9 Top Software Development Methodologies: Pros and Cons

For many developers, software development methodologies are a critical tool that’s the key to a project’s success. With so many types of these software development methodologies to choose from, engineers must understand the project’s overall goal when deciding which to use. 

This blog looks at software development methodologies and how Coding Dojo can help jumpstart your career in programming.

What Are Software Development Methodologies? 

Software development methodologies are the step-by-step systematic processes engineers use while working on various projects. These methodologies help software engineers know the order of task execution, assessment, and control methods. Choosing the correct methodology is the key to a successful project and a happy client. 

While there are many different software development methodologies, each has pros and cons depending on the project’s direction and the team members’ skill set. As more software development methodologies have sprung up, so have new and innovative ways for engineers to efficiently collaborate, provide accurate estimates, and deliver projects on time. 

Why Use a Software Development Methodology?

It’s important to stress that software development methodologies make teams highly efficient, set a precise completion date, and allow team members to handle unexpected changes or delays. Below are several key reasons why using a software development methodology is so essential:

  • A software development methodology provides a step-by-step process for teams to work off and helps provide clear communication to clients
  • The correct methodology can ensure that everyone is kept up to date and helps streamline the decision-making process. 
  • A sound methodology will eliminate activities that aren’t a high priority and keep all team members on track for completion.

By using the most suitable software development methodology, teams can focus on what matters most, stay on target, and be highly agile when sudden changes appear. As a vital tool for all developers, these approaches provide the structure needed to succeed in a highly competitive world.

Top 9 Types of Software Development Methodologies

1. Agile Development Methodology

The agile development methodology works off a repetitive model, where teams focus on adding customer value by incrementally refining processes. Overall, agile teams zero in on what is in front of them and work off plans that change alongside unfolding circumstances.

Agile Development Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • With quick delivery times, agile methodology gives departments the tools to complete projects rapidly and send them off to clients. 
  • The agile approach, having tons of flexibility, allows for project managers and entire teams to make massive changes at any stage of the project without delaying the completion date.
  • Ease of collaboration gives employees and clients the ability to share ideas, give feedback quickly, and send progress reports in real-time as the need for any changes comes up.

Cons:  

  • While agile software development is somewhat reactionary and responds based on events as they happen, there tends to be less of a paper trail documenting changes or progress for projects. 
  • As goals change suddenly, teams can find themselves in an ever-changing environment where the ultimate goal isn’t always clear
  • With rapid feedback and consistent adjustments, agile methodology can make it difficult for teams to predict when a potential problem can surface.

2. Waterfall Development Methodology

The waterfall methodology follows a “waterfall” order of sequential events. Each stage begins only once the one prior is complete using the order of analysis, design, development, and testing. Typically, this methodology is popular with most engineers for its detailed planning, clear documentation, and crisp project execution. 

Waterfall Development Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • With a ton of paperwork, the waterfall methodology keeps clients and team members up to date. No one is out of the loop as changes come up or goals shift.   
  • Sometimes projects can leave clients with a hefty bill at the end, but not with the waterfall methodology. Estimations are quick and accurate. 
  • During the requirements phase, testing scenarios are explicit, making final trial procedures run much smoother and quicker.

Cons:

  • Most clients can find it challenging to share their project vision, sometimes making them unhappy with the final result and demanding significant and costly changes.
  • Without a ton of flexibility, waterfall software development makes it difficult for teams to adjust to unexpected changes in the market or client requirements.  
  • Delivery times are usually longer compared to agile methodologies, which can sometimes leave clients unhappy, killing the possibility of future projects.

3. Lean Development Methodology

    With an extreme emphasis on maximizing efficiencies and lowering waste, the lean development methodology is becoming a critical framework within agile development. By delivering only what the product needs and not wants, the lean development methodology is now a massive hit in tech.  

    Lean Development Pros and Cons

    Pros:

    • Lean software development is highly focused, allowing employees to tackle the most critical aspects of any project, giving every task a more profound purpose.
    • As members only work on tasks when there’s a demand for them, no one is left spending time working on pieces that aren’t urgently needed. 
    • The lean methodology creates loads of value for clients. The entire team zones in on creating a high-quality product and carefully double-checks every part. 

    Cons:

    • The lean methodology typically lacks time. While the team completes most stages as efficiently as possible, they must be on top of what’s coming up next and any problems that appear.
    • Without a clear strategy, the lean methodology makes it easy for teams to lose sight of the larger picture and final goal as they become overwhelmed with what to tackle next. 
    • Deadlines are tight, making any unexpected hiccup a potential disaster, proving that a clear battle plan is crucial for success.

    4. Scrum Development Methodology

      As a part of the agile development methodology family, the scrum development methodology is highly adaptable, fast, and flexible regarding sudden changes. With the only concern being how to add value to the customer, this methodology focuses on continuously improving products using regular customer feedback. 

      Scrum Development Pros and Cons

      Pros:

      • Scrum software development allows members to own their part, fully delivering high-quality results.
      •  With higher results comes an increase in customer satisfaction, giving teams more confidence to improve their craft and skill set continuously.
      • As each team member is in charge of their work, most employees are happier to come to work and, overall, more productive. 

      Cons:

      • The scrum methodology is complex for newcomers who aren’t as used to this approach, requiring high levels of training.  
      • When trying to scale projects, this approach can cause larger projects to have massive delays if teams lack proper coordination and clear communication.  
      • Typically, the scrum approach requires extensive training and scalability problems, forcing businesses to reconsider their internal structure. 

      5. DevOps Development Methodology

      The true beauty of DevOps comes from its blend of cultural philosophies and focus on collaboration to deliver products at a rapid pace. The combination of bringing people, processes, and innovation in perfect harmony makes this methodology a favorite.  

      DevOps Development Pros and Cons

      Pros:

      • The DevOps software development methodology is adaptable and allows teams to produce high-quality results using regular testing.
      • The DevOps methodology consistently tests and monitors every project phase, leading to a better chance of recovery if problems arise. 
      • By using an approach that anticipates unexpected hiccups, teams can get their product to market quicker than the competition.

      Cons:

      • As one of the more complex methodologies, DevOps requires a fair amount of software engineering expertise, making this approach quite an expensive option. 
      • With a need for strong teamwork, DevOps needs high levels of cooperation, communication, and a clear goal to succeed. 
      • Learning this approach takes a while to get the hang of. With a blend of a complex approach and a need for cooperation, DevOps requires highly tech-savvy teams.

      6. Feature-Driven Development Methodology

      The feature-driven development methodology is highly customer-centric and famous for its consistent gradual improvements and adaptability. Similar to scrum, the success feature-driven is mainly because of customer collaboration and involvement.  

      Feature Driven Development Pros and Cons

      Pros:

      • The feature-driven development methodology works almost solely off project documentation, with virtually no meetings. This approach is a favorite for most developers.
      • The majority of approaches consider the product manager as the end-user. With the feature-driven approach, the client is the end-user, which works perfectly to scale up to large projects. 
      • With clear steps for each phase, the feature-driven software development ensures every team member can quickly understand where they should focus most of their attention.

      Cons:

      • Requiring a chief programmer to act as the project manager, lead, designer, and mentor for new employees, the feature-driven methodology places a lot of pressure on a single team member. 
      • With little to no documentation for the level of progress, this approach can leave clients in the dark about any possible project issues or delays. 
      • Every individual team member is responsible for looking after their code, rather than the team working together, which can result in potential hiccups for completion.

      7. Rapid Application Development Methodology

      As a development methodology, rapid application development is only concerned with rapid prototyping and the feedback that consistently follows. The advantage of using the rapid application development methodology is engineers can quickly refine processes through repetition without starting over again. 

      Rapid Development Pros and Cons

      Pros:

      • The rapid development method keeps risk levels as low as possible by default by using a highly efficient process that produces quality products. 
      • This approach solves everyday problems and market gaps by talking to the customer directly and asking for regular product feedback.  
      • With all paperwork kept to a minimum, team members can become efficient in how they use their time to tackle the most critical aspects of the project. 

      Cons:

      • With the need for high levels of collaboration between all team members, the rapid application methodology works best in the hands of those with ample experience
      • Between the need for highly experienced team members and constant collaboration, using the rapid application usually runs on the more expensive side. 
      • As a more rigid approach, this development methodology requires a team with a clear goal and an understanding of how to work together effectively. 

      8. Prototype Development Methodology 

      The prototyping development methodology creates simulated user interfaces to help further the idea process, evaluation phase, and user feedback application. The power of prototype development methodologies comes from allowing teams to focus on constant, regular improvements.

      Prototype Development Pros and Cons

      Pros:

      • A perfect combination of low costs and short project timelines makes the prototype software development ideal for seamlessly adjusting for any surprise delays and allows clients to anticipate the final price
      • With more customer involvement, teams can see exactly how customers use the product, what needs improvements, and how customers feel about their experience. 
      • With accurate estimations for the delivery time, customers leave happy, and team members know exactly how much time they have to work on the more critical points. 

      Cons:

      • It’s not unheard of for teams to have an incomplete picture of what problem they’re looking to resolve, leading to a poorly designed product that clients aren’t willing to buy. 
      • A severe con to the prototyping methodology is user confusion regarding the prototype. Some clients might see the rough prototype as the final product and walk away disgustingly.
      • With the prototyping approach, developers can misunderstand the end-users objective, and without further clarification, the team might create a product that isn’t what customers want.

      9. Extreme Programming (XP) Development Methodology

      Extreme programming, as a member of the agile methodologies, allows small to medium-sized teams to develop high-quality software while adapting to changes as they appear. In comparison, XP development methodology is “extremely” precise regarding how processes are completed, resulting in highly productive small teams. 

      XP Development Pros and Cons

      Pros:

      • Any cost reduction is a plus. The XP software development methodology keeps costs low by using previous code and re-engineering it to fit new projects.
      • Tight deadlines are a piece of cake with solid teamwork. With this approach, cooperation is the critical ingredient for every successful project.  
      • Keeping open lines of communication, all team members can support one another and ensure everyone is up to date on the project’s progress, ensuring minimal delays and bugs.

      Cons:

      • Regarding the extreme programming approach, coding is a top priority while the design is always secondary, resulting in a final product that isn’t user-friendly or intuitive.
      • This method requires lots of customer input, which can be difficult if the client is busy, lives elsewhere, or isn’t available at the drop of a hat. 
      • With no paper trail, the extreme programming methodology can cause hiccups with no way to update all team members, leading to project delays and avoidable coding errors.

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