Software Development Methodologies: Main Options

Software product development is usually based on best practices or, in other words, existing methodologies. The choice depends on the project specifics, implementing budgeting system, subjective preferences, etc. When it comes to software development, then, as a rule, the project goes through six main stages:

  • Planning. Determining the main problems and setting goals.
  • System analysis. Describing end-user requirements.
  • Design. Defining the system elements, their components, security level, architecture, interfaces, data types.
  • Development and implementation. Writing the code, customizing the system for certain requirements and functions.
  • Testing. Identifying bugs and eliminating them.
  • System support. Preparing and releasing updates, evaluating system performance, replacing/deactivating outdated components.

This is a classic scheme that may be changed depending on the team and project specifics, the budget size, and the project characteristics. That is why a development model must be chosen at the beginning of the whole working process. Let’s talk about the most well-known software development methodologies.


The development process in this model looks like a flow, sequentially passing through the phases of requirements analysis, design, implementation, testing, integration, and support. The waterfall methodology implies a strictly sequential and one-time execution of each project phase. The transition from one phase to another is possible only after the successful completion of the previous phase. Each stage implies detailed planning and complete correctness of the stage result.


  • High transparency of development and project phases.
  • Accurate consistency.
  • Requirements stability.
  • Strict project management control.
  • Accurate defining the quality control procedure.


  • The user does not have an opportunity to be accustomed to the product.
  • All requirements must be determined at the beginning of the project life cycle.
  • Tight project management and regular monitoring are required.


Due to the key Agile principles, the client and the members of the working team constantly interact with each other. This greatly simplifies and speeds up the processes aimed at the awareness of project participants. Such close cooperation contributes to the establishment of a comfortable working atmosphere, ensures trust and mutual understanding. All that causes a positive effect for creating the final product. If the project manager, employees, and the customer work together, the risk of the goals misunderstanding becomes eliminated.


  • High speed of bringing a product to the market.
  • Minimizing the product rejection risks.
  • The implementation progress transparency for all project participants.
  • Saving time and money due to fast product display.
  • High employee motivation.


  • High requirements for each member of the project team.
  • The working group should be small (5 to 9 members).
  • Scrum methodology may not be suitable for developing some products.

Feature-Driven Development

This methodology allows to write shorter and more predictable code and is easier to test (although learning it from scratch is not easy). Functional programming is based on using pure functions and a declarative approach. The methodology is also characterized by avoiding shared state, mutable data, and side effects. The team is usually divided into groups and creates models for individual tasks. Then there must be selected one of the proposed variants or their combination. Once the team has developed a common model, it identifies features that are useful to the client.


  • Every project is systematic.
  • Most processes are simple and well-developed.
  • The value and process consistency should be clear to every team member.
  • Short iterative development cycles are preferred. This reduces the number of errors and allows to build functionality faster.


  • More suitable for large projects. Small development teams will not be able to fully appreciate the benefits of this approach.
  • Significant costs for implementation and training.

Lean Development

The fundamental principles are based on eliminating all forms of loss and increasing the consumer’s perceived value. The methodology includes 7 main aspects: losses, elimination, training improvement, late decision-making, fast delivery, team empowerment, building integrity, and visualization of everything.

As a result, Lean Software Development is a flexible structure based on optimizing time and resources, eliminating losses, and providing only the necessary issues ultimately. The team launches a minimal version of their product, learns from users what they like, and what they want to add. Then the process starts from the beginning, mainly for implementing the mentioned feedback.


  • High team motivation. Particularly, specialists can make local decisions to increase efficiency.
  • Optimizing the whole product, not just separate parts. Lean Development also focuses on improving inter group relationships.
  • Special attention to learning. Short development cycles, early testing, frequent feedback.


  • It heavily depends on the involved team and their professionalism, which makes it not as scalable as other frameworks.
  • With demand surge, there may not be enough resources to serve and satisfy all unplanned requests, and then their lead time increases.
  • The result also depends on the quality of design documentation. As a result, errors can cause significant consequences.

Rapid Application Development

Due to this methodology, an incremental model is processed, in which the main characteristics to be developed are divided into smaller, executable chunks. These pieces are then designed individually. Rapid Application Development includes 5 main stages: requirements planning and analysis, designing the architecture of the project, development and programming, testing, deployment, and maintenance.


  • Rapid product development.
  • Excellent for reusable small components creation.
  • The ability for re-review during development.
  • The entry-level integration of reusable components, therefore, saves effort, even though larger modules are not added yet.
  • Constructive reaction.


  • It takes a lot of effort to collect all the requirements initially.
  • Modeling depends on numerous unpredictable issues.
  • Not suitable for small-budget projects.

DevOps Methodology

The main goal is to develop programs quickly. In turn, this helps developers create and control the application’s operation, both in real time and at the stage of creation. DevOps methodology optimizes both the programmers’ and software testers’ duties. The accent is made on the system performance as a whole, and just on individual types of work or departments.


  • Minimizing the effect of human error.
  • Improving the quality of communication between departments.
  • Increasing the volume and speed of product development and release.
  • Getting informative feedback from users.
  • Eliminating the confusion in the creation process.


  • DevOps professionals need to understand development, testing, deployment, and support, but this knowledge can be superficial.
  • The company needs to consistently adhere to core principles of the methodology and strive for change. That is necessary for integrating into a DevOps environment.

It must be admitted that there is no perfect multipurpose methodology in the case of creating software. The best solution is to choose the individual option for each case. For a successful project launch, the choice of methodology should be made with the help of an experienced professionals team. This will help to set goals, speed up numerous processes and save as much money as possible.