Top 5 Software Development Methodologies

Top 5 Software Development Methodologies


Technology these days is evolving fast and has propelled software development companies like to work in very competitive environments. Software development methodologies are a series of processes involved in developing software. Furthermore, these methodologies are essential in the software development space.

Most Effective Software Development Methodologies Today

To develop a project with the best results, choosing the right methodology is of utmost importance.

1. Waterfall

In the software development realm, Waterfall is the most sequential and traditional choice. Although deemed as an old-school method, it was one of the most prominent methods for decades due to its plan-driven approach. Upfront, Waterfall requires a lot of documentation and structure.

It has self-contained stages and the first stage requires a thorough understanding by developers and customers of the scope and demands of the project. The methodology lacks flexibility, which means that what the customer and developer have decided at the start should be seen through. In case of changes or mistakes towards the end stages, the Waterfall method, in general, needs a complete restart.

2. Agile

The methodology was developed as a response to the growing frustrations with the Waterfall method, as well as other highly inflexible and structured methodologies. Agile is designed to make room for change and the need to create software faster. The Agile methodology values individuals, their interactions, and relationships over tools.

Moreover, it features client collaboration all throughout the process. It responds to change rather than adhering to a set-in-stone plan. It concentrates on presenting working software instead of documentation. Agile, unlike Waterfall, is well-equipped to handle the variability and complexity involved in development.

3. DevOps

It is not only a methodology but a set of practices as well that supports the organizational culture. The deployment centers on organizational change, which boosts collaboration between the departments responsible for the various segments of the development stage, including development, QA, and operations. The focus is on boosting the time to market, minimizing rates of failure of new releases, and lessening the lead time between fixes.

Organizations that use the DevOps methodology significantly benefit by reducing the time to market and boosting product quality, customer satisfaction, and employee efficiency and productivity. The DevOps process resolves priority and communication issues between IT specializations. Development teams should understand the production environment and test their code in realistic conditions to be able to create viable software.

4. Lean

At once a workflow methodology and a mindset, Lean integrates practices and principles from the manufacturing environment and widely applies them to different industries, which include software development. Agile is excellent for the practical application of software development best practices. It however, does not include instructions to scale the practices across the company or to apply them outside the development-like work. 

Thus, companies that practice Agile start to integrate Lean practices, methodologies, and tools to innovate at scale. The basic principles of the methodology include optimizing the whole, building quality, eliminating waste, building knowledge, deferring commitment, and so on, to help guide the decision-making process. Combining the best of Lean and Agile could create a sustainable, healthy culture of innovation, which benefits not just the development company, but the whole system as well.

5. FDD or Feature-Driven Development

Derived from the Agile methodology, FDD is an incremental and iterative approach to software development. The same as Waterfall, typically it is considered as an older methodology, a kind of precursor to modern lean and agile implementations. It still focuses on the goal of frequently deliver working software and is particularly a client-centric approach.

The FDD methodology is best if a project grows too big and complex for a smaller Scrum team to handle effectively. It is well-suited for long-term projects that change continuously and add features in predictable, regular iterations. It is very scalable, from small teams to big cross-functional teams since it is designed to focus on what the customer wants and needs all the time.


The software development industry continues to evolve as technology changes fast and the demands change continuously as well. The five top software development methodologies mentioned above are the most used and practiced by organizations big and small, in whatever industry they may be.

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