In today’s highly digitized ecosystem, the evolution of technology is taking place at a fast pace. And it is pushing software organizations to compete and work in a fast-paced environment.
A piece of research by IDC reveals that the global information technology industry is headed at full pace to reach $5 trillion in 2019, which is also employing millions of people who build, design, grow and sell computer software and services. Software development methodologies are one of the vital factors that form the backbone of the software industry, which efficiently binds employees, processes, technology, and tools.
There are numerous software development methodologies suited to building different types of software and applications. Picking up the correct methodology is crucial for delivering the project with the best results and within the specified timeframe. Thus, getting acquainted with popular software development methodologies along with their pros and cons is essential before embarking upon the software development journey.
In this article, we will discuss the 3 most popular software development methodologies that will help you make a grounded decision on what methodology fits your business and functional requirements.
Though less common these days, when your end product’s requirements are fixed yet time and money are variable, choose the waterfall method.
~ Patrick Rockwell
Introduced by Dr. Winston W. Royce in a paper published in 1970, the Waterfall Methodology is a sequential, linear software development process of project management.
The Waterfall Approach focuses on the logical progression of all the steps that are involved in the software development life cycle (SDLC). The structure of phases it follows is simple—each phase cascades down to the next level of development. In short, it is not one big Niagara Falls, rather it is a series of cascading waterfalls in which the pools (phases of development) do not overlap.
Stages Involved in the Waterfall Methodology
A Waterfall Model passes through several individual phases, which amalgamate to result in the desired product. The stages are explained briefly with an example to better understand the core of the Waterfall model.
Assume that a renowned bank is planning to develop a new banking application in the 90s. So the ideal approach to come up with an application is:
In this phase, the detailed requirements are gathered from the client, followed by defining the expectations and goals of the project and analyzing the risks. As the team goes through the requirements, the following list of questions are revealed by the involved project team, which were not mentioned in the requirements document:
- How many countries will use this banking application?
- Is there a need to support multiple languages?
- The number of users expected to use this application, and so on
Identification of the goals of the project is followed by the designing phase of the product, which involves drawing the blueprint for the coders to meet the desired requirements.In this case, the architect of the project works on designing the software architecture of the banking application. For instance, it is decided that the application is required to have redundant backup and failover capabilities so that the system is accessible all the time. Thus, the architect designs documents and architecture diagram for the same.
This phase is also known as development, coding, or implementation. In this stage, the development team works on writing the software for the project. They follow the design documents to ensure their solution follows the design as finalized by the architect.Being a banking application, the highest priority is given to the security of the application. Thus, developers implement various security checks and audit logging features in the application.
- Testing and Debugging
In this phase of the process, the software undergoes the stress-test and is combed over for errors to ensure that the final product meets the customer’s requirements.If there is any defect in the application, developers fix the same and testing team tests the fixes to make sure the defect is fixed. They also perform regression testing of the application to see if any new defects were introduced.
After testing and debugging are complete, the code is deployed to a production environment as per the agreed-upon requirements. Another set of testing and verification often follows after implementation. In the case of a banking application, the team builds and installs the application on the servers. Some of the high-level activities involve installing the OS on the servers, installing security patches, hardening the servers, installing web servers and application servers, installing the database, etc. In this phase, the team also ensures that the application runs smoothly on the servers without any downtime.
Pros and Cons of the Waterfall Methodology
A majority of the organizations, these days, use an assortment of software development methodologies. However, a report shows that 25.5% of manufacturing companies currently use waterfall.
Agile Software Development Methodology
If you adopt only one #agile practice, let it be retrospectives. Everything else will follow.
One bright sunny day, a few people with varied software development methodologies background sat on a round table to brainstorm a possible alternative solution to software development. The aim was to achieve faster software development time with less documentation. The end result of the meeting is what we call today the Agile Software Development Process.
The main aim of this approach is to “Learn quickly and often enough that you don’t simply plough on and exacerbate any issues. PROGRESS ITERATIVELY with a retrospective after each cycle and you will improve.”
An Agile Development Process is an innovative approach used for articulating a well-organized project management procedure with an objective to minimize the perils by building software in short boxes, called iterations, which exist from one week to one month.
Stages Involved in the Agile Project Methodology
The Agile Methodology Process also goes through its own life cycle. There are 6 phases in this approach, which are explained, followed by an example of a mobile app development project, named Coach.
- Concept: In this step of the agile development process, the team envisions and prioritizes projects according to their importance. Some teams may work on more than one project simultaneously, depending on the organization’s departments.
- Inception: Once the project has been identified, team members work with stakeholders to determine and discuss requirements. Here, flow diagrams may be used to understand how the new feature will function and fit into the existing system.
- Iteration/Construction: Once the requirements have been defined for the initial sprint based on the feedback of the stakeholders, the real work starts—the project team begins to work on development. UX designers and developers begin work on their first iteration of the project.
- Release: At this stage, you are very close to release the product into the real world. Quality testing, training, both internal and external as well as documentation and reporting are put into production.
- Production: This stage involves ongoing support for the software release. The Agile method helps keep track of your project and make sure it is constantly optimized and ready to bounce back from any sudden changes or uncertainties.
- Retirement: At this stage, you remove the system release from production. In short, it is the end of life of these activities.
Coach and its Successful Agile Journey with Net Solutions
IsaiX approached Net Solutions to redo their flagship web-based product, Coach Technology®, that helps managers with training, targeting, planning, tracking, evaluating, and encouraging employee performance.
We followed the Agile Development Process for this project with Team Foundation Server (TFS) that managed our sprint planning, tracking, and team velocity. Using a system like Coach5 that has three sites under its umbrella, we devised a custom automated deployment process consisting of all our environments: development, staging, QC-testing, and operations. For example, pulling the latest from the repository as per the applied code-label and building the solutions thereafter. The deployment component was built as a group of batch files from batch programming.
Pros and Cons of the Agile Methodology
DevOps Software Development Methodology
DevOps is not a goal, but a never-ending process of continual improvement.
DevOps is the offspring of the Agile Software Development process, which came into existence to match the increased software velocity. Advancements in the agile culture over the past few years have paved the way for the need for a more holistic approach to the end-to-end software delivery lifecycle. This holistic approach, DevOps, acted as an ideal bridge between the “development” and “operational” phases of a company.
The problem with the previous paradigms is that when the teams used to work separately:
- Dev was often oblivious of QA and Ops roadblocks that prevent the program from working as anticipated.
- QA and Ops were typically working across many features and had a little context of the business purpose and value of the software.
Each group working in this ecosystem has opposing goals that can open the doors of inefficiency and finger-pointing when something goes wrong. To address such challenges DevOps took birth with an aim to establish collaborative cross-functional teams.
Stages Involved in the DevOps Methodology
- Continuous Development (Plan, Code, and Build): In this phase, all software deliverables are divided into multiple sprints of short development cycles. These are then passed on to the Ops in a very short duration of time.
- Continuous Testing (Test): Here, the built application is tested by QA team time and again to look for the bugs. This constant monitoring helps find the shortcomings of a code right when they are built.
- Continuous Integration (Release): In this stage, the existing code gets integrated with the code supporting new functionality.
- Continuous Deployment (Deploy and Operate): In this stage, the code is handed over to the production ecosystem, which makes sure that the code gets deployed correctly on all the servers.
- Continuous Monitoring (Monitor and Provide Feedback): Being a very important stage in the DevOps software development process, it is aimed at boosting the quality of the software because of incessant monitoring of its performance.
The Future of Software Development Methodologies
The above-mentioned software development methodologies are the most popular ones used for various software development projects. However, all these work well, depending upon the nature of the project.
Therefore, software developers/project owners must have a thorough understanding of all these methodologies because none of these are foolproof and each has its own pros and cons.