A good beginning makes for a good ending in the world of technology and project management, which makes the choosing of a development methodology a top priority for every software development company, including BairesDev.

If you are looking for a way to add more structure to your software development workflow, it’s time to find the development methodology that works best for your team. The right fit will depend on the goals of your team, the size, and other factors. In addition to this methodology choice, goals, objectives, budgets, and deadlines require outlining before a project begins to set your team up for success. 

Top Software Development Methods

Each approach and software development method has its own pros and cons for your business. Some prioritize the division of work into stages and the delegation of tasks while others take a holistic approach to the optimization of development as a whole and managing teamwork. The “right” choice for one team may not be the best fit for another. Below are a few of the top methodologies used by software development teams in 2020.

#1. Waterfall

Although some developers may consider the waterfall method to be somewhat outdated, it has withstood the test of time for teams since it was developed by Dr. Winston W. Royce in 1970. The Waterfall method puts its emphasis on a logical progression of steps throughout the software development life cycle in a cascading approach similar to the steps in an incremental waterfall. 

Waterfall requires quite a bit of structure and documentation before the project begins. It is rigid and strict in its self-contained stages or steps, which typically follow the path of determining scope, analysis of requirements, design, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance. 

One stage must be fully completed before the next can begin. This can help keep things organized and makes it easier to track software progress. However, there is a lack of flexibility with this approach. If changes come up or major errors need correcting, this method requires a full restart in some instances. 

The Waterfall method is still often successfully utilized by large teams who are plan-driven and already have a very clear scope of the project.

#2. Agile

Agile is on the polar opposite end of the software development spectrum from the waterfall method. This methodology follows the process of developing software in fast-paced phases by working with the client and developers to accomplish project goals.

Its focus is on reaction rather than enormous amounts of planning. Agile is arguably the most used method by today’s software development teams as its essential focus is on ensuring better client experiences at every stage of the process while accommodating changes and shortening project timelines. Where waterfall is a flow downwards, Agile development is a circle. 

This method values individuals and relationships over tools. It incorporates customer collaboration throughout the process, flexibly responds to change, and focuses on presenting working software. Teams work in short sprints of typically two weeks defined by a list of deliverables during which teams work towards the goal of delivering tangible results. Agile is collaboration-heavy and focuses on team strengths rather than individuals. While it is easy to fix problems and incorporate feedback with Agile, it is also common for teams to get off-track with constant changes and amendments.

Also Read: What is a Low-Code? Agile Way to Build a Business Application!

#3. Scrum

Scrum borrows the foundations of Agile development as well as its beliefs that teams should be in a constant state of collaboration. Scrum is easy to understand and effective at achieving results. 

While it is similar to Agile in that the process is divided into sprints, all assignments for each sprint are discussed ahead of time. Meetings play a very important role in this approach. They often occur on a daily basis for the purposes of planning and demoing new features with the goal of tracking progress and allowing for feedback from other team members. 

This method promotes rapid changes and adds value to more complex projects. Although based on Agile development, Scrum incorporates the structure and discipline of more traditional software development methodologies (such as Waterfall).

Also Read: Software and Tools That Help to Scrum

#4. Lean

As the name suggests, the Lean methodology follows the belief that if something is worth doing, do it immediately. If not, remove it from the project. This method actually incorporates principles and practices from the world of manufacturing and applies them to software development. 

While methods rooted in the Agile process are great for practical application across organizations, Lean helps with innovation and scalability. Lean focuses on optimizing the project by cutting waste, building in quality, and fast delivery. This approach helps to guide decisions and reveals potential issues before they begin.

#5. Extreme Programming

Another Agile-based method, Extreme Programming (or XP) focuses on higher quality production using software development best practices. Instead of steps, Extreme Programming follows a set of values: simplicity, communication, consistent feedback, flexibility, and respect. 

It requires that developers first plan and fully understand the customer’s needs followed by the scheduling of work into sprints, designing with simplicity as a priority, constant customer feedback incorporation, and frequent testing during coding. This method is a great approach for projects that may be a bit more unstable than others as it involves the customer as much as possible and adapts to dynamically changing demands.

These are just a few examples of the most popular methods for developing software in today’s technological landscape. Your team should make sure to take the time to do the necessary research on the benefits and drawbacks of each method, and test which one works best for your individual developers or projects to meet your needs.