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Do you know what are top custom software development methodologies?

The world is advancing and so is the custom software development industry. It is confusing to choose an approach for your software development from a variety of options. But a clear understanding of custom software development methodologies will help in making a more informed decision. Before we do that, it is essential to know about all the types of Custom software development methodologies. This article will briefly describe the methodologies in customized software development. 

Introduction to the software development methodology

The software development methodology is a sequence of processes used in software development. We can say that it is a kind of framework where you structure, plan and control the whole development process. It includes standard processes like design, development, and implementation.

Methodologies play a significant role in developing customized software. The style of development and the system we put to use does impact the success of the project. Selection of development methodology largely depends on the team size, organization or product goals, and other factors. Each methodology has advantages and disadvantages associated with it. But the primary purpose of these methodologies is to have a smooth and effective software development process depending upon the project requirements. After reviewing the methodologies given below, you will easily be able to choose the suitable one for your project.

1. Big Bang Methodology

This methodology is usually used for small and simple projects where the client is unsure about their project requirements and how it would take shape during deployment. Pre-planning is not required as there are no rigid or formal protocols in this methodology.

Big Bang Model

Pros of Big Bang Methodology

  • This model is straightforward to use.
  • Doesn’t need proactive planning.
  • Minimal resource requirement.
  • Very easy to manage at every stage.
  • Offers high flexibility to developers.
  • Suitable for beginners, learners, and students.

Cons of Big Bang Methodology

  • It has very high risks and uncertainty.
  • Not at all suitable for complex and object-oriented projects.
  • It is a weak model for long-term or ongoing projects.
  • There are chances of the project getting scrapped.
  • It can be costly if requirements are misunderstood.

2. Agile Software Development Methodology

Agile software development or agile development methodology is one of the popular methods adopted by software development companies and usually preferred by developers. It allows developers and clients to make continuous changes at any phase in a custom software development process.

 The agile method is one of the most flexible development models and reduces the risk by separating the process into small time intervals. 

The agile methodology follows a sequence of unique procedures and practices. This allows developers to implement the best fitting solution in the custom software development process.

Agile Software Development Methodology

Pros of Agile Software Development Methodology

  • Rapid and continuous delivery of software.
  • High client satisfaction.
  • People and interactions are essential rather than processes or tools.
  • Its adaptive approach can quickly meet changing requirements.
  • Two-way communication between client and vendor reduces the error margins.
  • The development process divided into parts helps to manage, test, and deliver the best quality software.

Cons of Agile Software Development Methodology

  • Lack of proper documentation
  • Need precise requirements regarding the final outcome or project may divert from the track.
  • Requires a highly experienced team.
  • It does not have a definite structure, so some projects may face difficulty at the starting phase.

3. Waterfall Model

The waterfall model is one of the oldest and most popular methodologies in custom software development. It is also known as a linear sequential life cycle model. A majority of businesses consider it as a classic life cycle approach to software development.

 It is a stiff model that follows a definite pattern and has some preconditions. Every phase has to be followed before moving to another, and overlapping among them is not possible.

Waterfall Model

The Waterfall Model has sequential phases namely: 

1.    Requirement Gathering and Analysis

2.    System Design

3.    Implementation (Coding)

4.     Integration and testing

5.    Deployment

6.    Maintenance

Pros of Waterfall Model

  • Simple to understand and use.
  • Easy to manage projects due to rigidity.
  • Suitable for small as well as big projects.
  • Clearly defined stages.
  • Milestones are well-understood.
  • Tasks can be arranged easily.
  • Timeline for every phase and whole project can be determined precisely, and it is very time-saving.

Cons of Waterfall Model

  • Deployment is possible in only the last stage of the model.
  • It has very high risks and uncertainty involved in it.
  • Not a good model for complex and object-oriented projects.
  • Not suitable for long-term and ongoing projects.
  • Measuring the progress of an ongoing project at any stage is not possible.
  • This model is not for the projects where there are chances of requirements being changed.
  • We could not accommodate the project with the changing requirement.
  • Client’s feedback cannot be included in the ongoing development phase.
  • This model is not applicable to projects that demand continuous maintenance.
  • Documentation process takes a lot of time.

4. Spiral Model

Spiral Model starts with the smaller aspect of the project and then moves to larger sections to identify and eliminate risks at an earlier development stage. Software development companies start with the smaller modules and then proceed to bigger ones to carry forward a systematic flow. Risks at every stage are handled, and the next step or iteration is taken. The project’s movement is a spiral shape from one module to another, eliminating risks and injecting feedback.

Spiral Model

Pros of Spiral Model

  • Changing requirements can be easily accommodated.
  • Cost estimation is straightforward.
  • Risks are eliminated at the early stages.
  • Highly disciplined development procedure.
  • Suitable for large size and critical projects.
  • Faster development and symmetrical addition of features.
  • Suitable for high risks and requirement fluctuating projects.
  • Development process is divided into smaller parts that help in better risk management and project deployment.

Cons of Spiral Model

  • It is a costly development model.
  • Success is highly dependent on risk analysis.
  • Not suitable for low-risk projects.
  • Continuous implementation of changes stretches the project deadline.
  • Lengthy documentation due to multiple phases.
  • Management of custom software development processes is complex.
  • Chances of going over the timeframe and budget.

5. Scrum Development Methodology

Scrum Methodology divides projects into smaller modules and decides work for every module simultaneously with a different strategy. Like Agile development, Scrum development is also a popular methodology. It can be applied to any project, especially where there is a requirement for rapid change. Software development is done rapidly through Scrum as it allows a series of iterations in a single go. It can easily bring the slowest moving projects on track.

Scrum Model

Scrum has three sequential phases :

1.    Planning

2.    Meeting

3.    Conclusion

Pros of Scrum Development Methodology

  • Entire decision-making responsibility is on the development team.
  • Project development can be tracked, and frequent updates on the progress are received.
  • Short sprints and feedback make the process changes easier.
  • Developers could deliver a high-quality product on time.

Cons of Scrum Development Methodology

  • Getting the project to an end is difficult as clients demand new functionality and changes.
  • Need highly accurate time and cost estimation.
  • It is not suitable for large-size and long-term projects.
  • This methodology requires a highly experienced team.
  • Need trust and flexibility in the relationship between scrum masters and their teams.
  • Regression testing is required at every phase.

6. Prototype Model / Prototype Methodology

Prototype Model involves different processes to go through stage by stage evolution. Before making a prototype, software requirements are needed to be understood clearly, and proper market research is required to be done. Prototype Methodology allows developers to create only a prototype of solutions and represent it to the client. Then necessary changes can be made according to the feedback of the client. The best feature of Prototype is that it solves the issues occurring in Waterfall Model.

Prototype Model

Pros of Prototype Model / Prototype Methodology

  • Instant prototype shown to the client helps in a clear understanding of the project.
  • High customer satisfaction.
  • Analysis and feedback from client help in accurate delivery of the project.
  • Potential risks are identified at early stages, and mitigation steps are taken quickly.
  • Reduced time and costs as risks are mitigated at an early stage.
  • Missing functions can be added easily.
  • Up to date documentation is easily possible.

Cons of Prototype Model / prototype Methodology

  • Development of a prototype is needed to be done with minimal cost and resources, or it may affect the budget.
  • Multiple changes from the client can disturb the project’s flow.
  • As the scope of a project expands, its complexities also broaden.
  • Efforts invested in the prototype are high.

7. Joint Application Development Methodology (JAD Model)

There is a continuous interaction between developers, designers, and clients in joint Application Development Methodology or JAD Model. During the development process, several off-site meetings and conferences are conducted to finalize the software system. JAD Methodology involves the client in the design and development of an application. The primary purpose of the JAD Model is to eliminate business errors in the earlier stages of development.

Pros of Joint Application Development (JAD Model)

  • Errors are eliminated at the early stage of development.
  • Large amount of information is gathered from the meetings.
  • Due to Information, the Cost and time required for project development are less.
  • Well defined requirements improve development quality.

Cons of Joint Application Development (JAD Model)

  • Scheduling and planning phase requires a lot of time from the developer’s team.
  • Required highly trained and experienced personals to run the project.
  • Difference in the opinion of internal team members makes it complicated.

8. Feature Driven Development (FDD Model)

Feature Driven Development also known as the FDD Model, is an iterative software development methodology for object-oriented programming specially used by large teams. In FDD Methodology, features are added on the feedback of the client. The entire process from designing to development and implementation, is feature-based.

Feature Driven Model

Pros of Feature Driven Development (FDD Model)

  • Multiple teams can work simultaneously, and that reduces the time
  • It is suitable for larger-size projects.
  • Development process is highly standardized and simplified.
  • Tracking progress through different phases is elementary.

Cons of Feature Driven Development (FDD Model)

  • It is not suitable for smaller projects and a small team.
  • High dependency on the lead developer.
  • Deadlines cannot be strictly determined.
  • Lack of proper documentation.

9. Rapid Application Development (RAD Model)

Rapid Application Development Methodology focuses on faster development and high-quality results compared to other methodologies. RAD Model is a combined approach of prototype Model and Agile Software Development Methodology to create more rapid iteration and faster release of prototypes. The main aim of RAD Methodology is to accelerate the entire development process. Achieving end goals is made easier and quicker due to feedback, faster corrections, and client participation in the development process.

Rapid Application Development Model

Pros of Rapid Application Development (RAD Model)

  • It reduces risks and efforts from the developer side.
  • It helps the client to take a review of the project.
  • Through continuous feedback, software development is improved.
  • Due to the building of the prototype, there are lesser errors.
  • The system is transparent so progress can be tracked easily.
  • Changes in requirements are easily accommodated.
  • Integration from the beginning solves end integration issues.

Cons of Rapid Application Development (RAD Model)

  • Requires highly skilled developers and designers.
  • Not suitable for small and low-budget projects.
  • Documentation is tough to maintain.
  • Dependency on technically strong team members.
  • Management complexity is high.

10. Dynamic Systems Development Methodology (DSDM Model)

Dynamic Systems Development Methodology or DSDM Model is based on Rapid Application Development Model and Agile Development Model’s combined approach. This is an incremental and iterative approach that encourages the involvement of the client. The main aim of DSDM is to develop Custom Software on time and within a specific budget.

Dynamic Systems Development Model

Pros of Dynamic Systems Development Methodology (DSDM Model)

  • Basic functionality is delivered in less time.
  • Projects are usually completed on time and within the budget.
  • DSDM allows easy access to developers and clients.

Cons of Dynamic Systems Development Methodology (DSDM Model)

  • Not suitable for small organizations or small projects.
  • Implementation cost is usually high.
  • It is a new concept in the market and is a bit complex to understand.
  • It demands continuous client involvement.

11. Extreme Programming (XP) Methodology / XP model

Extreme Programming (XP) is a part of agile software engineering methodology. And this model is generally used to develop software within a volatile environment. The flexibility in the modeling process is high in XP. At the same time, this methodology aims to reduce the cost of development.

Extreme Programming (XP) Model

Pros of Extreme Programming (XP) Methodology / XP Model

  • Project realization time and cost are saved.
  • Timely delivery of final software.
  • Simple documentation is done here.
  • Emphasizes client involvement.
  • Plans and schedules are built, and software developers remain committed to it.
  • XP Model is consistent with modern software development, which results in high-quality products.

Cons of Extreme Programming (XP) Methodology / XP model

  • Requires meetings at frequent intervals.
  • Requires too many development changes, which makes the process complicated for a developer.
  • Focuses more on code and less on design.
  • Lack of documentation often leads to the occurrence of bugs in the future.

12. Lean Development Methodology

Lean development, also sometimes referred to as the LD Model, is an agile framework that focuses on optimizing development time and resources, eliminating waste, and creating easily changeable software. The goal of Lean Development is to build software in less time with less cost. A small version is released in the market and based on the user feedback, more functionalities are added.

Lean Development Model

Pros of Lean Development

  • Streamlined processes deliver more functionality in less time.
  • Time and cost are reduced through the elimination of unnecessary activity.
  • Decision making is on the development team, which empowers them and boosts their morale.

Cons of Lean Development

  • Success is highly dependent on team members and their skill sets.
  • Requires expert business analysis to implement the LD model.
  • Can lead to development mistakes if the documentation is not robust.


All of the listed methodologies work well depending upon the requirement and type of the project. It is not necessary that a methodology suited for one project must work for another project. None of these methodologies are entirely perfect, as each has its pros and cons. And to get the desired level of product within your criteria, it is necessary to go with the most suitable software methodology. Hence, I would suggest consulting a good software development company for effective outcomes.

Sigma Data Systems offers a helping hand in choosing the most appropriate methodology for your custom software development. We spend quality time on defining goals, analysis of product requirements, cost and time estimation, and expert team bundling for your project. Our experienced team with the required industrial skillset can implement the most complex methodologies and deliver quality end products on time.

Siften Halwai

In addition to serving as a content writer, Siften Halwai is a certified Cambridge English: Business Vantage who loves accepting challenges. His IT educational background and years of writing experience have given him a broad base for various content formats. Siften loves to read and write. Also, he’s a great cook, always ready to explore food and cultures.