Software Development Methodologies

4 Top Software Development Methodologies


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Software development is a very time and effort consuming process and it requires following some strategies and plans for completing the development task in an organization. While working on big projects, directly starting the coding is not enough and an efficient way of software development.

So, some well-known methodologies are followed by organization and teams within them to plan the entire development process. It includes ‘how they will perform the stages in the software development lifecycle?’ Even, we have some known methodologies, but it’s not true that these are the only choices. Organizations can also modify these methodologies as per their needs, the workflow of the team, and the way it works for them.

Along with that, it is also important to know that there is no best methodology. Each methodology has its pros, cons and applicability depending upon the project. In this article, we will discuss some of the most used software development methodologies, which can be adapted by development teams.

Top Software Development Methodologies

Here are the top Software Development methodologies:

1. Waterfall

The waterfall model is one of the oldest software development methodology following linear sequential flow. In this, the next stage of the SDLC is not started until the last stage is finished.

The stages in the waterfall model involve:

  1. Requirements
  2. Analysis
  3. Design
  4. Implementation
  5. Testing
  6. Deployment
  7. Maintenance

The software is completely developed in one cycle. The whole product is handed over to the client in one go, rather than in deploying the software in instalments.


1. It is the simplest structure for software development.

2. It is easy to track the resources, time and cost investment in a particular stage or during the whole development process.

3. Since, it ensures that a particular stage is completed efficiently, so makes the tasks more stable.

4. It is more convenient for more developers and testers to work in the waterfall model.


1. This methodology is less flexible for changes in the software planning and requirements during the development. Since a lot of time is already invested in deciding the requirements and planning the software, it is very difficult to step back and perform the same procedure again.

2. There is the risk of failing to get the product release ready on time.

3. There is no working software available till the end of the life cycle.

4. Not suitable for the project whose specifications and requirements change frequently.

Also read: Types of Software Development

2. Agile

Agile development methodology involves incremental delivery of the product. It requires more communication and collaboration within the development team. Here, the software is deployed in the form of a small instalment rather than submitting the whole software in one go. This strategy is accomplished by dividing the entire lifecycle into many small lifecycles with continuous planning. Each small lifecycle is assigned some tasks to take the development forward until all the desired requirements are satisfied.


1. Software is released in iterations. Each iteration adds new features to the software and increases its productivity.

2. It is much easier to find and fix bugs in a small chunk of software rather than in big software.

3. It helps in realizing the benefits of the software, even before it’s completely developed and deployed.

4. It’s easy to make frequent changes in the software.


1. Unlike the waterfall model, it does not believe in the need for documentation and relies more on real-time communication.

2. It can be inefficient for the project, that cannot be utilized until all the requirements are addressed.

3. The developers might feel exhausted in accomplishing an assigned task in a small interval of time.

4. It may lead to insufficient testing and hence, the release of a poor quality product.

3. Spiral

Spiral follows the iterative strategy for software development with some elements of the waterfall model. Each stage of development involve primarily four steps:

1. Determine the objective of a stage.

2. Identify the possible risks and actions that should be taken to remove them.

3. Then the development is done and testing is performed over it.

4. At the end, planning the next iteration.


1. It is easy to add new functionalities and features in the later stages of development.

2. It is also easy to perform cost estimation as the prototype is built in small fragments.

3. Since, the development is done continuously and iteratively, there are better chances to encounter risks.

4. Even the development is also fast and it provides a systematic way to add new features. 


1. There is a possibility of not being able to develop the product within the allotted budget and time.

2. This methodology is fit for only large projects and also requires expertise in risk management.

3. It can be costly for small projects.

4. It involves a large amount of documentation because of a large number of intermediate stages.

Also read: Software Development Metrics

4. Prototyping

Prototyping as the name suggests is the methodology that involves the preparation of the prototype before building the final product. In this, the dummy screens are developed to display the functionalities of the software which may not hold its exact logic. There are the following stages in this methodology:

1. Identification of the requirements.

2. Development of prototype.

3. Reviewing the prototype.

4. After passing the review stage, the final product is developed completely.


1. Increased user involvement leads to the development of a desirable product.

2. It gives an idea about the product before completion.

3. It is a user and customer friendly methodology.

4. Early defects detection lead to a reduction in development time and cost.

5. It is easy to identify the missing functionalities.


1. The increased dependency on the prototype, may lead to insufficient requirements analysis.

2. It may also increase the scope and complexity of the project.

3. Sometimes leads to the excessive investment of efforts.


Software development methodologies help teams to perform the development task in an organized way. The development process is more efficient and effective when the team is clear about:

  • What are the actions to be performed?
  • When an action has to be performed?
  • How the actions have to be performed?

And a thoughtfully adapted methodology let it happen.

Also read: Benefits of Custom Software Development

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