The software development models constitute a whole gamut of methods and approaches. They are intended for software development teams to be able to –
- Systematically organize work-related processes
- Ensure that the objectives are well-defined
- Conceptualize project estimates
- Streamline the solution to perfection
What are the Software Development Models?
Before answering what software development models stand for, let’s discuss SDLC or software development lifecycle.
SDLC defines the process of how you develop and maintain a software product by involving a host of development stages, such as –
- Prototyping and Designing
- Quality Assurance
Now, what the software development models do is to organize the development stages.
Models should be chosen based on your company’s working style and corporate culture, apart from the testing stage and features included in the first version of the software. There is also a possibility that a company may go for different models for different projects, depending on requirements, budgets, and deadlines.
What makes Software Development Models Important?
The software development industry is growing exponentially in today’s contemporary business world. The rapidity of progress of the industry is acknowledged by experts around the globe.
For example, Statista reports that about 36.6 thousand mobile apps were released through the Apple App Store. Moreover, the business consulting firm, The Grand View Research, has also assessed that the global market size of the software development industry is around USD 429.59 billion and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 11.7% by 2030.
What does the above report suggest?
The projected revenue generations corresponding to the growth of the software development industry afford a great deal of clarity about why software development models are indispensable for IT companies. They are designed to enable businesses to streamline their Software Development Life Cycle to build software products with enhanced program functionalities and efficiency at the lowest costs, and at a faster turnaround time.
Does that mean choosing the right model is necessary?
Yes. That goes without saying.
Choosing the correct models in software engineering is what pans out the best results for software engineering teams to fulfill organizational needs, stakeholders’ expectations, and the project’s development.
What to do before Choosing the Right Software Development Model?
Among a multitude of software development models to choose from, focus on which models afford value, quality, seamlessness, and innovation to prioritize your options accordingly.
Also, tie your objectives to the selection of a specific model. It involves certain considerations, such as –
- Does it (model) eliminate the need for manual coding?
- Does it improve reusability?
- Does it rule out the possibility of security breaches?
- Does it soften the load on IT infrastructure?
- Can it accommodate the size and skills of the team’s software engineering capability?
- Does it solve the concerns & priorities of stakeholders and clients?
- Is it conducive to the software’s size and complexity?
Types of Software Development Models
1. Waterfall Model
The waterfall software development model is the oldest paradigm in which the stages are mandated not to be commenced unless the previous ones are fully completed, in terms of processes and documentation.
In other words, it mandates that if the previous development stage remains unfinished, it will not ensure the processing of another stage. So, basically, the completion of the previous step is the green light to the inception of the next development phase, according to the waterfall model.
Benefits of the Waterfall Model
- It’s best for projects with well-defined requirements & more control over processes
- It is a less iterative approach in which processes flow downward like a waterfall; from conception to testing, deployment, and maintenance
- It is a simple and easy-to-understand model
- It is easily manageable, given each individual stage doesn’t pass down onto each other until the previous one is verified
- It helps your development team to get an idea of how clients interact with the software and the environment in which it should be carried out
- It doesn’t permit sporadic completion of the phases. They are done one at a time
Special attractions of Waterfall Model –
- It involves significantly less customer interaction during the development phase of the software product
- Once the product is finished, with all stages being duly verified, only then it can be launched for the end-users
- It rules out the possibility of expensive troubleshoots of issues, given how each development stage relies on the deliverables of the previous one
Phases involved in the Waterfall Model –
- Planning – it’s a preliminary step to define obtainable goals and ways to satisfy them.
- Risk analysis – it involves highlighting potential risks through rigorous examinations and creating prototypes to rule out vague requirements.
- Engineering – It involves coding, testing, and deploying software followed by risk analysis.
- Evaluation – The program is evaluated on parameters, like performance, etc. to decide whether repetition of the development cycle is needed.
2. Agile Model
It involves a group of models based on iterative development. The goal is to build high-quality software systems at reduced costs and in less time.
A type of incremental model, the agile approach is adopted for time-critical applications.
Benefits of Agile Model
- Improves customer satisfaction through rapid and continuous delivery of productive software
- It emphasizes people and interactions than processes and tools
- It allows customers, developers, and testers to interact with each other constantly
- It facilitates cooperation between businesspersons and developers
- Permits technical excellence and great design
- It can be used to deliver working software frequently
- It is used because it regularly adapts to changing circumstances
Agile model is employed because of code-quality, early testing, and simple design. Using this model means having improved communication between a client and the software development team. Upon the completion of an iteration, progress can be reviewed to plan the next move with the team.
Situations in which Agile approaches are applied
- When implementation of new changes is mandatory
- When projects require limited planning to satisfy end users’ needs in an ever-changing, dynamic IT world
- When development of projects don’t require more rigid sequential way
Types of Agile Model –
A) Scrum Agile Model
It is the most popular agile model in which iteration is known as a sprint, a relatively manageable tactic to allow easy tracking of project’s progress. The sprint usually takes nearly 1-4 weeklong periods in which activities like planning, design, coding, testing, and deployment are carried out.
At the end of the iteration/sprint, the work is examined, and new priorities are defined. Thereafter, the planning phase is put into motion when the next sprint starts. Defined activities of the sprints are not allowed to be changed. The scrum models are beneficial for larger initiatives in which developers feel accountable to materialize the success of the initiatives.
Situations in which the use of Scrum Agile Model is required
- When results are expected immediately
- When the project is too ambiguous with no well-defined duties
- When a project requires a highly custom-tailored development approach
B) Kanban Agile Model
This model doesn’t involve definite iterations. It mandates real-time capacity communication and total work candor. It adopts the flexible approach of process visualization, allowing the team to sort out backlogs, indicate a set of priorities, assign responsibilities, and more priorities, depending on the requirements.
One can also review the progress of communication with a client on Kanban. Visualization of the work on this model is carried out in a way that promotes a better understanding of the work and can be shown to others who are interested to be kept updated.
Situations in which Kanban Agile Model is applied
- When the processes require removal of unwanted processes
- When you require a model facilitating seamless development process
- When you want to continuously improve the system
C) Extreme Programming (XP) Model
In this model, no matter the iteration has already been in progress, changes can be made, nonetheless. The XP approach focuses on developing and managing projects with enhanced efficiency, agility, and control.
Based on the Agile Manifesto, the XP model is to be implemented in circumstances when you need a robust infrastructure, experienced resources, and a fully organized environment.
Situations in which XP Model is applied
- When there is no communication gap between the client and the development team
- When there is a need for a quick reaction to a constant change in the project
- When projects require a remote collaboration
3. Incremental and Iterative Model
In this model, each iteration generates a product’s version that is evaluated later for the next steps to implement. Unlike the Waterfall model that requires completion of the previous stage to green-lit the following one, the iterative model works differently.
It permits several iterations simultaneously, thereby allowing you to examine your product at every step and adjust your next plans, according to the requirements.
Difference between Incremental and Iterative Software Development Process
Basically, in the incremental model, software development processes are segmented into small, manageable portions called increments. Based on the quality of the previous version of each increment, steps-wise improvements are made.
In the iterative model, systematic repetition of software development processes is carried out in cycles known as iterations. Software is produced one after another iteration until the optimal version of the product is achieved.
Both models are complementary in character. Using them together is an ideal software development approach to achieve project deliverables.
Situations requiring the use of Incremental and Iterative Model
- When there are most of the upfront requirements that can be evolved eventually
- When priority-wise requirements are set
- When there is a need for quick delivery of basic functionality
- When there is a project with extended development schedules
- When a domain is new to the team
- When there is a project with new technology
Also called the four-tier model, the V-model is basically an offshoot of the Waterfall model, though in which the testing is applied in each development stage. Testing options can be rearranged, and more options can be added, depending on the project’s requirements.
V-mode is known as expensively resource-intensive, as its number of tests needs a lot of time and investment of money to process. However, it is considered efficient in projects, like healthcare software that needs to be built with the highest level of quality and no technical snags.
Phases of V-Model verification phase
- Business Requirement Analysis – It involves understanding project requirements from the client’s side.
- System Design – It requires analyzing the viability of a proposed system.
- Architecture Design – It includes selecting an architecture that can understand everything, such as the list of modules, database tables, etc.
- Module Design – In it, the system is broken down into small modules.
- Coding Phase – It involves suitable programing language, guidelines, standards for coding, etc.
Situations in which V-Model is applied
- With well-defined and fixed requirements
- When there are ample skilled technological resources
- When failures in developed systems are not objectionable
5. Spiral Model
The spiral model is a risk-analyzing software development model in which spirally created activities are processed in the sequence they are selected based on the risk assessment.
Every iteration in this model is based on the nature-wise selection of objectives. The iteration involves four processes, such as –
- Determining objectives
- Identifying risks
- Development and testing
- Prioritizing the next iteration
The spiral model is best suited to highly complicated and innovative projects.
Situations requiring the use of Spiral Model
- When frequent software releases are expected
- When frequent changes are required in a project
- When long-term projects are not feasible
- When the project is benchmarked from medium to high-risk
- When there are projects with critical costs and risk analysis
- When projects are too sophisticated and vague
6. The Rational Unified Process (RUP)
The Rational Unified Process (RUP) is an adaptable process framework that can be customized, depending on the project’s requirements. Created by Rational Software Corporation, RUP combines the linear process of Waterfall and iterative Agile approaches.
The model involves four-stages of development, such as –
In turn, it allows both the linear part of the framework and iterations within the limits of a single stage. It consists of various tools that can be used to help in the coding of the final product.
The viability of using the RUP process is that it helps you to operate business analysis, design, testing, and implementation all through the development process. As a result, you happen to build a customized product.
It involves several steps to build software than designing it in one continuous process.
When the application of RUP Model is required?
- When changes in the requirements are constant
- When the data and information you have are accurate
- When there is a requirement for certain integrations throughout the development process
7. Prototype Model
Prototype model is an important part of the software development process in which certain features or aspects of a product are simulated to offer its functioning version, to be used later as a sample of an actual product.
The need for software prototyping is to fetch key inputs regarding the functionality and operability of the actual product. In turn, it affords the possibility of developing a final product efficiently.
The reason behind implementing software prototyping stems from the fact that it helps developers to get important feedback from the users. As a result, it enlightens the client and the contractor/developers about whether the built software product is compliant with the software specifications, as per how it was programmed.
Moreover, it also enlightens the developers about the accuracy of early project estimates and whether the same can be achieved within the projected deadlines.
Advantages of Software Prototype Model –
- It improves the quality of requirements and specifications received by the developers
- It reduces time and costs in software development
- It boosts users’ involvement, allowing them to provide insightful feedback regarding the project
When to apply Prototype Model
- It should be applied in the analysis and design of systems, especially those related to transaction processing
- Apply it to design better human-computer interfaces (HCI)
- When there the requirement of a proposed system is not well-defined
- When the proposed system is still in the process of evaluation
- When it is essential to showcase how the desired product behaves
Software development models permit an effective software development process for different types of projects. Each of them is used to determine how the project gets developed successfully, without inviting any chance for the technical snag. It also explains the necessity of choosing an ideal software development model conducive to your software development requirements. The reason is that each model is programmed to render results differently to streamline the development, according to what exactly you want to build.
We have jotted down the top seven models used in software engineering in the hope to provide you with some useful recommendations to consider for your next software development project. Choosing the right model is essential, given each of the models is respectively programmed to function in specific ways. The model you use pans out the results, as per your expectations and the selection criteria.
Besides, the comparative analysis of these models also leads to the discovery of how to consider an ideal model based on various parameters. These parameters include analysis, design, coding, demonstrative quality, and finally the implementation of the product in a real environment.
To understand the whole process in a simple way, hiring a custom software development company could be considered a wise choice. For instance, you get to work with a partner who is very experienced and equipped with technical expertise and a team of software engineers to carry out your project requirements in the most professional and satisfactory way.