Software Development Methodologies: Which One Should You Use?

Published October 11, 2022, updated March 26, 2023
by Jeffery Thompson
18 min read
Software Development
Software Development Methodologies

Software development methodologies are an essential key component of developing software systems. There are pros and cons to each one.

Nevertheless, the main goal of these methods is to streamline the development. Read on to learn which software development model will work best and meet your needs.

What Is Software Development Methodology?

What is Software Development Methodology

What are software development methodologies?

Software development methodology refers to different steps that developers observe in software building. These approaches have been around since the beginning of computers. The goal is to show how to make software systematically.

Development methodologies also help programmers to make the most of available resources.

Software development methodologies allow developers to work together as a team more effectively. It tells the team how to share information and makes communication official.

Many IT companies agree that following a software development methodology is a must. But what model or method is the best? Since there isn’t one, this is the case. Each method has good points and bad points.

Why Adhere to Software Development Methodology?

Sticking to a well-defined methodology has several benefits. These are the following:

  • Accurate estimates
  • Stable systems
  • Collaboration with customers
  • Proactive approach to bugs
  • Flexibility to make changes

It’s essential to pick a software development process. But once you’ve chosen a specific method, you must stick to it.

When you take software development methodology for granted, many things could go wrong.

Customer requests can be challenging. Developers may find it hard to keep up, especially if the instructions are unclear.

Communication problems further make the process more complicated. This can lead to constant changes in production.

Although this is good, too many modifications prevent the team from progressing. The result? It’s a waste of time, money, and effort, and you might end up with a bad app that doesn’t do much for you.

Methodologies exist for the benefit of both the development team and the customer. Choosing the right one makes sure that conversations happen through the proper channels.

Using the right software development methodology can reduce wasted time. It is because it gives a more accurate estimate of project delivery.

Moreover, it allows the team to adjust quickly when changes happen on the spot.

Common Software Development Methodologies

Common Software Development Methodologies

There are many top software development methodologies to help your business grow. To help you, we compiled a detailed list of popular software development methodologies. Simply choose the types of software development methodology that will work for you.

Agile Software Development Methodology

1. Agile Software Development Methodology

Agile methodology is among the most effective ways to build software. The agile software development methodology is a disciplined software management process.

Agile allows changes in the middle of production and reduces risks through iterations. In iterations, developers build and test a component of the project. It usually lasts between one week and a month.

Advantages of Agile Development Methodology

  • Customers are happy when helpful software is sent to them quickly and continuously.
  • Workflow and development tools are less necessary than how people work together. Clients, developers, and the testing team all work together.
  • The agile method for software development accommodates changes according to the clients’ needs.
  • Agile emphasizes immediate communication and continuous feedback to prevent ambiguities in the process.

Disadvantages of Agile Development Methodology

  • It is hard to define the project scope and goal at the start because of changing product specs.
  • The difficulty of figuring out how many resources a project will need. It’s hard to estimate resources and costs when things change in ways you can’t plan for.
  • Making documentation can’t be well enough.
  • No hard and fast deadlines. Having a clear timeline is impossible because of constant changes.
  • Senior programmers can only make decisions throughout the development process.
DevOps Methodology

2. DevOps Methodology

DevOps is a pretty popular software development methodology. It emphasizes the need to build, deploy, and improve production at a faster pace.

To do this, the development and operations teams merge and work together. They no longer function as a separate unit because this only leads to numerous back and forths.

By working together, DevOps remove silos. Both teams understand the process and the purpose of each software component. Time is not wasted, and solutions are immediately implemented. This is a definite advantage of using DevOps in the software development life cycle.

Another defining characteristic of DevOps is automation. Development teams use tools to automate repetitive processes instead of manually doing things.

Advantages of DevOps

  • More opportunities for innovation
  • Rapid project delivery
  • Improved productivity
  • Efficient knowledge sharing

Disadvantages of DevOps

  • Requires cultural change
  • Expensive
  • Security issues

3. Scrum Development Methodology

Scrum Development Methodology

Scrum software development methodology is possible for almost various software projects. Many developers use this development method for companies with constantly changing needs.

There are two specific roles in the scrum methodology software development. These are the product owner and scrum master. Product owners represent the customers and other project stakeholders. They help the team get a better understanding of the task output and expectations. Meanwhile, scrum masters act like the team’s “coach.” They drive the team’s progress and ensure it meets the expected goals every sprint.

Yes, they thrive through sprints like agile. If you are using scrum, this means that you have daily meetings. The meetings last for only 15 minutes. It should not be longer than that. So what do you discuss in the 15-minute meeting?

Here, the team shares what they worked on, what they plan next, and if there are any challenges. This gives each team member visibility of who works on what. As a result, it helps the team become more productive.

Advantages of Scrum Development

  • Scrum works well for projects that move quickly.
  • The scrum methodology is up to the teams to make all the decisions.
  • It provides good documentation. The method specifically lists down business requirements. Most importantly, it outlines the different factors that lead to success.
  • Scrum updates the progress more often. Also, it allows businesses to see and control the steps of the a project’s development.
  • Visibility keeps the team together. Each member knows what the other does. The result is that everyone on the team works better and gets more done.
  • Brief sprints and regular feedback make it easier to deal with changes.
  • Delivering a good product on time is easier if you have a plan.

Disadvantages of Scrum Development

  • Scrum is prone to scope creep. Since there is no clear deadline, adding new features can get out of control. Due to this, it is possible for the team to miss the deadline.
  • It needs to give accurate estimates of how much a project will cost and how long it will take. If you don’t, this type of development model will fail.
  • It works well for small projects that move quickly but not for big projects that are hard to plan.
  • Only team members with experience can use this method. Those who do not have experience in using scrum may have a hard time adapting to this approach.
  • When the Scrum Master counts on the development team, they are in charge. Scrum masters should drive the development process, not the other way around.
  • If the testing team can’t do regression tests, the project’s quality will suffer.

4. Waterfall Methodology

Waterfall Methodology

The Waterfall software development methodology is the earliest structured approach to software production. Most companies consider waterfall development methodology as a traditional approach to building software.

The waterfall method of software development is a rigid linear model. The approach is a bit old and traditional. Because this is a rigid linear method, it does not have room for changes in the middle of the development. Nonetheless, if the requirements are already defined, waterfall will do well.

Advantages of Waterfall Methodology

  • Simple to use and not hard to understand. It doesn’t take much or any experience.
  • The use-cases in the specific requirements make testing easy.
  • Each step is worked on and finished simultaneously.
  • It works well with small projects in which the demands are precise.
  • Since the method is rigid and has a separate evaluation process for each phase, it is easy to run.
  • Each step in the development process has a set due date.

Disadvantages of Waterfall Methodology

  • The waterfall method doesn’t work for projects that require maintenance.
  • The software still under process doesn’t work until the end of the cycle.
  • It works best when the requirements are clear from the start.
  • Adjustments or edits are impossible when a project gets to the testing phase.
  • It works well for small and medium-sized projects. It may not be the best approach for large ones involving research.
  • Not valid for projects that are likely to change throughout the process.

5. Prototype Methodology

Prototype Methodology

The prototype software development methodology only has one goal. This is to show a working prototype to clients.

With this method, the clients can see how their project works. Under this approach, expect frequent changes to the software’s design, features, or functionalities. Once the expected outcome is met, the actual application development will begin.

Advantages of Prototype Model

  • Best at proactively fixing problems in the early stage of the development phase. It is less likely for the project to fail.
  • Ensures the prototype meets the needs of the requirements before the development begins.
  • It helps build strong rapport as teams talk to clients and manage their expectations.
  • You get feedback that will be useful when you build the completed version.

Disadvantages of Prototype Model

  • Testing with the customer can result in too much back and forth and slows down the development.
  • The prototype might not match what the customer wants from the actual product.
  • Costs could go up because the developer usually pays for the job on the prototype.

6. Feature-Driven Development Methodology (FDD)

Feature-Driven Development Methodology

The feature-driven methodology (FDD) is a known iterative method. Many describe the approach as customer-centric. It is because it gives the clients flexibility when it comes to adding new features.

To prevent confusion, clients are encouraged to join meetings. This will provide them with an avenue to share their thoughts about the project. It is also an opportunity for them to discuss the changes they want.

Speaking of changes, teams that use FDD implement the modifications incrementally. Complex tasks are broken down into smaller ones to accommodate the client’s revisions. FDD works well for big software development projects. This methodology for creating software has five steps:

  • Making the full model
  • Making a list of features, planning
  • Designing
  • Constructing by feature

Advantages of FDD Methodology

  • This methodology works well for big and complex projects and is sure to succeed.
  • Its five-step procedure makes it easy to speed up software delivery.
  • FDD lets more than one team operate at the same time.
  • FDD standards are equal to the best ones used in the business world.
  • All projects that require an update in a particular order can use FDD.
  • The outputs are always higher than the inputs.

Disadvantages of FDD Methodology

  • This methodology is unsuitable for small projects. A single software developer shouldn’t use it.
  • The leading developer must take multiple roles. He or she must be the chief designer and instructor too.
  • FDD clients don’t get written documentation. They can’t get solid evidence for their software.

7. Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Rapid Application Development

The rapid application development methodology (RAD) focuses on speed. Compared to other approaches, RAD gives more weight to how fast you can develop the software. It gives more room for iterations and changes.

But the good thing about RAD is that developers do not have to start from scratch for every change they make. RAD is also more effective in small teams. With small teams, it is easier to communicate and collaborate.

Advantages of the RAD model

  • Functions’ duties are separately completed. Afterward, it is introduced to the project as a whole. This reduces errors that happen throughout development.
  • With this method, you don’t have to worry about making big mistakes because you test it often.
  • Customer feedback is helpful. It helps keep software solutions at a high level and improve them.
  • The customer can always check in on the software’s status.

Disadvantages of the RAD model

  • RAD is only suitable for modularized systems.
  • This method needs a team of seasoned developers and designers.
  • It is hard to keep track of progress and issues, so there is no paper trail to show what has been done and what has not.

8. Spiral Model

Spiral Model

The Spiral method of software development appears to be very advanced. It works by finding and removing project risks as soon as possible.

It starts on a small scale and includes looking for threats and plans to eliminate those risks. Then, it shows if the following spiral method of software development can start.

The spiral model lets the developer change the code or design during the testing stage. It can be used for most projects but needs careful management.

Advantages of Spiral Model

  • It requires heavy risk analysis, which results in a more streamlined process.
  • This method works well for doing big projects that have many risks.
  • You can add features and functions even after almost finishing the testing phase.

Disadvantages of Spiral Model

  • It’s a waste of time and money to use them on projects with low risks.
  • Risk analysis is essential to the success of the plan. If the risk analysis is wrong, the results might also be incorrect.
  • There is a chance that the development will not be clear, leading to a spiraling pattern with no end.

9. Dynamic Systems Development Model Methodology (DSDM)

Dynamic Systems Development Model Methodology

Dynamic Systems Development Model is a step-by-step, iterative approach. It puts a lot of emphasis on constant user involvement. Its main goal is to ensure that software systems are delivered on time and within budget.

Dynamic systems development is an example that nothing is perfect on the first try. It highlights that development is a process that is constantly changing.

Advantages of Dynamic Systems Development Model

  • Users are very involved in making the system. Thus, making it more likely that they will understand the software development project.
  • Basic features are delivered quickly. More features can be added at regular intervals in a dynamic systems model.
  • This method makes it easy for developers to reach end-users.
  • In this type of development, projects are finished on time and within a specific budget.

Disadvantages of Dynamic Systems Development Model

  • DSDM is expensive because users and developers need training to use it properly. It might not be suitable for small groups or projects.
  • Since it is a reasonably new model, it is not very easy to understand.
  • In this model, project requirements building is step-by-step.

10. Extreme Programming Methodology

Extreme Programming Methodology

Extreme Programming, or XP, is another methodology that follows the agile principle. XP’s goal is not limited to helping development teams improve the software’s quality.

Aside from that, it also ensures that the team can adapt to changing needs. Since it follows the agile principle, XP also encourages frequent releases. Likewise, it favors short development cycles. The aim is to make room for improvements and make the changes immediately.

Another important characteristic of XP is the set of values it follows. The five values that this method observes are:

  • Communication
  • Simplicity
  • Feedback
  • Courage
  • Respect

Advantages of Extreme Programming Methodology

  • It is a method for making software that saves money.
  • Part of making something is getting the customer involved and talking to them.
  • The focus is on planning and scheduling tasks in a way that makes sense. This makes sure that developers stick with a project.
  • Works well for both big and small groups.
  • Managing risks well makes it more likely that things will go well.

Disadvantages of Extreme Programming Methodology

  • This is because the project requirements are not set in stone. Changes in the middle of development may come from time to time.
  • It needs to be reviewed and discussed by everyone involved, which costs money and takes time.
  • It needs too many changes to the code, which some developers find boring.
  • This model might cost a lot to change the fundamental requirements in the later phase.

11. Joint Application Development Methodology (JAD)

Software Development Methodologies Infographics
Joint Application Development Methodology

Business software solutions work best with the Joint application development method. But it can work for all sorts of development projects.

The usage of interactive workshops is best during the software development and design stages. In these workshop sessions, the developers, end-users, or clients discuss the software system.

It’s a popular way to automate a growing business and pays special attention to user stories and use cases.

Advantages JAD Methodology

  • Creating the software can be quick and with a low chance of making mistakes.
  • It’s an excellent way for people to collaborate and solve problems. This is despite their differing perspectives.
  • The sessions get enough information to research and analyze a project in a short amount of time.
  • Users and developers gain new insights during JAD sessions. This makes it an easy-to-use method that works well.

Disadvantages of JAD Methodology

  • Often the client has too high of hopes for what will happen.
  • How well a method works depends partly on how committed the end-user is to it.
  • Success depends on having a lot of skills and a lot of work experience.
  • This method takes a lot of time for any team working on a project. It needs a lot of planning and a lot of meetings.

12. Lean Development Methodology

Lean Development Methodology

Lean Software Development Methodology is all about making software easy to change. The agile method for developing software is more focused on strategy than any other type.

Lean aims to make software in one-third less time, on a limited budget, and with minimal workflow.

Advantages of Lean Development Methodology

  • Getting the product to the customer earlier is a plus. It would indicate that the development team could add more features in less time.
  • This approach focuses only on essential processes. The steps that do not streamline the overall workflow are removed.

Disadvantages of Lean Development Methodology

  • Lean advocates flexibility. But too much flexibility may eventually add unnecessary processes and therefore cause delays.
  • Lean emphasizes team involvement and interaction. While this is good, this can also create silos. This usually happens when the team needs to make tough decisions. There should be a consensus among the group members.


Each software development method works better on specific kinds of projects.

Complex projects will need a team with expertise in a specific methodology. Developers need to look at all the advantages and disadvantages of each method. This is because no approach is flawless. Budget, scope, resources, timeline, and preference are also essential things to think about.

Having said this, it is best to talk to a reputable software development company. If you need more help, feel free to let us know.

Bit Studios is ahead of the curve in making software. We use the best engineering techniques on all of our projects. We will assist you in choosing the best software development method for your project.

Software Methodologies FAQs

What Is the Best Methodology in Software Development?

There’s no easy way to answer this question. Your ultimate objectives will determine which development method is best. Check your system’s structure. Remember that each platform has its own set of features.

How Do You Determine the Best Software Development Methodology for Your Project?

Consider the following points before selecting the software development method.

  • Find out who your stakeholders are
  • The flexibility of your project needs
  • Recognize your target end-users
  • Learn about finances
  • Think about how much time you have
  • Know who’s working on your project

What Is the Importance of Having a Software Development Methodology?

A well-defined methodology can give your project accurate forecasts. It aids in producing consistent output.

Moreover, it keeps the client notified. Also, with a clear picture of the work at hand, you can spot problems early, and have plenty of time to make changes.

Is it Possible to Change From One Software Development Methodology to Another?

Yes. It will depend on the team setting, objectives, and needs. There are also various ways to switch software methods for distinct projects.

Jeff eats and breathes technology. His undying passion for software development inspired him to establish BIT Studios, a reputable custom software development company that caters to SMEs and Fortune 500 companies. Jeff is a strategic thinker who combines creativity and expertise to build digital ...
Originally published October 11, 2022, updated March 26, 2023

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