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.