With 55% of technology companies increasing headcount this year and the majority of organisations embracing remote work, it’s no surprise that organisations are placing more importance on IT than ever.
As an software development professional, it’s no longer just about programming: if you want to land your next role in IT, you need to demonstrate that you can design, develop, test and optimise software for a user’s needs.
That’s where SDLC methodologies come in.
SDLC stands for Software Development Life Cycle models, and these are a variety of processes of design, development and testing that are used in the industry today. While there’s no best or standout SDLC methodology, it’s essential to be across the most common models that can be applied to projects within a company.
Here are the top seven SDLC methodology types you should know about.
1. Lean methodology
Lean methodology is focused on eliminating waste, making decisions as late as possible, delivering outcomes as fast as possible and focusing on the big picture. Project teams working with the Lean model find opportunities to cut waste at every step of the SDLC process – in other words, skipping unimportant meetings and reducing documentation.
Lean methodology is cost-effective and empowers the entire team in the decision-making process. However, with limited meetings and documentation, communication needs to be sound for senior stakeholders to stay in the project loop.
2. Agile methodology
Agile is a combination of an incremental and iterative approach, where the product is released on an ongoing cycle then tested and improved at each iteration. Fast failure is encouraged in agile methodology: the theory is that if you fail fast and early, you can solve minor issues before they grow into major issues.
Agile is one of the most common methodologies out there today but it’s technically more of a framework than a distinct model. Within Agile, there are sub-models in place such as extreme programming (XP), Rapid Application Development (RAD), Kanban and Scrum methodology.
3. Waterfall methodology
The Waterfall methodology is one of the oldest surviving SDLC methodologies. It follows a straightforward approach: the project development team completes one phase at a time, and each phase uses information from the last one to move forward.
While this methodology does make the needs and outcomes clear, and gives each stage of the model a well-defined starting and ending point, there are downsides in Waterfall’s rigidity. In fact, some experts believe the Waterfall model was never meant to be a working SDLC methodology for developing software because of how fixed it is in nature. Because of this, SDLC Waterfall methods are best used for extremely predictable projects.
DevOps is used by some of the biggest companies out there, such as Atlassian. A hybrid of Agile and Lean, DevOps evolved from the growing need for collaboration between operations and development teams throughout the SDLC process. In DevOps, both developers and operations teams work together to accelerate and innovate the deployment and creation of software. There are small but frequent updates and DevOps encourages continuous feedback, process improvement and the automation of previously manual processes.
DevOps methodology saves time and improves communication because both operations and development teams get to know about the potential obstructions at the same time. However, DevOps may open software to more security issues, as this approach generally favours speed over security.
As one of the most flexible SDLC models out there, the Spiral model is used by the world’s leading software companies. Spiral enables project teams to build a highly customised product. Spiral methodology passes through four phases repeatedly until the project is finished: planning, risk analysis, engineering, and evaluation.
The biggest difference between Spiral and other methodologies is that it is focused on risk analysis, with each iteration it focuses on mitigating potential risks. The model also emphasises customer feedback, and as the prototype build is done in small increments, cost estimation becomes easier.
The Iterative model is all about repetition. Instead of starting out with a comprehensive overview of the requirements, development teams build the software piece by piece and identify further requirements as they go along. As a result, each new phase in the Iterative model produces a newer, more-refined version of the software under development.
Iterative allows developers and testers to identify functional or design flaws early, and can easily adapt to the ever-changing needs of the client. Like Spiral, Iterative suits larger projects and requires more management and oversight to work well.
Similar to the waterfall methodology where testing is done at the end of a project, with the V-model, testing happens at every stage of development. The next stage of the V-model starts only when the previous stage is entirely finished.
As part of the V-Model, a software tester has to verify if the requirements of a specific development phase are met. They also have to validate that the system meets the needs of the user, customer or other stakeholders, which includes both verifications and validations.
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