The Top Enterprise Software Development Methodologies

There are many options out there in terms of software development methodologies. The question is—which one is right for enterprises looking to expand their in-house technologies?
April 22, 2022
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Software development methodologies provide a framework for controlling the entire process from inception to completion. Enterprises are often interested in custom software that can uniquely suit their business needs and goals. Other benefits associated with custom software include:

  • Improved scalability
  • Rapid development 
  • Endless customization and exclusive features
  • Long-term cost savings 

Software development methodologies help enterprises reduce common development pitfalls while still providing an excellent product. The expectation is to reduce disorganization, inefficiencies, and missed deadlines by implementing a structured methodology. 

Each enterprise must determine the exact organizational, technical, and project parameters to consider when selecting a methodology. An enterprise may opt to develop in-house or work with an outsourced software development team to free up internal resources for other projects.

The Agile development methodology has reigned supreme for years, but it isn’t the first or only methodology available. Excellent software development methodologies exist outside Agile, including waterfall, v-shaped, dynamic systems, and prototypes.

The Most Popular Software Development Methodologies for Enterprises

Waterfall Methodology

The waterfall methodology is the classic software development methodology, originating in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The waterfall model approaches development in a linear sequence, broken down into specific phases. Careful planning and product analysis can save significant time and money. If a project isn’t well-outlined beforehand, though, developed sections of code may need scrapping.

The 5 phases of the Waterfall Methodology:

  • System and Software Requirements – The system and software requirements phase can take up to 40% of the total project timeline. Project managers will determine projected costs, associated risks, metrics for success, and more. 
  • Design – By deciding the system and software requirements, the design phase can begin. During this phase, developers determine the best logical design for the system architecture.
  • Coding & Implementation – This is the first concrete phase when the software will begin to come to life. Enterprise will continue to evaluate design choices as progress continues to ensure the finished project will meet their unique software needs.
  • Testing – With coding and implementation complete, the functional units undergo rigorous testing for full functionality. Each unit should meet the expectations outlined in the first and second phases. Unit Testing is an essential step to developing a secure and stable software application.
  • Deployment and Implementation – Now that the software application is functional and has been thoroughly tested, the product is available for use. The best development teams work to release new features and security updates regularly. 

Agile Methodology 

Agile dominates the software development scene, even though it was only created in 2001. The unique feature of the Agile methodology is iteration. Iterative development produces software solutions quickly and with high quality. Agile has diversified into frameworks and management methods, namely Scrum and Kanban. This methodology values responsiveness, customer collaboration, and the development of functioning software foremost. 

Agile methodology hinges on the belief that a stronger product arises by working in small, fast increments. Agile teams can quickly respond to changing requirements and plans. Agile methodology strongly recommends daily stand-ups. Daily stand-up, also called daily scrum, is a short team meeting where team members will brief the rest of the team on what they are working on, their progress, and any issues they may be having. 

There are 6 stages to the Agile software development life cycle:

  • Concept – An enterprise will identify expectations and opportunities of the primary scope and concept, while the development team will provide cost and time estimations. 
  • Inception – This is where most of the project planning takes place. The project manager selects the skills and team members to complete this project. Diagramming helps outline the responsibilities of each team member and the general goal for each sprint. 
  • Iteration – The iteration phase is the primary concrete development phase. The development team will begin addressing their tasks and coding the software. Workflow during this time will include all major components of standard software development, including:
    • Development
    • Testing
    • Delivery
    • Feedback
    • Release
  • Repetition – Repetition of the iteration phase occurs multiple times until the final product is complete. Then, the team completes a final thorough testing phase and quality assurance protects against any problematic bugs. The creation of user documentation occurs during the release phase. 
  • Production – The development team monitors the software and provides regular support so that internal and external users find satisfaction with the product. This phase will last the entire time the software is live.
  • Retirement – Architecture or other technology changes may contribute to this. Retirement isn’t common in enterprise software development, because the company will usually opt to overhaul instead of scrap. 

V-Shaped Methodology  

The V-Shaped Methodology is similar to the Waterfall method, but instead of a linear process path, the methodology breaks down into 2 major processes: Verification and Validation. These processes each make a side of the ‘V’ and meet at the bottom for the Implementation phase. The development life cycle will move through the verification stages, until the implementation phase, and then onto the validation stages. 

  • Verification Process
    • Requirement Analysis – The project manager will collect all system requirements that the enterprise expects of their software. High-level managers will be able to review this analysis and provide feedback. 
    • System Design – Creating a system blueprint is the primary goal of the system design step. This will include the software, network, and hardware requirements. The development team figures out the techniques that can bring the software requirements to life. System organization, data structure, menu structures, and backend structures occur in this phase.
    • Architecture Design – At this point, the team will be working on outlining the functionality of each feature and component of the software. This is only a design phase as no concrete coding is happening at this time. 
    • Module Design – Each functionality outlined in the architecture design breaks down into smaller pieces to code discrete sections. 
  • Implementation
    • Coding – Software developers take the information and design developed in the requirement analysis, system design, architecture design, and module design steps and begin coding. Developers usually code in a reverse fashion and will start programming the simple modules first before fitting the modules into the system architecture. 
    • Validation
      • Unit Testing – Development of unit tests occurs during the module design phase. Code execution identifies bugs or other issues. Ideally, a unit test will prove that each small unit of code can function without being dependent on other units. 
      • Integration Testing – The small, independent units can’t create any meaningful software without integration and communication. Failed integration testing means that the units aren’t compatible. 
      • System Testing – Developers and management test the entire application in the system testing step. At this point, there’s typically significant feedback from internal users and focus groups. System testing includes performance, stress, regression, and load testing. 
      • Acceptance Testing – The V-shaped methodology understands the importance of user testing. The enterprise performs acceptance testing to verify that the software is complete and ready to use. 

      Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) 

      Developed initially for software development, DSDM is now used widely in project management. DSDM varies from the other methodologies by calculating time and costs from the beginning. 

      Early stages of development will determine enterprise prioritization. The software will have a series of “must-haves,” “should-haves,” “could-haves,” and “won’t-haves.” This allows the development team to adjust the project to meet the project timeline. If the team is ahead they can work on “could-haves and should-haves,” but if they are behind they will focus on “must-haves and should-haves.”

      DSDM also employs an iterative approach during the implementation of the software while focusing on the importance of communicating often and collaborating whenever possible. 

      Prototype Methodology

      The Prototype Methodology works a bit differently than the other methodologies. Prototyping is the process of creating an early working model that can test a concept. An early prototype is useful for determining what works and what doesn’t. It allows developers to decide on areas of focus and importance. 

      Prototyping is also an invaluable tool if an enterprise is unsure of its full software needs. An early prototype is tangible and can allow space for important feedback. With feedback, the development team will begin refining the prototype. Prototype presentation to management occurs with each new iteration.

      This method isn’t as popular because it can lengthen development time. By not entering into development with a clearly outlined project and requirements, developers may stumble. The software may be functional, but it may not be cohesive or have the best architecture or system design. 

      Which is the Right Choice?

      Project managers, the development team, and the enterprise leaders should collaborate to discuss the pros and cons of each methodology. Agile is popular because it’s so effective and can be a great choice. Waterfall, V-Shaped, DSDM, and Prototype are all strong effective methodologies when selected for the right custom software.

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