The software development industry has never seen a more productive time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this sector are expected to increase 17 percent by 2024 — a much faster rate than the national average. As opportunities in this field continue to expand, the industry has created numerous types of software development models to help teams adapt to changing needs. These models are designed to structure project workflow in ways that will ensure maximum efficiency and client satisfaction.
Types of Software Development Models
Here are five of the most common types of software development models used in today’s tech industry:
Waterfall is considered the “classic” model. With this method, each phase of the software development cycle must be sequentially completed before the next one can begin. If we were to diagram the process, the illustration would resemble a waterfall-like structure. This process has advantages and drawbacks.
- Potential issues can be found and addressed earlier.
- This model tends to result in better documentation.
- The waterfall model is easier for clients and those unfamiliar with technological processes to understand.
- Clients aren’t always aware of what they want or need. This model makes it harder to plan for and meet project demands.
- Requirement changes can be costly and time-consuming.
- Problems that arise from earlier phases often aren’t noticed until it’s too late.
The waterfall model is best for very simple projects where requirements are guaranteed to remain stable.
In the agile development process, cross-functional teams (composed of planners, designers, developers, testers, etc.) work together in short bursts to create several different versions of a product. Once one version is fully completed, the teams integrate feedback on the product into their next burst of work.
- Requirement changes can be incorporated at any point during the process.
- The process is highly transparent.
- Opportunities are available for continuous product improvement.
- The agile model can be more difficult to understand for those unfamiliar with technological processes.
- Proper documentation is sometimes lacking.
- When implemented poorly, the agile model can be substantially inefficient.
The agile model is a very common development process. It should be used whenever projects require flexibility.
The term “lean software development” was first mentioned in Germany in 1992. There is no specific method associated with lean development, according to Microsoft. Instead, the term describes any process that generally adheres to a certain set of values and principles, all designed to eliminate “waste” during the development process.
- The lean development process focuses on efficiency. This leads to faster and cheaper processes.
- Products are generally delivered earlier.
- Teams that use this development model are notably more empowered and motivated.
- Success of the projects using the lean development model often hinges largely on the personal discipline and advanced skills of team members.
- Offering too much flexibility to developers can lead to loss of focus.
Short-term projects with small, reliable teams are best suited to use the lean development model.
One form of agile development called extreme programming (XP) involves using the same short bursts of work to create different versions of a product. Like lean development, however, it is best characterized by its reliance on certain values, practices and rules. XP places a strong emphasis on items such as maximum simplicity, constant communication, collective knowledge and programmer welfare.
- Extreme programming emphasizes customer involvement.
- This development model is consistent with most modern development methods.
- Using the extreme programming model encourages personal commitment on the part of developers.
- Unfortunately, this model only works as well as the people involved.
- Constant communication with customers can become expensive.
- Using this model may make it difficult to estimate how long the development process will take.
This model works best when developers are creating software for customers whose requirements are in constant flux. Startup companies, for example, often change their requirements during the course of development.
The rapid application development method emphasizes prototyping and speed. It emphasizes practices such as:
- Using workshops or focus groups to gather requirements.
- Reusing software components.
- Sticking to a rigid, fast-paced schedule.
- Deferring design improvements to subsequent product versions.
- Informality in team communication.
- This software development model reduces the developer’s risks and efforts during projects.
- Clients can review products quickly.
- Customers can easily provide feedback when necessary.
- Success hinges on top performance of individuals and teams.
- The rapid application development model requires the involvement of highly skilled workers.
- The model also requires the development team to interface with users frequently.
The rapid application development model is ideal for projects that need to be created within two to three months.
Fully understanding the array of software development models allows programmers, designers and other technology professionals to select the most effective methodology for their projects. Client satisfaction and efficiency are often associated with the software development model embraced by software development teams.
Additional Sources: TatvaSoft
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