Software development models are numerous and suited for developing different types of software and applications. Choosing the right model is essential for delivering the expected results within the specified timeframes and under the planned budget. Quite the contrary, choosing the incorrect model or working without one can lead to prolonged timeframes, subpar product quality or an outright failure of the project.
Therefore, knowing the differences between the popular software development methodologies along with their pros and cons is essential for choosing the right one. Today we will provide such a comparison, so you will be able to make a grounded decision on what model fits your project requirements best.
These are 5 popular software development models used nowadays:
- Feature driven development
In this article, we will describe these models, the projects they are best suited for and their pros and cons. While all of these models share the same phases of the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle), there are distinctive features that set them apart and make them suitable for different types of projects and varying sizes of developer teams.
This is the oldest, most trusted and most straightforward of the software development methodologies. It resembles the waterfall, as each stage can be completed only after the previous one is finished. The stages include product requirement gathering, design, and development of the software, testing, release and maintenance.
- Simple and functional project structure.
- Quick to accomplish, suitable for small-to-midsize projects (mobile games, etc.).
- Easy to test and analyze the feature realization.
- The project requirements should be precise and cannot be adjusted on the go.
- Product functionality cannot be tested and fixed mid-development, as no MVP is present.
- The model does not fit projects requiring intense maintenance.
All in all, Waterfall is a convenient methodology for a relatively small group of developers conducting typical one-time projects. These can be the projects with long development cycle and strict requirements, like medical hardware drivers or medical software for analysis processing, as well as software and applications for other industries where the error can cost human lives, not dollars. However, due to testing limitations and project management rigidity, Waterfall is currently losing popularity in favor of more flexible models.
Kanban Board is an approach that can actually be used on top of any of the previous software development methodologies, though originally deriving from working under the Lean model. It concentrates on pinpointing the most important feature in development right now, shows the effort already spent on it, and helps to highlight the room for continuous improvement, helping to seek and find perfection in every product feature.
- Limiting the work in progress (WIP) to the most important areas to keep the amount of change minimal at any given time and speed up the development process.
- Nearly zero investment in tools or additional training for your development team.
- As simple as sticky notes and a whiteboard, this visualization technique helps keep the hand on the pulse of the product development.
- Sticky notes cannot predict the timeframes, so lengthy projects involving months of development benefit little of this approach.
- While simplifying the WIP, Kanban is no good for planning and can be completely overhauled by a model better suited for planning, like Scrum. Then, again, Kanban works best on top of Lean or Scrum, simply showing the flow of development and helping avoid the bottlenecks in it.
- As each Kanban Board task is equally important, this practice does not work in times of maintenance issues, as no urgency markers are present and the tasks cannot be prioritized.
Kanban is great for smaller team working on polishing a product, like running a business intelligence system, where constant system improvement is expected and drives value.
In feature-driven development or FDD model, features are the cornerstones of development. As the features are added, the new sets of requirements are introduced. This works best for larger internal teams of developers, working on the incremental improvement of a large-scale product. This approach is also quite often used as an interim workflow between a Waterfall and Agile software development methodologies.
- Works great for large-scale products requiring constant updating and always delivers value.
- Based on the best and well-documented software development practices, ensuring developers with any experience can find their role and successfully work on the project.
- The resulting features are always better than the initial ones
- This model cannot be used by smaller or one-man teams of developers, as well as for smaller projects with strict deadlines
- The success of this model relies heavily on having the highly-skilled team leads monitoring the process throughout the development cycles
- Documentation is scarce if any. The software owner gets the feature, yet its precise description is outside the scope of FDD model.
FDD model is best used by large teams of developers, working on constantly improving the performance of an integrated product, like a banking software. Nowadays it is quite popular, yet it still loses popularity to more Agile-like software development models.
This story was submitted by GlobalLuxSoft and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.
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