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Top 7 software development methodologies with Pros and Cons

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software development methodologies

Any software product building demands suitable software methodology appliance. It is used to be prosperous while effective digital solution creation. Project evolvement is complicated process. It consists of distinct stages, sets a limit on timeframe, has own deliverables.

Development stages of the project are instrumental for carrying-out any digital solution. Deep insight on widely-used, current methodologies appliance while project building is provided to reveal a suitable philosophy.

Software development methodologies, project life cycle


project life cycle


Any digital project consists of the planning, analysis, design, implementation, testing and integration, maintenance stages. A set of rules is applied to mentioned stages, upheld by all team players, is called software development methodology.

Planning. Defining the overall flow breaking down into small, easy manageable parts is the start. All elements are set in order to develop the project. An in-depth set of functionalities is identified for each element. Suitable technology is selected for the current product to be implemented while planning phase.

Analysis. It implicates identifying goals, demands eliciting, transforming facts, diagnosing issues related to the current project, recommending positive building. While analysis it is created requirements in order the scope of work to be defined.

Design. Stakeholders review documented specification for choosing a suitable approach. Applicable requirements are used for the product’s architecture design with limited functionality; also for identifying approaches to be applied based on the design document specification (DDS).

Implementation stage is a start point of project building. Code writing requires applying various programming tools, languages to match the documented specification. It helps in turning an idea into a future solution.

Testing and Integration. Bringing project’s separate parts together into a test environment to be checked for bugs, other fails for meeting standard criterion is involved within mentioned stage.

Maintenance. Systematically testing functionalities for bugs that were not found or identified, for errors that are not shown in the fail logs, those are vital maintenance part that guarantees the project goes within the planned requirements.

A fresh take on modern software development methodologies


This philosophy is predictable, values ultra-careful planning, architecture; with linear phases where every phase has its own crucial functions, begins after previous one has been finished. The project owner’s/client’s review is obtained after the project development and testing is completed.




Advantages Disadvantages A Good Fit
  • Sequence of activities: each stage is finished, then the next starts.
  • Tests are represented before every stage finishing.
  • Every stage requires elaborate documentation.
  • Errors should be fixed within the stage.
  • Testing comes quite late in the building process.
  • Working on specification is time-consuming.
  • Client’s feedback cannot be included when development is carried out.
  • High-risky approach.
It fits not large projects with clear criteria.



It puts emphasis on defining goals, analysing viable alternatives in well-documented project specifications; focuses on risk evaluation assessment, evaluates multiple possibilities before being implemented.

The project owner’s feedback is received after the first iteration is finished.




Advantages Disadvantages A Good Fit
  • Risk avoidance is reduced based on high amount evaluation.
  • Possibility to add extra features later.
  • Fitting high-risky projects with modifiable project criteria.                                                                          
  • Expensive approach.
  • Project breakdown probability based on defeat while analysing.
  • Unspecified period of project life cycle.                                                                                                                                                                                 
It fits medium, large projects having chances of being implemented in a meaningful way within organisation based on easy risk identification.


XP or Extreme Programming

Widely-used philosophy for software product creation within volatile environment. The core purpose is decreasing the costs of requirements specification while development.

Extreme programming (XP) requires that somebody acted for the owner/client is involved into the building process to receive continuous, relevant feedback regularly.


XP or Extreme Programming


Advantages Disadvantages A Good Fit
  • Focusing on the client’s interest.
  • Establishing the schedules, tasks in order the software engineers will be involved into the process.
  • Grouping with other development approaches.
  • Effectiveness depends on project staffing profile.
  • Excessive changes can be frequently adopted.
  • Frequent meetings for raising total costs while product building is required.
  • Unknown exact possibilities, future outcomes.
It fits all types of projects where criteria change rapidly.



This philosophy is iterative, flexibility-based. Requirements are known as stories that form Product Backlog. Development cycles are Sprints taking no more than 4 weeks. Sprint’s Backlog consists of Sprint’s stories.

Everyday meetings are Daily Scrums, last 15 minutes, are applied the progress assessment. Scrum Master is a team member who maintains the records of the team’s efforts. The project owner’s feedback is obtained after each sprint is completed.




Advantages Disadvantages A Good Fit
  • Teams take decisions.
  • Requirements are considered insignificant for creating a successful product.
  • Lightly controlled approach with periodic updatings.
  • Transparency-based building stages.
  • Daily meetings are helpful for outcomes measuring.
  • Reliance on costs, time estimating accuracy.
  • Highly experts are required.
  • Team makes a decision that bears high responsibility.
It fits all projects with different complexity.



Prototype can be created based on mentioned model. Showing the features, making demand modifications are permitted regarding the project life cycle.

Prototypes are built fast, but mostly they leave unattended programming best practices. The owner’s/client’s feedback is received after the prototype is finished.




Advantages Disadvantages A Good Fit
  • Functionality conception based on prototyping approach.
  • Risk-reduction based on the primary investigation level.
  • Favourable environment while transparency-based interaction.
  • Investigating, analysis are well-assessed.                 
  • Prototype creating is based on the company's expense.
  • Too much client’s personal interest.
  • Workflow can be easily compromised.        
It fits large scale projects having exactly exhaustive requirements that are described after being coded at first.



It is an extension of waterfall approach. It puts emphasis on careful testing. Each stage is paired with a matching testing phase while V-modelling approach.

The project owner’s/client’s feedback is received in the form of acceptance test after entire product finishing.




Advantages Disadvantages A Good Fit
  • Defects can be repaired short time after having been detected.
  • Any team player can test the product.
  • Testing objectives are changeful, relating uniquely to every test level.
  • It is very inflexible.
  • A lot of resources are required.
  • Test levels should be tailored based on the project criteria.
It fits small and medium scale projects.



Flexible approach for building a software product; loyal to the emergent project criteria changes, does not include any delays. It focuses on work that is active in the development stage.

After the specific feature is shipped, the product owner/client will pull another from the backlog. When working under Kanban the owner/client maintains control over backlog, can re-prioritize as needed.




Advantages Disadvantages A Good Fit
  • Transparency-based, flexible workflow.
  • Event-driven due to tasks known as cards on the board.
  • Focusing on eliminating waste within manufacturing process.
  • Constant board monitoring is required.
  • A potentially complex.
  • Focusing on cards makes scheduling and achievements rather complicated.
Being extremely agile it fits a wide range of projects.


Bottom line

Mentioned different types of software methodologies are critical, widely applied to different digital projects, are relevant to specific projects depending upon their nature. None of them is without risk of loss, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Dive into present-time software methodologies review  in order digital product implementation will be thriving and effective before selecting and applying unsuitable philosophy.

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