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A Complete Guide on Software Development Methodologies 2020

With technology being developed beyond our imaginations, we are now able to control everything from our fingertips. Nowadays, there are software applications for anything at all. Statista states that global spending on enterprise software solutions is around 426 billion dollars in the year 2020. This type of acceptance and constant growth of software applications encourages software development companies to use different software development methodologies.

Table of Content

  1. What is Software Development
  2. What is Software Development Life-cycle
  3. Different types of Software Development Methodologies
  4. Conclusion

Different software development methodologies enable software developers to create systems aimed at specific business objectives. These techniques have certain benefits and obstructions. But their prime focus is to provide a smooth and straightforward software development process.

Here in this complete guide, you will get detailed information about 14 different software development methodologies. You can then decide which is best suited for your project.

What is Software Development

  • Software development refers to understanding, specifying, designing, programming, and testing applications and frameworks. The three basic types of software are- Application Software, System Software, and Programming Software.System Software It provides core functions of operating systems, utilities, disk management, and hardware management.
  • Programming Software It offers programmer tools such as compilers, linkers, text editors, and debuggers.
  • Application Software The software apps help users in performing tasks. The software can be like data management software, office productivity suites, security programs, and more.

What is the Software Development Life-cycle?

The software development lifecycle (SDLC) is a process where the software development work is divided into different phases to advance design and project management. This technique is used by the software industry that desires to produce high-quality software that meets the client’s expectations.

The software development lifecycle (SDLC) consists of the following stages –


The primary stage of SDLC is planning and requirement scrutiny. This step is performed by senior team members of a software development company. The planning stage involves collecting inputs from the customers, market surveys, sales department, and industry experts’ domain experts. All the collected information is then used to draft the basic project concept.

Defining Requirement Analysis

After planning and requirement analysis, the next step is to document the product requirements and get the customer’s approval. This step is carried forward through the Software Requirement Specification (SRS) method. The SRS defines all the product demands that need to be designed and developed in the life cycle.

Designing the Product Architecture

Once SRS is prepared, it acts as a reference for product architects to create the best architecture for the products that are going to be developed. The designing team prepares more than one design approach and proposes it through Design Documented Specification (DDS).

Developing the Product

Now, the actual development procedure starts. The software developers generate code as per DDS. Code generation takes lesser time if the design is presented in an accurate and organized manner. In this stage of SDLC, the developers follow the company’s coding guidelines and programming language tools like interpreters, debuggers, and compilers. Many high-level languages like C, C++, PHP, and Java can be used by the developers to create user-friendly software.

Testing the Product

Testing is an essential stage of SDLC. After developing the software, the testing department analyzes the software and checks that each module works correctly. Any error or issue in any of the modules is tracked, reported, and fixed.


Once the software is approved and ready to be used, it is released formally in the market. The software deployment process happens in different stages as per the business requirement and strategy.


Software Development

What are the Different Software Development Methodologies?

Agile Software Development Methodology

Agile is known as the most promising software development methodology that focuses on ensuring better consumer experiences. It is used for articulating the software project management procedure.

In the follow-up survey of the 14th Annual State of Agile report, it is stated that around 60% of the professionals say that Agile methodology has helped them in increasing their market speed, and 41% of the professionals agree that Agile has helped in managing distributed teams.

Agile methodology is known for its theoretical outline for undertaking several software development projects. This concept is used for minimizing the software development risk by creating iterations for the software.

Advantages of Agile Software Development Methodology

  1. Agile software development methodology offers an adaptive approach that responds quickly to favourable changes.
  2. Agile focuses on active software rather than documentation.
  3. With Agile, software developers can provide improved quality bug-fixing.
  4. It offers direct communication that helps in maintaining transparency.
  5. Agile enables the development team to expand the project resources by estimating the project cost at the beginning of the iterations.

Disadvantages of Agile Software Development Methodology

  1. There can be chances where the development team gets off-track as Agile’s outcome is not very clear.
  2. No strict project deadline.
  3. Lack of solid software development structure.

When to use Agile Software Development Methodology?

  1. Whenever any new changes are needed in the software project, Agile is the first choice of any software development company.
  2. In Agile, very little planning is required to begin with a project, and it also helps in assuming the end-users’ needs.

What are the Features of the Agile Software Development Methodology?

  1. Value-driven development
  2. Multi-level planning
  3. Continuous Testing
  4. Relative Estimation

Waterfall Model

The waterfall is a strict and linear methodology. While working with this model, the software developers can only start a new stage only if they have completed the previous one. This means that each phase of software development gradually flows into the next.

The Waterfall model is one of the most frequently used traditional methods. It uses an approach with five critical SDLC stages – information gathering, designing the modules, implementing, testing the end product, and maintenance.

Advantages of the Waterfall Model

  1. A custom software development company can implement the Waterfall model on all sizes of projects.
  2. The waterfall is straightforward to understand and functional methodology.
  3. All the stages and tasks of the software development process are well defined.
  4. This methodology ensures that the processes are finished in stages.
  5. Testing and analysis become comfortable with the waterfall model.

Disadvantages of Waterfall Model

  1. Once working with one stage is finished, going back to it is challenging.
  2. The waterfall model doesn’t provide guidelines on how to handle the required changes.
  3. Offers limited flexibility.

When to use the Waterfall Model?

  1. When the software development requirements are well-known, fixed, and clear.
  2. If the project definition is stable, the waterfall model can be implemented.

What are the Features of the Waterfall Model?

  1. The root of all other models.
  2. Linear order arrangement of all the models.
  3. Gets support from different techniques.
  4. Many versions of it are available.

Scrum Development Methodology

For the development team that wants to achieve specific results, Scrum development has proven to be easy to understand and effective. It has a flexible method and also encourages collaborative ways of managing the software development project.

With Scrum, the software development company can quickly move to the next stage of the development process and pivot.

Advantages of Scrum Development Methodology

  1. Scrum offers a faster feedback cycle, where you can know the stakeholder’s reviews after working for each module. The collaborators are always kept in the loop.
  2. With Scrum, the development team gets flexibility in terms of prioritizing the customer-driven features.
  3. It is a lightly controlled method that comprehends with constant updating in the project.
  4. The development team is responsible for all the decision-making.
  5. Scrum considers business requirement documents insignificant.

Disadvantages of Scrum Development Methodology

  1. If the time and cost estimation are not accurate, it can affect the project.
  2. For a smooth software development workflow, coordination between the team members is a must.
  3. Scrum is not cost-effective for smaller projects.

When to use Scrum Development Methodology?

  1. When the software development project requirements aren’t clear, Scrum can be used.
  2. If there are high possibilities of changes in the development process, the Scrum model is the best suited.

What are the Features of the Scrum Development Methodology?

  1. Supports self-organization and collaboration.
  2. Time-boxed activities.
  3. Self-manageable activities.
  4. Rapid and repeated inspection is supported.

Prototype Model


Based on the waterfall model approach, the prototype model significantly focuses on the customers’ feedback. The prototype model is mostly used for understanding the software requirements and conducting relevant market research.

The typical flow of the prototype methodology is – the requirement creates a design concept, and then it is shown to the client for evaluation. After this, the changes are made in the development process, and then the software goes for testing.

Advantages of Prototype Model

  1. With a prototype model, the client can easily understand the design of the software.
  2. The development team can easily identify the risk factors at a very early stage.
  3. The prototype model increases the chances of top quality functionalities and lowers the risks of system failure.
  4. Designers get early feedback from the testing department.
  5. The prototype model supports real-time tests between the customers and the developers.

Disadvantages of Prototype Model

  1. There are chances of the budget getting increased as the management cost may increase than the limit.
  2. Clients can insist on constant changes, which may not be appreciated by every developer.
  3. Repeated changes in the software can risk the analysis.

When to use the Prototype Model?

  1. When there are many interactions needed with the end-user, a Prototype model must be used to get the desired output.
  2. The development of online systems and web interfaces require the prototype model.

What are the Features of the Prototype Model?

  1. Design flexibility
  2. Easy accommodation of new requirements
  3. Easy error detection

Big-Bang Model

The Big-Bang model is a part of the SDLC. Usually, clients who do not have any knowledge about his project requirements opt for this methodology. The development procedure by using this method starts with the necessary funds and efforts.

Working with the big-bang model requires very little planning, and it doesn’t have to follow any particular procedure.

Advantages of Big-Bang Model

  1. The big-bang model requires very few resources while creating the software.
  2. It is effortless to manage methodology.
  3. Very little planning is required.
  4. Simple to use.
  5. The big-bang model gives proper exposure to beginners.

Disadvantages of Big-Bang Model

  1. Not preferable for object-oriented projects.
  2. It cannot be used for ongoing or long-term projects.
  3. Very high uncertainty level.

When to use the Big-Bang Model?

The big-bang model can be used for small projects where the software developers’ requirement is just one or two.

What are the Features of the Big-Bang Model?

  1. Easily manageable
  2. Development flexibility
  3. Best for small-scale projects

Rapid Application Development (RAD) Methodology

The RAD methodology is used for faster processing of the software. This can be achieved by developing functions parallel and then merging them. The rapid application development concept can provide high-quality results.

Rapid application development is one such methodology that focuses on accumulating customer requirements by workshops or focus groups.

Advantages of Rapid Application Development Methodology

  1. Any requirement changes can be accommodated easily.
  2. Enables to measure the project progress.
  3. Encourages customers’ feedback.
  4. RAD tools help in shortening the iteration time.
  5. Reusability of the components

Disadvantages of Rapid Application Development Methodology

  1. To implement RAD methodology, the custom software development company requires highly-skilled developers.
  2. Suitable for component-based systems.
  3. Only modularized systems can be built using RAD.

When to use Rapid Application Development Methodology?

RAD technique can be used when you have a tight deadline for delivering the software. This methodology saves your time that would go into the planning and designing stage.

What are the Features of the Rapid Application Development Methodology?

  1. Delivers project in small pieces
  2. Focuses on the source & destination of input-output information.
  3. Reusable tools, code, processes, and templates.

Spiral Model

The spiral model aims at eliminating the risks at the early phase of the SDLC. In this technique, the development procedure goes from smaller levels to big ones. This methodology moves in a circular loop to check the different designing phases until the developer is satisfied.

Each stage in the spiral model sets the goals and receives feedback from the client.

Advantages of the Spiral Model

  1. The spiral model offers extensive risk analysis that helps in reducing the risk factors.
  2. The software development team can add new features and functionalities even at the time of testing.
  3. When any project requirement is subject to change and has a high-risk, the spiral model is the best choice.
  4. Developing big projects using this methodology is feasible.
  5. This method needs a cycle to return to the earlier phases.

Disadvantages of Spiral Model

  1. The spiral model is not beneficial for low-risk software development projects.
  2. It is not always a cost-effective technique.
  3. There might be chances for the development team to keep working in a spiral without a conclusion.

When to use the Spiral Model?

  1. When software developers have to work on large projects, they can use the spiral model.
  2. When cost evaluation and risk are the two main factors of the project.

What are the Features of the Spiral Model?

  1. Handling unknown risks.
  2. Risk Analysis
  3. Risk-driven software development.

Dynamic System Development Model (DSDM)

The dynamic system development model focuses on two main points –  assigned budget and strict time frame. Its primary purpose is to provide a successful and significant software within the pre-decided time limit and budget.

The dynamic system development model is based on the RAD model and encourages users’ involvement. It gets continuous feedback from the clients to deliver maximum functionalities.

Advantages of Dynamic System Development Model

  1. The dynamic system development model enables excellent communication between the developers and the users.
  2. Easy to use and access methodology for both developers and users.
  3. The end-users are more involved in this process.
  4. Easy development of essential functions.

Disadvantages of Dynamic System Development Model

  1. The dynamic system development model is costly to implement.
  2. This methodology is not suited to small budget businesses.
  3. A team of knowledgeable and skillful developers is a must.

When to use the Dynamic System Development Model?

For the client who requires on-time and on-budget delivery of their software application, the development team must opt for DSDM.

What are the Features of the Dynamic System Development Model?

  1. Feasibility
  2. Iterative approach
  3. Disciplined structure

Joint Application Development (JAD) Model

The joint application development model implies compelling iterations between the developers, designers, and users. JAD is implemented to have a higher customer satisfaction rate. It enables the clients to have complete involvement in the software development method.

Initially, JAD was used for computer-based systems, but now it can be used for all development processes.

Advantages of Joint Application Development Model

  1. The joint application development model offers sessions that help the developers and users to get entirely involved in the software development process.
  2. It produces high-quality information in a short time frame.
  3. JAD methodology offers a faster development process.
  4. The joint application development model enables a large amount of research.
  5. By solving all kinds of issues in the software creation process, the organizer plays an essential role in this technique.

Disadvantages of Joint Application Development Model

  1. Requires trained and experienced individuals.
  2. JAD methodology is time-consuming as it requires thorough planning and scheduling.
  3. Gathering the team expert developers is time taking.

When to use the Joint Application Development Model?

  1. The software development company uses JAD methodology to prepare business system requirements at the early stages.
  2. The joint application development technique is used to bring the management information system and the end-users together in a structured workshop.

What are the Features of the Joint Application Development Model?

  1. Structured and focused
  2. Immediate elimination of errors
  3. Forum for exploring various points.

Rational Unified Process (RUP)

The rational unified process works dividing the software development flow into four phases –  analysis & design of the software, preparing business model, implementation, and software testing. The RUP methodology enables its developers with various tools like guidelines, templates, and samples of development processes.

The rational unified process continuously monitors the quality of the software and also controls the changes.

Advantages of the Rational Unified Process

  1. The RUP technique reuses the components, which can help in reducing the development time.
  2. This methodology emphasizes documentation, which is beneficial.
  3. The rational unified process can solve all the risks that occur when a client changes or adds its requirements.
  4. One can easily get online tutorials and videos of the rational unified processes.
  5. With the RUP model, integration is a continuous procedure.

Disadvantages of the Rational Unified Process

  1. The development stages in the RUP model are not always organized.
  2. Reusing the components is impossible, especially when the project needs to be developed using the latest technologies.
  3. Untrained developers can be a disadvantage in this methodology.

When to use the Rational Unified Process?

The rational unified process model can be used when the developers need to create large, complex, and engineering software.

What are the Features of the Rational Unified Process?

  1. Use-case driven model
  2. Iterative and incremental
  3. Architectural-centric

Extreme Programming Methodology

The extreme programming model is a perfect approach for changeable projects as it involves customers at almost every stage. It mainly focuses on four different phases: Listening to the user’s queries, Designing, Coding other modules of the software, and Testing it.

Extreme programming is used for creating software in a volatile environment. It enables greater traceability within the process.

Advantages of Extreme Programming Methodology

  1. The extreme programming methodology focuses on practical plans and schedules.
  2. It aims at lowering the costs involved in the software development process.
  3. This model considers the customer’s involvement necessary.
  4. The software development service providers work in a streamlined process.

Disadvantages of Extreme Programming Methodology

  1. The success of this technique is dependent on the people working in it.
  2. Regular changes in the software development process are complicated.
  3. The cost of varying requirements is high.

When to use Extreme Programming Methodology?

When the only constant thing in your project is dynamically changing requirements, the extreme programming methodology can be used.

What are the Features of the Extreme Programming Methodology?

  1. Communication
  2. Feedback
  3. Simplicity
  4. Informative Workspace

Lean Methodology

The goal of lean methodology is to create effortless and manageable software. It is used for easily changeable software. The lean methodology’s target is to develop software in one-third of the time than required in general.

The lean programming methodology is used by custom software development companies like Tatvasoft to optimize efficiency and reduce resources’ waste.

Advantages of Lean Methodology

  1. With the use of lean methodology, one can eliminate unnecessary processes.
  2. This technique takes less time to complete the software development project.
  3. It reduces the want to go back to the errors to correct them.
  4. The lean model believes in empowering the software development team to work on the procedure.

Disadvantages of Lean Methodology

  1. The decision taken for any phase of the development process must be prompt and final.
  2. The success of the project depends on teamwork and discipline.
  3. Having the right business analysts is necessary.

When to use Lean Methodology?

The developers should use the lean methodology for short-term software development projects.

What are the Features of the Lean Methodology?

  1. Collaborative
  2. Proactive
  3. Continuous Improvement

Iterative Model

Unlike any other methodology, the Iterative model doesn’t start working by gathering software requirements but instead, it is just a part of the specified and implemented software. The iterative model imparts the software development process that has large requirements into smaller pieces.

The designing, development, and testing of the software are done repetitively when it comes to this model.

Advantages of Iterative Model

  1. The iterative model converts the process of system development into smaller parts.
  2. Developers prefer this methodology as every permutation and combination may not be considered before beginning the project.
  3. Solutions can be easily found with an iterative model.
  4. Implementing changes is not much expensive.

Disadvantages of the Iterative Model

  1. No overlaps make the iterative model rigid.
  2. With an iterative model, there is no importance of maintaining documentation.
  3. The budget can go beyond decided because of the cyclic design of this methodology.

When to use the Iterative Model?

When the software development project requirements are clearly defined and understood, the software development company can use the iterative model.

What are the Features of the Iterative Model?

  1. Simplified implementation
  2. Error and bug-free system

V-Shaped Model

All the processes in this methodology are in a V-shaped Sequence. This process is generally known as the Verification and Validation method. It is a perfect model for small to medium-sized software development project requirements.

With a V-shaped model, there are four steps involved – System Testing, Integration Testing, Acceptance Testing, and Unit Testing.

Advantages of V-Shaped Model

  1. Easy and simple to use methodology.
  2. The development team can track the errors at a very early stage using a v-shaped model.
  3. Perfect for small to medium-sized projects with limited requirements.

Disadvantages of V-Shaped Model

  1. It is a rigid and least flexible model to work with.
  2. It is challenging to make unplanned changes in the middle of the development process when working with the v-shaped model.
  3. Finding errors from the beginning makes this methodology time-consuming.

When to use the V-Shaped Model?

Any software development service provider should use the v-shaped model when the project is small to medium-sized, and the project requirements are clear & fixed from the beginning.

What are the Features of the V-Shaped Model?

  1. Sequential execution path.
  2. Easy to use
  3. Proactive error tracking


Every business is choosing software applications to expand its customer outreach. And to reach their desired results, the software development companies opt for a developing procedure suitable to the requirements. All the software development methodologies explained in this guide have their own benefits, and each of them can help the software developers create a perfect software application. Which methodology to choose when is the choice of the development team and the customer.

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