The IT industry has a stronghold over the market. Given the ability of its products to reach and be used by millions of people worldwide, every industry domain needs an IT team.
Imagine what would happen to banks, transportation, defense, retail, and similarly other important domains if they did not use any form of software.
This shows how indispensable the software world is ever since it became a thing in the last century with software companies in USA occupying a huge market share. The current boom of Industry 4.0 is also a result of this and would have not been possible if the software did not exist.
So, every industry or organization, to be more precise, is in this competition to develop software for their target customers that fulfills their demands and can be relied upon.
Developing software is not an easy process, some large ones might take even several years to develop. Surely, an off-the-shelf solution can work for your organization’s personal needs when your needs are not unique.
But to make huge profits and build clients for your brand, you will have to make custom software. Then, you can launch it in the market. Doing this within a specific period of time and a set budget makes it even more difficult even when you consider top software development companies in USA.
Just like anything else, as a software developer, you don’t simply jump onto working for solving a complex problem or handling an automation task.
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The Concept Of Software Development Methodologies
Long ago, this was actually the case though since the systems were not as complex as they are now. Before you get started, you need to follow a systematic and feasible approach.
You must have an outline of how to go about the software life cycle. You need to know what the system would be like and what features would be available prior to start out.
For example, if you are a mobile app development company, dividing the entire work into distinct phases will lead to faster and better design.
Also, you will have a better idea of timelines and therefore better product and project management abilities. This is where the concept of software development methodologies came into existence.
In simple terms, these methodologies help you in deciding the tasks that must be completed in different phases to successfully build software.
Without these methodologies, even when the developer has ideas related to what the product should look like, he or she will have to prioritize only the necessary features to get work done in time.
In that case, a lot of great ideas and hence features that a developer knows from his past experience will be left out. Any custom software development company usually has teams consisting of architects, business analysts, developers, QA testers, and many more.
They work with client companies who in turn work with users to create a successful project. Whether you wish to work on the software in-house or outsource development, depends on what you consider more advantageous.
For example, if you already do not have employees with the necessary domain expertise, it is better to choose to outsource. This will prevent you from struggling to hire and training individual developers.
How To Select The Software Development Methodology
Today, there are numerous available methodologies and that makes it difficult to choose one. This is usually the next step during software development after finalizing the technologies you are going to use.
This article discusses how to select the software development methodology for your product organization. It will be valuable for developers, analysts, and project leaders in the software industry who are trying to make up their minds currently regarding the choice of the methodology.
It can be useful in the future too when such a situation arises, if not now. If you do not do it efficiently, it will lead to stressful situations for the company later on. And this is something that no one would ever want to face.
Doing the research
There are various software development methodologies and what would suit you the best depends on your project requirements. Each methodology has a focus on attaining a specific goal. But you can’t choose one if you don’t know about the different options available in the market.
You can even mix and match to create your own methodology which aligns with the changes you make during actual software project execution.
You can implement it yourself or even get a consultant for the same. Listed next are some of the most common software methodologies out there.
Waterfall Model is a classic life cycle methodology when it comes to software development. As you would have guessed already, it is the sequential flow.
Once a phase is completed, the software development company has to send the deliverables, review them and then simply move onto the next.
This kind of methodology is very simple for even beginners to understand and makes work simple for them. Documentation is important in this case. You can use it for simple projects where you know and have everything available to you.
If continuous maintenance is needed based on the client’s feedback, do not use this model as you cannot go back to efficiently making amendments in this.
In this methodology, all the functions such as development, quality assurance, security, and so on are performed simultaneously. For instance, suppose that you are a web development company that needs to revamp a site and use the latest technologies.
For this, both development and operation teams need to collaborate with each other. There are upgrades and team changes made to adjust to the execution process. It is continuously changed based on market demands which give it a competitive edge over others.
As the name suggests, you get feedback from clients by showing them a built prototype of what you are planning to work on. This way you already know what changes need to be made to your ideation before investing your time and money on the actual application.
This is good for client satisfaction as he or she already knows what they can expect from the developer team. This also reduces the burden for an IT development company of having to go through the different phases of the process again on the team.
But this also means that you manage the required changes so as to reduce the risk of performing poorly even after knowing about the flaws early on.
Sometimes, the modifications are so many that it becomes difficult to manage them effectively, or in other cases, the customer may still not be satisfied. In addition, you have to allow an optimum budget for prototype development as well.
4. Agile Software Development
It is an approach where the focus is on building software fast with a focus on changing things continuously based on the client requirements. Customer satisfaction is high in these cases as everything is done based on his/her needs.
This is great if you want to create a minimum viable product (MVP) since you can launch the upcoming releases after proper fine-tuning. There are a lot of software companies in USA doing this.
But if the client is not very clear, this can result in a disaster. In the case of large projects, this is difficult to think about the overall work required and the outcome even for senior programmers. Also, the documentation may not be well done due to the way the software is developed using this methodology.
5. Extreme Programming (XP)
It is a sort of agile software methodology that can be used for building most modern software which has to go through too many changes in a short span of time.
It is cost-effective while starting out and provides a high level of flexibility. Although time and money are saved on things like documentation but in the end, the cost may become high due to the constantly changing demands.
A lot of time is consumed in meetings and discussions. The developers need to be highly efficient and committed to delivering the software on time.
So, in this case, working with a custom software development company is a good idea. Also, there is no way to store information related to the problems, such as the ways to solve them.
6. Scrum Development
Decisions are made entirely by the teams. This can be mostly applied to small projects in software development and results in speeding up the entire process.
Testing mistakes can be easily noticed due to continuous iterations and feedback. This ensures adherence to deadlines without compromising on the quality of the product.
Keep in mind that you need senior developers for this too. Everything is well documented while working on the project and there is better control. However, you need to be a good guess of the project costs and time required for the development.
7. Spiral Model
In the spiral model, you first build small chunks of the software and identify the risks that can make it unreliable. Only when you sort these risks, you go to the next step.
This is good for high-risk large-scale projects where identifying risks in the entire project and fixing them becomes quite challenging when done as a whole.
Documentation is done properly to ensure that there is a solution for similar problems to the ones that occurred in the past but this increases the cost.
Anything you want to add can be added systematically later on too. But as an IT development company, you need to be careful to not mess up the risk analysis.
8. Rapid action development (RAD)
This methodology focuses on providing the results rapidly without any compromise when it comes to quality. Prototyping reduces the chances of defects in the final model.
It prioritizes client reviews and customer feedback highly and takes them to help mitigate the associated risks and improve in the early stages, thereby reducing the extra work for developers later on.
Keep in mind that the cost of modeling is high and hence it is not suitable for small budget projects. There is no proper documentation for different modules.
Also, you should hire dedicated developers as the team should consist of experienced and skilled people just like in any other methodology where work needs to be done fast.
9. Dynamic Systems Development
This software methodology is similar to the rapid application development methodology. This methodology ensures that the software being built is completed on time and the budget for the project is not exceeded.
Once the basics are all done, user inputs become the main focus for this model, and changes are made accordingly at different intervals. This makes it difficult to assess the requirements in the beginning.
It is more suitable for long-term projects as users need to be trained as well which increases the cost. The training needs to be highly effective as it is a model that has come up in only recent times and therefore not easy to understand. Even then a lot of software development companies in USA have started using it.
10. Joint Application Development (JAD)
This methodology requires a joint effort of clients, users, and developers to come up with the right requirements and design to have good quality software, with everyone contributing equally.
This means that the focus is more on the relationship between these three and their understanding than about actually working on the project.
Everyone must be highly trained and experienced for efficient implementation and proper use of large amounts of data. So, if you are a web development company and your project is too complex technically, you cannot use this model.
The risk for the projects that are implemented is highly reduced. Also, it saves time and money that need to be invested in the project. But keep in mind that a lot of time is involved in planning and resolving the differences in opinions of different individual members to streamline everything.
11. Feature-driven development (FDD)
This software development methodology implements proper industry standards and ensures easy development. Progress is based on the features implemented for this project methodology instead of the phases.
It cannot be used for small projects such as those done by an individual or a team of three. It will work well when large or multiple teams are going to work on the project and thereby decrease the amount of time being taken.
But there is a lack of proper documentation in this model. Also, there is a lot of burden on the team leader as it is mainly his responsibility to ensure that the work gets done.
12. Lean Development Methodology
This methodology focuses on the creation of software with high constraints. This means that if you have a limited amount of time and a low budget, you can use this for software product development with a low amount of necessary workflow.
This means that you can deliver many projects in a short amount of time. Also, the burden on the developers is lesser and they have high chances of making better decisions.
But they need to be able to have a disciplined schedule and have a good knowledge of the technical aspects of the project. Also, someone with a good understanding of the business aspects is needed to properly utilize the documentation.
Understanding What Clients And Stakeholders Want
At the end of the day, if you do not have what your clients and stakeholders want as a software development company, the product will be unsuccessful.
You definitely don’t want to waste your time and money on something that would just be forgotten about once you create it. Understand the concerns of the stakeholders and address them.
In addition, it is good to think like an end-user. This means that stuffing your software with useless features will only lead to extra development costs. Keep it simple, realistic, and intuitive.
This is the best way to know the requirements beforehand as well and ensure that not much time is wasted during the actual course of the project development.
Also, this will provide you and everyone else involved with a better idea of what to expect in terms of the solution or the product when the project gets over.
1. Looking at what you have
You need to think about the factors that will impact the choice of software methodology. Without analyzing the bigger picture, you won’t get the maximum benefits out of your money and time investments.
Think about the size of the team you plan to employ for your software project. Even if you hire dedicated developers, define what are the skill sets they possess and what technologies you plan to use for the project.
This is because someone might have to be trained or not be confident enough to work with certain technologies or systems that might have been planned for us unexpectedly. This must be pre-decided as it will result in a waste of a lot of time later on.
2. Check what your need is
Focus on your priorities as well as constraints. Understand which software methodology would suit the size and the type of software (like if you are a mobile app development company) you are trying to make.
As seen from the discussion of major methodologies available, you would have noticed that different models are suited for varying sizes and complexities of projects.
For instance, the waterfall model will be suitable for simpler projects while RAD would be suitable for more complex projects. Also, you need to think about whether the model is suitable for the number of changes that can be requested later on.
3. Check all the aspects of the project
In some of the cases, the testing times can also be impacted due to the changes in project size. These are just a few but there are many more considerations once you start with the ideation.
This is true no matter whether you are building a project with a traditional approach or a more modern approach. This is also true whether you are talking about software development companies in USA or those in any other country.
4. Checking and maintaining the expecting deadlines
In case there are unexpected delays while work is being done on the application, it can lead to spending more money to complete the project within the said time.
Also, if you decide to use any proprietary technologies, the expenses will increase. This needs to be accounted for otherwise, this will result in a project disaster for the companies. A good idea is to set a buffer of 25-30% when it comes to the cost of development.
5. Working on feedbacks received
Another critical consideration is feedback on the work that has been done already during software product development. This is important for not only the success of the current project but also for the development of future projects without many obstacles.
Read More:- Key Stages Of The Software Product Development
When you are working with the same methodology on another project, you will see the benefits clearly. This also means that developers having past experience of working with this methodology will have a better understanding and do better in different aspects including time. Depending on the type of project you are building, some need detailed feedback while others do not.
After having a good idea of different software methodologies, you can understand that there is no foolproof solution for your project. If you have been in the industry for a long time or noticed the top software development companies in USA, it must be clear to you till now that user requirements rank as the topmost priority when it comes to the important factors in the selection of a suitable methodology.
Also, understanding the complexity of the project is highly crucial before going ahead. After weighing in on the pros and cons, finalize what you want to go with by discussing it with your team members and the consultants that you have hired.
If you are a startup, you will benefit from most likely going for a flexible approach since all emerging software has to undergo rapid changes. This implies that an agile methodology or something similar to that would work pretty well for them.