Software Development Methodologies: 5 Advantages and Disadvantages

Top 5 Software Development Methodologies

Software Development Methodologies

Software development is the process of dividing software development work into distinct phases to improve design, product management, and project management. It is also known as a software development life cycle. Top 5 Software Development Methodologies may include the pre-definition of specific deliverables and artifacts that are created and completed by a project team to develop or maintain an application.

According to a study, it is found that the number of software development services company in the USA is the largest, but India holds the maximum number of talented software engineers. Most modern development processes can be vaguely described as agile. Other methodologies include waterfall, prototyping, iterative and incremental development, spiral development, rapid application development, and extreme programming.

5 Different Software Development Methodologies Models

1.  Waterfall Model

A waterfall model is a sequential approach, where each fundamental activity of a process is represented as a separate phase, arranged in linear order.

Read Also: How to Reduce Software Development Costs

What It Is:

In principle, the waterfall model should only be applied when requirements are well understood and unlikely to change radically during development as this model has a relatively rigid structure which makes it relatively hard to accommodate change when the process is underway.


  • Requirement gathering
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Testing
  • Deployment
  • Maintenance
Top 5 Software Development Methodologies

 Salient Features:

  • It is considered the traditional method of explaining the
    software development process
  • It is also known as the linear sequential life cycle model.
  • In this model, the next phase in the development process won’t begin until and unless the previous phase is completed. The phases don’t overlap each other.
  • It is best suitable where requirements are predictable and stable.
  • It is best suitable for small projects.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Ease in understanding. It is a structured approach.
  • Stages and activities are well defined.
  • Helps in proper planning and scheduling of activities.
  • Early detection of errors, as it allows verification at every stage.
  • Poor anticipation of possible outcomes.
  • It’s challenging to go back to any stage once it’s finished.
  • Limited flexibility.
  • The huge cost of implementation.
  • It doesn’t specify the guidelines of how to handle the change in requirements

Read Also: Challenges Of Software Development Startups In IT Industry

2. V-Shaped Model

An extension of the waterfall model, this SDLC methodology tests at each stage of development. As with waterfall, this process can run into roadblocks. 

What It Is:

The V-shaped software development process is a take on the classic Waterfall method that makes up for its biggest downfall: A lack of testing.

Who it’s for: Teams working on smaller projects with a tight scope.

Who it’s not for: Teams who want more flexibility and early input from users.


  • Requirements
  • Specifications
  • High-level design
  • Low-level design
  • Development
  • Unit testing
  • Integration testing
  • System testing
  • Acceptance testing

Salient Features:

  • It is considered an extension of the Waterfall model.
  • It is also termed as Verification and validation model.
  • Every phase in the developmental cycle is supported by the testing phase.
  • It is best suitable for projects where technology and requirement are stable. The major difference between the v-shaped model and the waterfall model is the early test planning in the v-shaped model.

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Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • It is simple and easy to use.
  • Each phase has specific deliverables.
  • Higher chance of success over the waterfall model due to the development of test plans early during the life cycle.
  • It is best suitable for small projects.
  • It is rigid.
  • The formation of prototypes of the software happens at the implementation stage.
  • The model doesn’t provide a clear path for problems found during the testing phases.
  • Requires updating of test project if any changes happen mid-way.

Read Also: Breakthrough Of Healthcare Software Development

3. Spiral Method

The Spiral Model is a risk-driven software development process model which includes both waterfall and iterative models.

What It Is:

The spiral model is a software process model that adjusts to the risks and uncertainties involved in different projects. It cuts out any unnecessary steps so you can create an efficient and effective workflow.

The spiral project management model is an iterative one. The first phase begins when you start the project and ends with the client reviewing the design. It was originally proposed by Barry Boehm in his paper from 1986

The software development lifecycle uses a spiral method. In the beginning, you will have a small set of requirements, and they continue on to develop the rest of the needed features

The software engineering team adds functionality to a project as additional requirements are made and the project reaches the production phase.

Top 5 Software Development Methodologies


  • Planning:
  • Risk analysis
  • Engineering
  • Evaluation

Salient Features:

  • It is a composite of the Waterfall Model and Iterative Model.
  • Each phase of the software development process leads to the formation of a spiral with many loops.
  • It is favorable for broad, premium, and complicated projects.
  • Each phase is marked with and ends with the client examining the project.

 Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • It involves two-way communication between client and developer, so the client feedback is always invited.
  • The formation of prototypes happens at an early stage, so cost estimation becomes easy.
  • Changes can be performed at a later stage.
  • Requirements can be predicted more accurately.
  • Strict adherence to spiral model protocols.
  • It is not feasible for small projects.
  • Huge documentation is required because of the intermediate phases.
  • Requires appropriate risk assessment.

4. Iterative and Incremental Model

They’re suited for large projects and less expensive for the change of requirements as they support customer interactions with each increment. Initial versions of the software are produced early, which facilitates customer evaluation and feedback.

Read Also: Ways To Crank Up Speed In Software Development

What It Is:

The incremental and iterative software development processes are a middle-ground between the structure and upfront planning of the Waterfall process and the flexibility of Agile. While both follow the idea of creating small bits of software and exposing them to users for feedback, they differ in what you create during each release.


  • Requirements gathering
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Testing
  • Evaluation

Salient Features:

  • It is developed to overcome the weaknesses of the waterfall model.
  • It starts with initial planning and ends with deployment with the cyclic interactions in between. The basic idea behind this method is to develop a system through repeated cycles (iterative) and in smaller portions at a time (incremental), allowing software developers to take advantage of what was learned during the development of earlier parts or versions of the system.
  • It consists of “mini-waterfalls” cycles.
  • It is used in shrink-wrap applications and large systems which built-in small phases or segments. Also can be used in a system that has separated components, for example, an ERP system. We can start with the budget module as the first iteration and then we can start with the inventory module and so forth.

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Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Generates a working model at the early stage of the development cycle.
  • Effective utilization of scarce resources through proper increment definition.
  • Can accommodate some change requests between increments·
  • Reduction of initial delivery cost.
  • Involvement of client at each stage.
  • Heavy dependency on pre-planning.
  • Follows a defined set of processes.
  • Defines increments based on function and feature dependencies·
  • It is more expensive than the waterfall model.
  • Integration between iterations can be an issue if this is not considered during the development.

5. Extreme Programming (Agile Development)

What It Is:

The Spiral software development process combines the V-shaped process’ focus on testing and risk assessment with the incremental nature of Iterative, Incremental, and Agile. This SDLC model emphasizes repetition.

Developers create a version very quickly and for relatively little cost, then test and improve it through rapid and successive versions. One big disadvantage here is that it can eat up resources fast if left unchecked.


  • Planning
  • Risk assessment
  • Development and validation
  • Evaluate results and plan the next “loop”
Top 5 Software Development Methodologies

Salient Features:

  • Its sole mission is to improve customer satisfaction and process adaptability.
  • It can be used with any type of project, but it needs more involvement from customers and to be interactive.
  • Also, it can be used when the customer needs to have some functional requirements ready in less than three weeks.
  • It is based on an adaptive approach.
  • We at Dreamsoft4u work on the same model.

Read Also: How To Avoid Risks Associated With Offshoring Software Development

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • It is a realistic model of software development.
  • Boost cross-training and teamwork.
  • Best suitable for a dynamic environment.
  • Awards flexibility to developers.
  • Requires exclusive skills for the team.
  • Documentation is done at a later stage.
  • Reduce the usability of components.
  • Lack of documentation.

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Final Thoughts

The software development methodologies is a great way to get started with any software project. The above overview and the pros & cons of each will help you identify the best approach that’s right for you and your company.

If you want a successful project, you need to invest in the right development strategy. Be sure to dedicate time & effort to researching different types of development methods and reviewing your budget, resources and time frame at the beginning.

The way to go about planning software development projects involves figuring out what will work best for the individual project.


Q1. How to choose the right development methodology for a particular project or team?

The best software development methodology for a project or team depends on the specific project requirements and team composition. However, some of the most popular ones include the waterfall methodology, the agile methodology, and the spiral methodology

Q2. Can multiple software development methodologies be used together?

Many software development methodologies can be used together, and in fact, many organizations use multiple methodologies simultaneously. 

Q3. Are there any tools or resources available to implement these methodologies?

At DS4U, we use agile development tools, code review tools, version control systems, such as Git, and code quality tools. You can too consult our expert and find the right tools depending on your needs and team size. 

Q4. How can you tell if a certain methodology is effective for a team/project?

We consider how many bugs are discovered and how long it takes to repair them. Additionally, we track how well a particular methodology fosters teamwork and communication.

Sanjeev Agrawal

Sanjeev Agrawal

My name is Sanjeev Agrawal. I am a Director and Co-founder of Dreamsoft4u, IT Consulting Company. I am having a keen interest in the latest trends and technologies that are emerging in different domains. Being an entrepreneur in the field of the IT sector, it becomes my responsibility to aid my audience with the knowledge of the latest trends in the market.

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