Software Development Models – The Beginner’s Guide
Demand for software is on the rise, despite the blow dealt by the pandemic. Thus, actual and forecast data for global spending on software from Statista suggest a bright future for software companies. Indeed, global spending on enterprise software reached $425 billion U.S. in 2020. To meet this demand, software companies use different software development models. We will explain seven such models and their impact on the speed and cost of delivery. First, let us explain what software development model means. Such a model is a set of tools, processes, and methodologies selected to develop the project based on project goals. It aims at boosting productivity while reducing operating costs. Thus, the software development model you choose can make or break your project. Next, we will go through the software development life cycle (SDLC) stages and their impact on your choice of software development models.
An Overview of the Software Development Lifecycle
The software development lifecycle covers all the stages of producing a software solution. In short, it goes from requirement analysis to deployment and support and depends on the model you choose. We will briefly present these phases next.
At this stage, the software and business experts gather the information needed to define the business objectives for the product. Then, they prepare the software specifications, which is a document with the main functional requirements for the software. All the resulting information helps develop a product aligned with the client’s business objectives.
Architecture and Design
The software development team produces a document that indicates how to develop the product. The document covers frameworks, platforms, and delivery estimates. Then, the development team shares the documentation and a high-level visual representation of the product with all the parties involved in the development process.
This stage is the core of the software development process. The development team writes the code according to the requirements and does plenty of fine-tuning. In short, the development stage produces the software requested by the client.
At this stage, the software engineers check the code and make sure the various modules of the software work together as intended. Software testing is a continuous process, especially in the Agile model. It may include different types of functional and non-functional testing. For example, integration, system, and sanity testing belong to the former category, while performance and usability testing to the latter.
In short, professional software development companies test all the product aspects in what is known as continuous testing.
At this stage, the software development company rolls out the application, making it available on the market. Deployment happens after the final testing and approval of the project by the delivery team and the client. Simply put, software deployment includes all the activities that make a software solution available to the users.
Maintenance and Support
Most software applications require ongoing maintenance to keep their relevance for the users and remain competitive. For this purpose, software companies monitor, upgrade and optimize the software. Furthermore, they fix bugs detected after deployment. In short, software maintenance ensures the software meets the evolving customer needs.
The Importance of Following the Software Development Process
By following the process outlined before, companies can keep the software project on schedule and within budget. First, by doing that, they make sure the project stays on track. The process makes defining clear objectives and monitoring them easy. Furthermore, it helps managers and clients with resource planning and allocation. In addition, the process emphasizes productivity. Thus, software development models like Agile allow companies to make the most of each specialist and resource allocated to the project. The same goes for DevOps practices, which significantly increased productivity for 59 percent of the IT organizations that adopted them.
Finally, following the development process by the book can have a strong impact on development time and improve management. Team members and the client will work well together. Furthermore, applying the right development model to the project can lead to a six-fold reduction in development time.
Brief Presentation of the Software Development Models
The Waterfall Model for Software Development
The Iterative Model for Software Development
The Spiral Model
The Prototyping Model for Software Development
- requirement gathering and analysis,
- quick design,
- building a prototype,
- initial user evaluation,
- refining the prototype and
- product implementation and maintenance.
The Agile Scrum Software Development Model
The Kanban Model
We briefly introduced you to some of the best-known and popular software development methodologies. While all of them have strengths and weaknesses, the linear models have lost ground to the agile methodologies lately. Even so, there is no model suited for any project. Based on the project size, type, and complexity, on technical or team considerations, each of the existing methodologies may be best suited. The Waterfall model, for example, has failed to deliver on several large-scale government projects. However, it is still appropriate for projects with clear objectives and solutions and no pressure for immediate implementation. The V-shaped model works well for small to medium-sized projects with clearly defined and fixed requirements. Besides, the model relies on abundant technical resources and their technical expertise. The spiral model works well for large, complex, and expensive projects, while Scrum handles change and uncertainties like no other.