While a lot of software development methodologies focus on agile and waterfall, there are more methods to choose from than you might think—nearly 60 at last count! Each has its loyal adherents, with different approaches having the fastest speed, highest quality, and lowest total cost of ownership.
Depending on needs, budget, and desired launch date, software developers in the U.S. tend to choose one of seven to ten software development methodologies. In an earlier post, we gave you an overview of some of the most popular ones they use. Here, we’ll dive a little deeper into why you might want to choose one type of software development over another for your next project, and we’ll take a look at a couple of approaches we didn’t include last time.
A Closer Look at Top Software Development Methodologies
The steps involved in choosing the proper software development methodology are based on project needs and the benefits it provides from making a particular choice. Though there’s no “perfect” approach to software development, you can use specific criteria to narrow your choice, including:
- Project focus and complexity
- Customer and stakeholder involvement
- Flexibility of timeline
- Allotted budget
- Number and type of teams working on the project
- Required resources vs. available resources
- Project scalability
- Resistance to change and rigidity of structure
- Specialization of roles
- Set start and end dates
Now on to the methodologies.
6. Feature-Driven Development
Like agile, feature-driven development is an iterative, incremental, and customer-centric approach to software development. It encourages status reporting at all levels, which helps developers to update the project regularly, identify errors quickly, and provide clients with progress reports and results at any time. A practical approach, it’s ideal for long-term, complex projects and is often a good option for teams that want a structured, focused agile methodology that can be easily scaled across the product organization.
5. Scrum Development
The leading agile methodology, Scrum is ideal when you’re looking for quick feedback, better communication, and optimal flexibility. Reasons to choose the Scrum methodology include when:
- Requirements aren’t clearly defined.
- There’s a high probability of changes during development.
- Early and frequent testing is needed.
- The product owner is fully available.
- The development team has self-management skills.
- The client’s culture is open to innovation and adaptable to change.
4. Full Stack Development
If there’s an ideal time for using full stack development, it’s when you want to take an idea or feature and turn it into a fully functional prototype. Because full stack developers understand business requirements and engineering capabilities, they make excellent product managers who are skilled in taking all parameters into account when making decisions. Full stack development is also the ideal choice when your budget doesn’t allow for hiring a specialist for each layer of the development process.
3. Extreme Programming
Another agile project management methodology, extreme programming was created to dramatically reduce the software development lifecycle. More than just a series of steps to manage projects, it follows a set of values that helps teams work faster and collaborate more effectively. If you’re looking to quickly release and respond to customer requests, extreme programming can be the perfect fit for your project.
2. Lean Development
If you want a methodology that is both iterative and waste-averse, lean development is the way to go, as it’s all about paring things down both process and delivery-wise. It’s a good choice for addressing risks quickly and cheaply and has a high focus on market validation and making a successful product, not the “right” product. In the hands of high-caliber developers, lean empowers team members to speak up when they have a new idea, which can greatly improve engagement.
1. Embedded Systems Development
Yes, you can develop embedded software using agile methodology. As embedded software actually requires many of the same processes and ideas used in traditional software development, it’s also amenable to agile methodologies. But it does require rethinking both processes as one iterative, continuous process to address challenges like coupling the agile methodology to hardware development.