a Scrum Team are identified. Generally, Product Owners bear primary responsibility for selecting team members with assistance from Scrum Masters.
  • Define Epic(s): For this process, user group meetings or vision statements are the starting point in creating Epics.
  • Establish Prioritized Product Backlog: Done Criteria are established at this stage.
  • Conduct Release Planning: As part of this process, the Product Owner works alongside their Scrum Team to develop a Release Planning Schedule - effectively an organized deployment schedule shared with project stakeholders - along with sprint length determination.

Selecting an Appropriate Methodology for Your Business

Deliberately selecting the ideal methodology is critical to any business's success, providing a structured approach to problem-solving, managing projects, and reaching goals. Unfortunately, with so many methodologies out there it can be daunting trying to select one that's a best fit. In this article we will address key points to keep in mind when selecting one for yourself.

Understand Your Business Needs

Before choosing a methodology, it is vital that you have an in-depth knowledge of your business needs and objectives. Recognize any challenges your organization is currently facing as well as goals it desires to attain; for instance if your focus lies with software development Agile/Scrum may be best-suited; while Lean/Six Sigma could be more appropriate based on manufacturing processes.

Consider Your Team's Expertise

Asses the Expertise of Your Team Evaluate the skillset and expertise of each of your team members before selecting a methodology. Different methodologies require different skill sets and levels of expertise, making it important to select one that fits with the capabilities of your team members. If a method has worked well in the past, sticking with it may be more efficient; alternatively if your team is open to trying something different you could consider considering methods which offer training or support to help them adapt.

Evaluate Flexibility and Adaptability

Consider the flexibility and adaptability of any methodologies that you are considering for use within your business. Businesses frequently face unexpected changes that require their chosen methodology to adjust. Agile methodologies, for instance, have proven adept at accommodating rapidly shifting environments by being adaptable enough to adapt quickly as requirements evolve over time - this feature could prove especially advantageous if your industry operates quickly changing environments.

Assess Project Size and Complexity

Project size and complexity play an essential part in selecting an appropriate methodology. While certain approaches might work better with smaller, simpler endeavors, others are meant to handle larger endeavors with more intricate requirements - for instance Waterfall's traditional sequential methodology might work best when dealing with projects with clearly-outlined requirements while Kanban may provide better support for ongoing tasks.

Examine Your Time and Resource Constraints

First, evaluate the time and resource constraints within your business. Certain methodologies require more time and resources to implement and sustain, so consider availability of team members, budget constraints, project deadlines and project completion dates when making decisions about implementation methods such as Rapid Application Development (RAD) or Extreme Programming (XP). These approaches could potentially expedite development faster.

Find Industry Best Practices

Explore industry best practices and standards relevant to your business. Different industries tend to favor methodologies which have shown success within their sector; review case studies, success stories and advice from industry experts in order to determine which techniques have become popular among professionals in your field.

Conduct Pilot Projects

Prior to fully adopting a new methodology, conducting pilot projects may prove valuable. Select a small-scale project and implement the method under evaluation to assess its success within your business environment. Doing this allows you to identify any challenges or receive feedback from team members while making more informed decisions on its suitability for your organization.

Seek Advice

If you need guidance in selecting an approach, seek expert advice from industry professionals, consultants, or mentors. Their insights may prove useful as you learn more about various methodologies from discussions to workshops to online forums that highlight them all.

Conduct Pilot Projects

After Selecting and Implementing Once you have selected a methodology, it is critical that its performance be regularly reviewed and any necessary adaptations made as soon as possible. No methodology is perfect, so identifying areas for improvement and making adjustments accordingly are vital steps in keeping it effective and meeting business goals. Track outcomes of projects undertaken using your methodology as you gather feedback from team members before optimizing implementation by making adjustments necessary for continuous improvement.

Stay Open to Evolution

Methodologies change over time with new approaches and practices emerging, so keep up-to-date with industry trends and advancements to remain up-to-date on methods that may better suit your business needs. Foster a culture of learning and adaptability so your organization remains agile and competitive.


Software development methodology is an indispensable element of application development. Understanding its various approaches will enable you to identify which one best meets your development process and achieve desired results. Don't neglect committing time and energy into objective planning, budgeting, resource allocation planning, product creation or time frame considerations before choosing your method - software development methodology will assist in selecting an approach tailored specifically to you so as to achieve project development success!

Software development methodologies offer a structured way of building software and apps. Since early programming days, these methodologies have become essential tools for modern developers.

Since new methodologies are continually being introduced, it is impossible for any methodology to become the clear winner. Selecting the ideal software development methodology depends on a range of factors including team structure, experience level, project requirements, goals, budgetary considerations and any additional underlying considerations.

Software development methodologies provide an excellent starting point for any software project. This overview and its accompanying benefits and drawbacks will enable you to select an approach best suited to you and your company.

Software development methodologies are extremely essential when it comes to software projects, and are widely utilized across a range of software development ventures. All these popular methodologies may work better in certain projects based on their nature; sometimes one methodology that may have worked for one project may not suit another one entirely.