Study of 7 Best Software Development Models, Benefits and Application Areas

Discover the 7 best software development models and their application areas. Choose the right approach for your project's success.
Software Development Models | Binmile Technologies

Developers across the industry look for ways to develop and deploy high-quality software at the lowest cost possible, preferably in the shortest amount of time. Enter software development models in the picture. These models help developers plan out each stage in the software development cycle faster, more efficiently, and effectively. In addition, they help them strategize the process, estimate costs, identify challenges, and collaborate and communicate with teams and customers. However, to make this possible they must know and understand the software development model. This way they can choose the right mode that fits their organization’s requirements, stakeholders’ expectations, and the project. After all, the project’s quality, budget, and capability to meet the end users’ expectations largely depend on the chosen model.

However, the market is full of several SDLC models, from SCRUM, Iterative, and Kanban to Spiral, all these models have their key features, pros, and cons. So, to select the perfect model, it’s imperative to understand the model’s different aspects, advantages, and specifications. If you’re also wondering which software development to go for, then this blog is for you.

What is Software Development Model: An Overview

Overview of Software development Model | Binmile

The software development models constitute a whole gamut of methods and approaches. 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.

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

Another important component of the software development model is the 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 –

  • Planning
  • Prototyping and Designing
  • Development
  • Quality Assurance
  • Launch
  • Maintenance

Software Development Models 101: A Comprehensive Overview

Several software development models can be utilized to build digital products more efficiently and effectively. However, we’re listing out the top 7 of them, in no particular order.
Use logos for each model

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, the completion of the previous step is the green light to the inception of the next development phase, according to the waterfall model.

waterfall software development model | Binmile

There are 4 phases in which the model works, these are:

  • 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 consists of features like coding, testing, and deploying software after proper risk assessment
  • Evaluation – The program is evaluated on parameters, like performance, etc. to decide whether repetition of the development cycle is needed

Key Features of the 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

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 least complex model
  • It is easily manageable, given each 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

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.

Agile Software Development Model | Binmile

Key Features of the Agile Model

  • It 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.

Benefits of the Agile Model

  • Improves customer satisfaction through rapid and continuous delivery of productive software
  • It emphasizes people and interactions more than processes and tools
  • The agile model ensures a great deal of interaction between customers/stakeholders, Developers, and Testers
  • 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

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 a 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. Activities defined in the sprints are irreversible. The scrum models are beneficial for larger initiatives in which developers are supposed to succeed the initiatives.

Go for the Scrum Agile Model
  • 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 in being kept updated.

Go for the Kanban Agile Model
  • When the processes require the removal of unwanted processes
  • When you require a model facilitating a seamless development process
  • When you want to continuously improve the system
C) Extreme Programming (XP) Model

In this model, no matter whether 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.

Go for the XP Model
  • 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 remote collaboration

Also Read: DevOps Vs Agile Software Development Methodology

3. Incremental and Iterative Model

In this model, each iteration generates a product 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.

What is the difference between Incremental and Iterative Software Development Processes?

People get these two intermixed but there are some differences between them. For instance, 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.

However, in an iterative method, each cycle performs a systematic repetition of software development processes. Meaning, that software development happens one after another iteration. It continues until the achievement of an optimal version of the product.

Both models are complementary in character. Using them together is an ideal software development approach to achieve project deliverables.

  • It allows for early detection of design issues and encourages customer feedback, leading to better final products.
  • It promotes partial implementation of the software, which can be beneficial for budget management.
  • It fosters continuous improvement and adaptation, ensuring the software evolves to meet changing requirements.

Go for Incremental and Iterative Models

  • 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

4. V-Model

Also called the four-tier model, the V-model is 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. They are divided into 5 phases, which are:

  • Business Requirement Analysis – This 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 programming language, guidelines, standards for coding, etc.

Key Benefits of V-Model

  • It emphasizes a well-structured development process, where each phase corresponds to a testing stage, ensuring thorough quality checks.
  • It offers clear milestones and deliverables, making project management more predictable and transparent.
  • It facilitates early detection of defects, reducing the overall cost of development by preventing late-stage project overhauls. A
  • It also supports rigorous documentation, which is crucial for maintaining standards and knowledge transfer.

Go for V-Model

  • When you have well-defined and fixed requirements
  • When there are ample skilled technological resources
  • When failures in developed systems are not objectionable

5. Spiral Model

Spiral Software Development Model | Binmile

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. The spiral model is best suited to highly complicated and innovative projects.

Every iteration in this model is based on the nature-wise selection of objectives. The iteration involves four processes,

  • Determining objectives
  • Identifying risks
  • Development and testing
  • Prioritizing the next iteration

Key Benefits of Spiral Model

  • Its flexibility facilitates customer feedback incorporation, ensuring the product meets evolving requirements.
  • It supports early identification and mitigation of risks, enhancing project predictability and success rates.
  • It allows for the concurrent development of different project segments, optimizing resource utilization and timeline efficiency.

Go for the 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)

Rational Unified Process Development Model | Binmile

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 –

  • Inception
  • Elaboration
  • Construction
  • Transition

Key Benefits of RUP

  • 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.
  • It helps you to operate business analysis, design, testing, and implementation all through the development process.
  • It lets you build a customized product in steps rather than designing it in one continuous process.

Go for the RUP Model

  • 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

A 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 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.

Key Benefits of 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

Go for the Prototype Model

  • When you need to apply in the analysis and design of systems, especially those related to transaction processing
  • When designing 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

Know More: SaaS Architecture Tenancy Models

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. 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.

Wondering how to choose the right software development models? Let’s help you figure it out!

Choosing the Ideal Software Development Model: Insider Tips and Strategies

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?

Read Further: Technical Debt in Software Development

Final Thoughts

Software development models offer an effective software development process despite the varied types of projects. They help the SDLC team to determine how the project gets developed successfully, without inviting any chance for technical snagging. However, each model has its features and is programmed to deliver results differently. But the bottom line remains the same: it aims at streamlining the development process and tuning it to your and end users’ expectations. Therefore, you need to understand what all these models are. Doing so will help you find the ideal model based on various parameters. These key factors include analysis, design, coding, demonstrative quality, and finally the implementation of the product in a real environment.

In this blog, we explained the top 7 software development models used in software engineering. Hopefully, the in-depth analysis will help you find the best software development model for your project. In addition, to simplify the entire development process, hiring a custom software development companies could be considered. The company’s expertise and knowledge bank will help you carry out your project requirements effectively, professionally, and timely.

Frequently Asked Questions

A software development model is a structured framework used in the development of software products. It serves as a blueprint for the design, coding, testing, and maintenance phases of the software development life cycle (SDLC).

A software engineering model is a structured representation of the software development process. It provides a framework for planning, structuring, and controlling the process of developing an information system.

While application development models offer numerous benefits, they also present challenges that developers and organizations need to consider.

Key Information:

  • Benefits: Improved planning, better communication, and efficient resource utilization.
  • Challenges: Potential for scope changes, complexity in managing iterations, and balancing flexibility with structure.
  • Efficient Resource Utilization: Models contribute to the efficient allocation and utilization of development resources.
Arun Kumar Sharma
AVP - Technology

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