Top Software Development Methodologies: It's common for developers to wonder, which software methodology might serve right for their projects. Just like how a beautiful blend of the right ingredients makes the dish taste exceptional in the end. To manage a project efficiently, the team or the developer must choose the right set of software development methodologies to generate the best results. The following article walks you through the top software development methodologies that will work best for the project at hand.

What is a Software Development Methodology?

The software development methodology is defined as a process or a series of processes used in software development. The first step towards software development is to choose the best development methods from the pool of options that suit your company's culture, team size, flexibility status, and functional and business requirements. It's a brainer that the success of a software development project, to a great extent, depends on the methods used to manage the development lifecycle, right from initiation to closure. Over the years, several methodologies have evolved, to address the limitations of their predecessors.

Listed below are the most widely utilized and recognized software development methodologies.

1. Waterfall software development methodology

When it comes to software development, Waterfall is the most popular one in the field. It is one of the oldest and sequential development processes. This approach focuses on the logical progression of all the steps involved in the software development life cycle (SDLC). For small-scale projects where the requirements are precise, Waterfall is the best software development methodology one can leverage. Since the requirements are constant, your team will have a better understanding of what they are building, from the very beginning. Developers can easily manage the project using this, as there exists a clean structure and defined steps with no to-fro movements.

2. Agile Software Development Methodology

The agile methodology is an incremental and iterative approach to software development. It follows almost the same steps as that of the Waterfall model, but Agile methodology enables to-fro motions across stages. Agile is the most commonly used methodology as it introduces:
  • Speed
  • Flexibility
  • Cross-functional Setups
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
Agile is a customer-centric development approach as it focuses on their requirements, perspectives, and feedback. This helps in building a product that fits the market. Developers use this method to minimize risks as cost overruns, bugs, or changing requirements. People who often choose the waterfall method may face a hard time adjusting to an agile SDLC. So, a hybrid approach usually works for them.

3. Feature-Driven Development (FDD) - Top Software Development Methodologies

Feature-driven development, just like Agile, is an iterative and incremental software development methodology. It is a feature-centric approach, where the development team is assigned tasks based on the finalized feature list. This methodology comprises five steps, and every element further includes six milestones to track its progress. FDD uses documentation for facilitating communication. It is a scalable methodology and can accommodate an increase in the size and scope of the project. Implementing FDD can minimize technical debt as well.

4. Lean Development

The lean development software is an extended version of Agile software. This aims for quick MVP development & delivery within a limited budget. Changes during the process are well thought through and planned, which, in turn, help minimize the expenses. Lean development lets the teams have enough freedom to make project-related decisions. This motivates the team and also gives a sense of ownership, which, thus increases productivity.

5. Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Rapid Application Development methodology roots out from Agile methodology. And it prioritizes adaptability over planning. Using this, there is a high probability that the projects are completed on time and within budget. This is because RAD facilitates incremental software development. And it also delivers quality products as RAD emphasizes prototype development. This way, product validation happens at an early stage, which results in better quality software.

6. Spiral Model

The spiral model focuses on early risk identification and mitigation of it. This model can be referred to as an in-between version of Agile and Waterfall i.e (an iterative development and sequential linear development). Here, you can accommodate the new and changing requirements easily with the help of iterations. It greatly focuses on developing prototypes, thus leaving a low probability of product failures. Customer feedback is accommodated at the end of each development cycle, and this ensures product-market fit from an early stage.

7. Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

Scaled Agile Framework is suitable for enterprise-level software development that combines the values of Agile, Lean, and more. It is used for large projects with complex requirements on an enterprise level. Blends different development processes and mindsets into one framework. This helps in the reduction of bugs, which further helps in increasing the quality of the end-product.

But, what is the Top software development methodology?

We've discussed the top seven software development methodologies here, but one can still be ambivalent on which one to choose. So, here are the most suitable use cases for various software development methodologies.
  • Waterfall- When requirements are fixed, budget and time are variable.
  • Agile- When requirements are variable and not definitive, incremental development is required, and one can easily have a working Agile set up at your workplace
  • Feature-driven development- When you are working on a large project that mainly focuses on features, and you have a good team strength to divide the feature-centric work.
  • Lean development- When you're working on a small project that needs to be delivered in a short period of time.
  • Rapid Application- When you have fixed deadlines to adhere to. RAD includes only 4 stages, thus ensures fast delivery.
  • Spiral Model- When the software development process needs continuous risk evaluation and if there is a reasonable time bracket for validating the release from users.
  • Scaled Agile Framework- When the development team is distributed and large for an enterprise-scale software development project.
In the end, choose methodologies for your software development solution that fits your business and project's requirements.