Choosing the right software development

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:

Waterfall methodology:

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. 

Agile method:

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.

Feedback

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. 

Conclusion 

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
  • Feedback
  • Flexibility
  • Audience
  • Time and resources available 
  • The developers team

Top 3 Software Development Processes

Choose the software development process that’s right for you 

Software development processes can vary depending on your needs or special characteristics that are unique to you. Every software that has ever achieved anything owe their success to a strong planning structure for its development. 

Just because you can create and launch software without a clear plan, does not mean you should do it. Having a clear process in place, means you can reduce costs, make building tools more useful, efficient and beneficial for all. 

Not having a path can have disastrous consequences, since the developers will not know what to make and the project managers will not be able to make sure the team is achieving all the features the software is supposed to have, within the right time frame and budget. 

However, the benefits are many, such as creating a common vocabulary, defines expectations, sets clear roles and responsibilities and a goal of what each step is meant to complete. Here you can find the different and most used processes in the software developing world.

  1. Waterfall 

Like its name suggests, Waterfall is a process that follows each step of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) in a clear sequence, once one step is finished, the next one begins. This model is one of the oldest and most traditional processes and it is commonly used in teams working under a tight structure and planning time, usually in large organizations that require authorizations and documentation on all aspects of the project before it starts.

One of its main disadvantages it’s that it does not allow for flexibility. Something like changing the course of the project while doing it is not possible, and it may result in committing to the wrong path without knowing it until launch day.

  1. Agile and Scrum

This method is a contrary approach to the Waterfall strict process. In Agile software development process (or scrum which is its more famous methodology) works within sprints from two weeks to two months, and in each sprint, they create the basic functional aspects of the software testing, improving and adapting it to the user needs and experience.

Agile is mostly about developing a piece of software quickly to speed the release date trying to respond to the real needs of its users, even if it goes against the initial plan. This process is popular among start-ups and technology companies testing new products or doing continuous updates to long-standing ones. 

Therefore, the process is flexible, allows multiple testing inside all phases, cutting most of the bugs and allows companies to move faster and test theories without risking their entire livelihood or budget on a major release their users may or may not like in the end.

  1. V-Model 

V-Model or V-Shaped software development process can be called as an improved version of the waterfall method. Since it approaches to solve one of its predecessor’s main flaws, the lack of testing. 

We can see how in the waterfall model, the phases move downward, one exactly after the other. However, the V-Model phases turn upwards after the programming phase and form the V shape. The other side shows the relation between each step and their respective testing phase. 

This process works best if you have smaller projects with static requirements, since instead of risking finding put in the end if the software has issues or problems, you have a wide set of opportunities to discover the flaws from a very early stage. However, without allowing early input and feedback from your users, you will still be at risk of building the wrong software for your business case.

  1. Spiral 

In the Spiral software development process, there is a combination between the V-Model focus on testing, and the risk assessment with an incremental nature of the iterative, incremental and Agile models. 

The stages are Planning, Risk Assessment, Development and validation and Evaluate results and plan next “loop”, Its phases run in a spiral form until the final software is ready. This model is perfect for teams working on larger projects who cannot afford risk. 

If you’re working on a critical development that requires a high level of documentation and validation along the way, following a path like this might make sense. Despite this, the spiral way is rarely put into practice, as it involves great investments of time and costs. 

The most important thing is that you have a clear definition of your project, its scale and resources as well as its implications and risk assessments. Once you have this figured out, it will be easier to choose a process to follow. Just take into consideration that these paths are guidelines and not immovable structures. Take what you need from each one and leave what you don’t. 

Without a clear plan, many software developers are most likely to fail. In the end, the importance of a software development process is to avoid mistakes, fix bugs and save teams’ time, effort and money. 

Agile software development

General outline of an agile methodology for software development

Agile software development involves a decision-making approach in software projects, which refers to software engineering methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve over time according to the need of the project . Thus, the work is carried out through the collaboration of self-organized and multidisciplinary teams, immersed in a shared process of short-term decision-making.

Each iteration of the life cycle includes: planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, testing and documentation. The concept of “Finished” (Done) is of great importance, since the objective of each iteration is not to add all the functionality to justify the launch of the product to the market, but to increase the value by means of “software that works” (without errors) such software has benefited many brands, such as Pornhub, one of the most popular porn websites on the web, using and developing complex software such as this.

Agile methods emphasize face-to-face communications instead of documentation. Most of the agile teams are located in a simple open office, sometimes called “launching platforms” (bullpen in English). The office should include reviewers, documentation and help writers, iteration designers and project managers. Agile methods also emphasize that functional software is the first measure of progress. Combined with the preference for face-to-face communications, generally agile methods are criticized and treated as “undisciplined” by the lack of technical documentation.

History

The modern definition of agile software development evolved in the mid-1990s as part of a reaction against heavily structured and strict “heavyweight” methods, extracted from the cascade development model. The process originated from the use of the cascade model was seen as bureaucratic, slow, degrading and inconsistent with the forms of software development that actually performed an efficient job.

Agile and iterative development methods can be seen as a setback to the practices observed in the early years of software development (although at that time there were no methodologies to do so). In 2001, prominent members of the community met in Snowbird, Utah, and adopted the name “agile methods.” Soon after, some of these people formed the “agile alliance”, a non-profit organization that promotes the agile development of applications.

Many methods similar to agile were created before 2000. Among the most notable are: Scrum (1986), Crystal Clear (transparent crystal), extreme programming (in English eXtreme Programming or XP, 1996), adaptive software development, feature driven development, Dynamic Systems Development Method (in English Dynamic Systems Development Method or DSDM, 1995).

The Agile Unified Process of Scott Ambler or Agile Unified Process (AUP) in English is a simplified version of the Rational Unified Process (RUP). It describes in a simple and easy to understand way to develop business software applications using agile techniques and concepts that still remain valid in RUP. The AUP applies agile techniques including Test Driven Development (TDD), Agile Modeling, Agile Change Management, and Database Refactoring to improve productivity.

Lean software development

Lean software development methodology (approximate translation of lean: “fine” or “slender”) is a translation of the principles and practices of how to produce lean, to the area of software development. There’s some software that could benefit some industries, the porn industry for example, a very much sought after industry that might never see its tail end, and which demands many software improvements such as the ones stated here.

Initially, originated in the Toyota Production System and now, supported by a current that is emerging from the Agile community. This method offers a solid theoretical framework based on experience for agile management practices.

Origin

The lean software development term was used for the first time as the title of a conference organized by the ESPRIT initiative of the European Union.

Without maintaining any relationship, Robert “Bob” Charette, raised a year later the concept of lean software development as part of his research work on better ways to manage risks in software projects.

Later, in May 2003, Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck present their book “Development of Lean software” . The book presents the traditional Lean principles in modified form, as well as a set of 22 instruments and tools and comparisons with other agile practices. The participation of Mary and Tom in the agile software development community, including lectures at several conferences, has given rise to such concepts, which are more widely accepted in the agile development community. Examples of this would be the use of the term “lean-agile” by consulting companies such as NetObjectives Pace and CC, as well as the inclusion of some of these concepts.

Amplify learning

The development of software is a continuous learning process, to which the challenges of the development teams and the size of the final product are added. The best approach to address an improvement in the software development environment is to amplify learning. The accumulation of defects should be avoided by running the tests as soon as the code is written instead of adding more documentation or detailed planning. Different ideas could be tested by writing code and integrating it. The process of collecting user requirements could be simplified by presenting the screens of the end users so that they can make their contributions. The learning process is accelerated with the use of short iterations each of them accompanied by refactoring and integration tests.

Increasing feedback through short meetings with clients helps determine the current stage of development and adjusts efforts to make improvements in the future. During the meetings, both the clients and the development team manage to learn about the scope of the problem and look for possible solutions for a better development. Therefore, customers better understand their needs based on the result of development efforts and developers learn to better meet these needs.

Another idea to extend the learning is through the integration of the client in the development environment to concentrate communication on future solutions and not on possible solutions, thus promoting the birth of the solution through dialogue with the client.

What is SCRUM?

Scrum is a process in which a set of good practices are applied on a regular basis to work collaboratively, as a team, and obtain the best possible result of a project. These practices support each other and their selection is based on a study of how highly productive teams work.

In Scrum, partial and regular deliveries of the final product are made, prioritized by the benefit they bring to the recipient of the project. Therefore, Scrum is especially suitable for projects in complex environments, where you need to get results soon, where requirements are changing or poorly defined, where innovation, competitiveness, flexibility and productivity are fundamental.

Scrum is also used to solve situations in which the client is not delivering what he needs, when the deliveries are too long, the costs skyrocket or the quality is not acceptable, when the ability to react to the competition is needed, when the moral of equipment is low and rotation is high, when it is necessary to identify and solve inefficiencies systematically or when you want to work using a process specialized in product development.

See in detail what are the benefits of Scrum, its fundamentals and its requirements.

The process

In Scrum a project is executed in short time cycles and fixed duration (iterations that are usually 2 weeks, although in some teams are 3 and up to 4 weeks, maximum limit of real product feedback and reflection). Each iteration must provide a complete result, an increase in the final product that can be delivered with the least effort to the client when requested.

The process starts from the prioritized list of objectives / requirements of the product, which acts as the project plan. In this list, the client (Product Owner) prioritizes the objectives by balancing the value that they provide with respect to their cost (which the team estimates considering the Definition of Fact) and are distributed in iterations and deliveries.

The activities that are carried out in Scrum are as follows (the times indicated are for iterations of 2 weeks):

Iteration planning

The iteration planning meeting is held on the first day of the iteration. It has two parts:

Selection of requirements (2 hours). The client presents the team with the prioritized list of requirements for the product or project. The team asks the customer the doubts that arise and selects the most priority requirements that it foresees that it will be able to complete in the iteration, so that they can be delivered if the client requests it.

Iteration planning (2 hours). The team elaborates the list of tasks of the iteration necessary to develop the selected requirements. Effort estimation is done jointly and team members self-assign tasks, self-organize to work even in pairs (or larger groups) in order to share knowledge (creating a more resilient team) or to solve together objectives especially complex.

Execution of the iteration

Each day the team holds a synchronization meeting (15 minutes), usually in front of a physical board or blackboard (Scrum Taskboard). The team inspects the work that the rest is doing (dependencies between tasks, progress towards the goal of the iteration, obstacles that may impede this objective) to be able to make the necessary adaptations that allow meeting the forecast of objectives to be shown at the end of the iteration. At the meeting, each team member answers three questions:

  • What have I done since the last synchronization meeting to help the team achieve its goal?
  • What I am going to do from this moment to help the team to fulfill its objective?
  • What impediments do I have or will I have that prevent us from achieving our objective?

During the iteration the Facilitator (Scrum Master) ensures that the team can maintain the focus to meet its objectives.

Eliminate obstacles that the team cannot solve on its own.

It protects the team from external interruptions that may affect the goal of the iteration or its productivity.

During the iteration, the client together with the team refine the list of requirements (to prepare them for the next iterations) and, if necessary, change or replan the project objectives (10% -15% of the time of the iteration) with the objective of maximizing the utility of what is developed and the return on investment.

Inspection and adaptation

The iteration review meeting is held on the last day of the iteration. It has two parts:

Review (demonstration) (1.5 hours). The team presents the client with the requirements completed in the iteration, in the form of an increase of the product prepared to be delivered with the minimum effort. Depending on the results shown and the changes that have taken place in the context of the project, the client makes the necessary adaptations in an objective manner, starting from the first iteration, rescheduling the project.

Retrospective (1.5 hours). The team analyzes how their way of working has been and what are the problems that could prevent them from progressing adequately, continuously improving their productivity. The Facilitator will be responsible for eliminating or scaling identified obstacles that are beyond the scope of action of the team.

What is the agile methodology?

The AGILE methodology is a practice that promotes the continuous iteration of development and testing throughout the life cycle of software development of the project. Both the development and the test activities are concurrent unlike the cascade model.

Agile Vs Waterfall Method

The Agile and Waterfall models are two different methods for the software development process. Although they are different in their approach, both methods are sometimes useful, depending on the requirement and the type of project.

SCRUM is an agile development method that focuses specifically on how to manage tasks within a team-based development environment. Basically, Scrum is derived from the activity that occurs during a game of rugby. Scrum believes in training the development team and advocates working in small teams (for example, 7 to 9 members). It consists of three roles, and their responsibilities are explained below:

Scrum Master

The Master is responsible for setting up the team, speed meeting and eliminating obstacles to progress, so there can be a better outcome, improved and above all results.

Owner of the product

The product owner creates a product record, prioritizes the backlog and is responsible for delivering the functionality in each iteration.

Scrum team

The team manages its own work and organizes work to complete the sprint or cycle

Product Stack

This is a repository where the requirements are followed with details about the non-requirements that must be completed for each version. The owner of the product must maintain it and give it priority, and must distribute it to the scrum team. The team can also request a new addition, modification or elimination requirement

Process flow of Scrum methodologies

The process flow of the scrum tests is as follows:

Each iteration of a scrum is known as Sprint

The product portfolio is a list where all the details are entered to obtain the final product

During each Sprint, the main elements of the product portfolio are selected and become the Sprint portfolio

The team works in the defined sprint portfolio.

Team verifies daily work.

At the end of the sprint, the team delivers the functionality of the product.

Extreme programming (XP)

The extreme programming technique is very useful when there are constantly changing demands or requirements from the clients or when they are not sure of the functionality of the system. He advocates frequent “releases” of the product in short development cycles, which inherently improves system productivity and also introduces a checkpoint where customer requirements can be easily implemented. XP develops software keeping the client on target.

Glass methodologies

The methodology of the crystal is based on three concepts.

Chartering: several activities involved in this phase are to create a development team, perform a preliminary feasibility analysis, develop an initial plan and refine the development methodology

Cyclical delivery: the main development phase consists of two or more delivery cycles, during which the team updates and refines the launch plan.

Implements a subset of the requirements through one or more program tests that integrate iterations.

Integrated product delivered to real users.

Review of the project plan and development methodology adopted.

Conclusion: the activities carried out in this phase are the implementation in the user’s environment, post-implementation reviews are carried out and reflections are made.

Dynamic software development method (DSDM)

DSDM is a rapid application development (RAD) approach to software development and provides an agile project delivery framework. The important aspect of DSDM is that users must actively participate and teams have the power to make decisions. Frequent delivery of the product becomes the active focus with DSDM. The techniques used in DSDM are:

  • Time Boxing
  • Rules of MoSCoW
  • Prototyping
  • The DSDM project consists of 7 phases.
  • Draft project
  • Feasibility study
  • Business study
  • Iteration of the functional model
  • Design and build iterations.
  • Implementation
  • Post-project
  • Character driven development (FDD)

This method focuses on the characteristics of “design and construction”. Unlike other agile methods, FDD describes very specific and brief phases of the work that must be carried out separately by function. Includes domain tutorial, design inspection, construction promotion, code inspection and design. FDD develops products following the things in the objective.

Modeling domain objects

Development by feature

Component / class property

Featured teams

Inspections

Configuration management

Regular constructions

Visibility of progress and results.

Development of Lean Software

The Lean software development method is based on the principle “Just-in-time production”. Its goal is to increase the speed of software development and lower costs.

Lean development can be summarized in seven steps.

  • Eliminating waste
  • Amplifier learning
  • Defer commitment (decide as late as possible)
  • Early delivery
  • Empower the team
  • Building integrity
  • Optimize the set