Tips for choosing the right software development methodology for you
In case you are unfamiliar with the software development methods, take a look first at the following overview of the most popular life cycles, so we can move on to the tips on choosing the right model that suits you best:
The oldest life cycle model in the developers’ book, since it has a traditional approach and has proven its efficiency throughout the years. Waterfall methods, as the name suggests follows a tight structure of phases or steps with clear objectives and deadlines, and which follow each other in a sequence. It requires intermediate reviews of work in progress to ensure that the requirements for each phase are completely met before the next phase kicks in. The product testing takes place once it is completely ready.
In the waterfall approach, many businesses find that their needs are not quickly met, since they would have to wait until a phase was finished to solve a problem or include a demanded feature in case it was needed. Agile responds and delivers fast, within a few weeks, a first “draft” of the software is finished and ready for launching and testing with users.
This way, a development can be completely tailored to the customers needs and demands that frequently change. So, you might want to choose this method when you are dealing with frequent changes in the project. Agile methodology includes a lot of types, the most popular ones are Kanban, Scrum and Extreme Programming to mention a few.
When you are going to work on a software development process, you and your team must analyze the big picture before you start. This is to make sure the methodology is suitable for your team’s skills, your budget and time.
Here are the main things you should consider:
Size and scope of the project
Moreover, always take into consideration the size of the project, this is because a large project usually involves a large budget, which means more responsibility and accountability, as well as shorter or longer testing stages depending on their size and requirements. The cost of delays is an important thing to watch out for. Many companies with tight budgets cannot afford to ask for extra funding and time to develop a software that is not ready on time.
The size of the project will determine the number of people that should be on your team, as well as the managers to handle it. Larger projects, therefore, require much more elaborate and orderly project management plans, and in such cases, the good old waterfall module is the best-suited.
A crucial step on each software development process is the Feedback, since it provides vital information to allow the outcome to be recreated in future projects, as well as how all of the bugs and problems were fixed to help future teams avoid them or solve them successfully. The team’s ability to provide feedback is an important factor while choosing the software development process. However, think of the size and difficulty of your project and the amount of feedback it implies.
What is the level of flexibility of your project?
Consider this when making a decision. For example, the waterfall method is perfect for a traditional development, since it brings stability and clarity through the different steps. On the other hand, Agile and iterative models allow for more room to make changes along the way and it is ideal for projects with more freedom.
Think of your audience
This step is of the outmost importance, as your users will define the success of failure of your software. If you are targeting a set group of people who have a definite set of requirements, more structural models are perfect, however, if you are looking at diverse end-users that will provide a lot of feedback after the launch, decide on a process that allow making changes or adding new features continuously.
Time for development
The timeframe for releasing the software development is something that shouldn’t be forgotten. For developers experienced in making time sprints or start-ups that do not have long amounts of time to put into a project, Agile and iterative methods are ideal. But if the time needs is long, has no near deadlines or if the project has no problem covering the cost of delays, then a more traditional method can be the right choice.
Consider the location and main features of your developer’s team.
Many projects involve people working from different parts of the world, that situation has to involve a lot of coordination and accountability efforts. It is best to have a rigid structure with defined stages to avoid missing deadlines or lack of coherence in the development. Agile needs more interaction and close teams working together and often. A disperse team probably will fall into confusion and mistakes of they are not in continuous communication.
Another thing to be considered, is the experience of your fellow developers, since they may have worked under some processes and not in others, which may compromise their confidence working with certain systems if they have no previous experience with them.
Whether you choose the latest software development methodology or stick to a more traditional software development methodology, always make a previous research of all the methods available and remember these 6 steps in your decision-making process:
- Size and scope of the project
- Time and resources available
- The developers team