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The Most Popular Software Development Methodologies Overview

Types of Software Development Methodologies

There are different software development models, and each of them represents a various system of principles and approaches that determine the processes organization and the way of working on the project.

The choice depends on the specifics of the project, its goals and objectives, the budget and timeline, and sometimes the development team and the customer subjective preferences. This is a very important point, since practice shows that even small projects are difficult to be successfully implemented without a proper methodology.

The approach to software development can produce a decisive impact on your project’s success. Therefore, this overview will be useful to anyone who works in this niche.

Let us start with the definition of most popular software development models and their features. Understanding the differences, as well as pros and cons plays a key role in the decision-making process on choosing the best option for your case.

1. Agile

Agile is a flexible software development methodology, involving a large number of various iterations. In the development process, the customer can observe the result and understand whether it satisfies him or not after each iteration.

A working product is the main progress assessment. It is not tools, solutions, productivity and grace that are important, but the fact that all the planned options are implemented.

Lean Software Development methodology principles

Agile approach assumes that when implementing a project, one does not need to rely solely on pre-established detailed plans. It is important to focus on the constantly changing conditions of the external and internal environment and take into account customers and users feedback. This encourages modern developers and engineers to experiment and look for new solutions, not limiting themselves to rigid frameworks and standards.

Individual agile-methodologies include Scrum and Kanban.

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2. Scrum

Scrum is a most used flexible project management methodology based on the division of the workflow into equal sprints – usually periods from a week to a month, depending on the project and the team composition. The tasks for this sprint are set before the sprint, at the end – the results are discussed, and the team starts a new sprint.

Due to this, the execution control becomes more flexible, and developers respond to emerging problems quicker. Traditional planning fades into the background, its place is occupied by the sprints backlog.

In the Scrum-methodology, the starting document is the so-called product backlog – a list of wishes for results. It is ranked by importance and, sometimes, by complexity. During the project implementation period, the product backlog can be modified by the scrum team.

Differences between Kanban and Scrum - different software development methodologies

3. Kanban

Like the above described Scrum, Kanban is one of the possible ways to implement a flexible software development methodology. Its task is to balance different specialists within the team and effectively distribute the work between them.

The business-process is divided not into universal sprints, but into the stages of performing specific tasks: “Planned”, “Developed”, “Tested”, “Completed”, etc. Kanban approach was designed to help use the available resources in the most effective way, quickly find the emerging issues and solve them in a short time.

What Is a Canban Board and How It Works

The central place is occupied by the development process visualization.This visualization is called a Kanban board, which helps to track the currently performed task status and to identify the problems that arise without resorting to complex techniques.

Kanban is less strict than Scrum software development methodology – the time of sprints there is not limited, there are no roles, except for the product owner.

4. Waterfall

This software development methodology is suitable for medium and large projects with dozens of developers and several different teams involved. It is also good for projects with transparent requirements and limits clearly set at the beginning of the project lifecycle. This is a methodology for software development in which the development process looks like a flow that follows the phases of requirements analysis, design, implementation, testing, integration and support.

The development process involves the sequential stages passing, each of which must be completed before the next begins.

The Waterfall model refers to the classic understanding of software development. The whole process is rigid and linear, there are clear goals for each stage, and a new phase begins only after the completion of the previous one, there is no going back.

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5. Lean

The Lean Software Development approach is one of the flexible software development methodology types. The developers identify the main and secondary elements of the project in the working process. The main are of greater value, and from the secondary ones is got out the most.

In a nutshell, Lean says: ruthlessly get rid of everything that does not add value, and do only what you absolutely believe in to be done at the moment.

The main point is in determining the value as the only service or product provided to the client. All the rest, that directly or indirectly does not increase the value for the client, refers to losses and must be eliminated.

The Principles of Lean Software Development:

  • Losses reduction. In order not to have to pay more and waste time, developers analyze the project before getting started and leave only core functionality.
  • Built in quality. The developer tests the project, makes corrections and eliminates bugs at each stage.
  • Fast reporting. Feedback is very important for the effective work of the developer, so he provides the customer with detailed information on time.
  • General system optimization. The system is optimized not by individual processes, but entirely.


There is no definite answer to the question “what is the best software development methodology?” since each approach has its own advantages and the optimal choice depends on the specific project and its peculiarities.

Comparison of the software development methodologies on the principle of “who is more edgy” is neither productive nor constructive. Each of them has its pros, cons and application features.

As a company that provides services for custom software development, we try to be flexible when choosing an approach to development process: we adapt to the specifics of each project, as well as take into account customer requirements.

We use different approaches for different projects, but mostly we prefer flexible software development methodologies like Agile and Scrum, the effectiveness of which has been proven in practice.

February 07, 2018

Flexibility, efficiency, and individual approach to each customer are the basic principles we are guided by in our work.

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