How Different Approaches Are Used To Build Software

Software can be developed in various ways.

In this article, we will look at the different approaches that can be used to create and deliver software solutions.

Each methodology has advantages and disadvantages, and the most suitable method for a particular project depends on the project requirements and the team’s capabilities.

Let us explore –

Waterfall Model: This oldest and easiest approach to developing a piece of software! This method is based on a top to bottom approach.

Here , the software is created in a linear fashion with no room for revisions and iterations.

Agile Methodology: This approach has become increasingly popular over the past few years due to its flexible and iterative process.

Agile development is based on an incremental, repetitive delivery model that requires close collaboration between the development team and customer.

Test-Driven Development (TDD): This method emphasizes automated testing of all code as it is written, with short development cycles and frequent reviews.

TDD also encourages developers to write code that is simpler to maintain and read by other developers.

Scrum Methodology: The Scrum methodology is an iterative and incremental approach to software development that follows Agile principles.

It involves breaking tasks into smaller pieces of work that can be completed quickly, then followed by review and inspection of completed work prior to integration into the main application.

Spiral Model: The Spiral Model is a combination of the Waterfall and Iterative models and uses an iterative process to build each layer of the project incrementally until completion.

This model evaluates risk early in the process and provides feedback opportunities throughout the cycle for optimal results.

Waterfall Model

This is one of the oldest and traditional methods of software development.

In this approach, the development process is organized in a linear fashion.

It involves a sequential flow from one step to the next and includes requirements analysis, design, coding, testing, and maintenance.

Steps in Waterfall Model

These are the steps in waterfall model –

Define the problem: The first step in the waterfall model is to define the problem.

This involves understanding the customer’s requirements and expectations, and developing a clear and concise statement of the problem that needs to be solved.

Analyze the Requirements: The next step is to analyze the customer’s requirements and develop a detailed plan of action to meet them.

This step needs researching the customer’s needs, analyzing the data, and developing a plan of action to address the requirements.

Design the Solution: The third step of the Waterfall model is to design the solution.

This includes designing the architecture of the system, the user interface, and the features and functions of the system.

Implement the Solution: The fourth step is to implement the solution.

This means coding the system, testing it, and ensuring that it meets the customer’s requirements.

Test and Evaluate the Solution: The fifth step is to test and evaluate the solution.

In this step you will need running tests to ensure that the system meets the customer’s requirements and evaluating the results to ensure that the system performs as expected.

Deploy the Solution: The sixth step is to deploy the solution. Now you can implement the system to the customer’s environment and ensuring it is operational.

Maintain and Support the Solution: The seventh and final step is to maintain and support the solution.

This last step means providing ongoing support and maintenance to ensure that the system continues to meet the customer’s requirements and is up-to-date with the latest technology.

Benefits of Waterfall Model

Easier to Understand: Waterfall methodology is easier to understand since it follows a linear approach to development.

It allows designers and developers to break tasks into smaller chunks that can be managed more easily.

Easier to Monitor: Since the process of software development is planned and documented in advance, progress can be monitored easily.

Any issues that arise can be identified earlier, allowing for a smoother, more efficient development process.

Easier to Test: With waterfall methodology, unit testing is often built into the process.

This makes it easier to ensure that the system matches the planned design and the final product meets all of the end user’s requirements.

More Cost-Effective: With all the design and development done upfront, the cost of development can often be reduced.

There are fewer changes and unexpected problems that may arise in the later stages of development.

Easier for Beginners: Because of its linear nature and organized structure, the waterfall methodology is often easier for beginners to understand and use.

This makes it an excellent choice for teams just starting out with software development.

Drawbacks of Waterfall Model

  1. No working software is produced until late during the lifecycle.
  2. High amounts of risk and uncertainty.
  3. Poor model for complex and object-oriented projects.
  4. Not a good model for long and ongoing projects.
  5. Little or no scope for iteration or incremental development.
  6. Upfront planning required with no scope for change.
  7. Documentation heavy.
  8. Difficult to measure progress.
  9. Steep learning curve.
  10. Limited or no involvement of the customer.

Agile Methodology

Agile methodology is a framework for software development that encourages collaboration between developers and customers.

It is based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams.

Agile methodologies focus on iterative development through short cycles, or sprints, to deliver working software quickly.

Commonly used Agile methodologies include Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Kanban, and Lean.

Steps in Agile Methodology

These are the steps in agile method –

Identifying the Project Requirements: During this stage, the development team should review and analyze the project requirements from the customer.

The teams needs discussing business goals, user stories, and motivations before beginning the development process.

Creating the Development Team: The development team should be formed using experienced Agile practitioners with appropriate skills for the project.

It is important to assign the right roles and responsibilities to each team member prior to starting the development.

Developing the Product Backlog: This is the step where the features and stories to be included in the development process should be identified.

It should include an estimated weight for each element, priorities and durations.

Planning Sprints: The development team should plan out the sprints, which are time-boxed iterations.

This is the step where the team needs to identify the tasks required to complete the development process and the timeline to do them.

Implement the Work: After each sprint the team should review the sprint results, which should include the development completed and user feedback.

Potentially Shippable State: This step is to ensure that the team has enough confidence to deploy the product.

The team should also ensure every story and feature has been sufficiently tested and reviewed.

Release and Validate: The product should be released to the customer or stakeholders and their feedback should be taken into consideration for further development.

Analysis and Improvement: The last step is to analyze the development process for improvements for the next sprints.

The team should review the lessons learned during the development process and take corrective actions if required.

Benefits of Agile Method

Increased Efficiency: Agile software development is designed to achieve maximum productivity.

It enables a project team to continuously review, improve, and deliver an evolving product.

Cost Reduction: Agile development does not require all phases of the product to be completed before deployment.

It allows for partial release of the product, reducing the cost of development and deployment.

Faster Adaptation: By engineering incremental, iterative solutions and allowing for faster customer feedback, Agile is designed to adapt quickly to change.

This helps businesses stay ahead of the competition and quickly adapt to customer needs.

Improved Quality: Many Agile methodologies emphasize the importance of quality assurance and continuous integration.

Bugs are identified and fixed quickly, resulting in a higher quality end product.

Improved Collaboration: Agile software development teams emphasize the value of collaboration with stakeholders and team members.

This improves communication and the efficiency of the team as they work together to bring the product to life.

More Flexibility: Agile software development is based on the principle of flexibility and adaptability.

Projects are designed with the customer’s needs in mind and can be adjusted during development if the customer desires.

Drawbacks of the Agile Method

Lack of Documentation: The main issue with agile development is that it can lead to a lack of documentation, which makes the project much more difficult to understand for future developers.

Poor Planning: Agile development can often result in a less than ideal planning process, leading to more rework in the future and a lack of structure for the project.

Unclear Deliverables: Without concrete iterations, specifying expectations and deliverables can be difficult, leading to project failure.

Difficult to Adjust: Since the requirements of the project can change quickly, it can be difficult to adjust the development process to keep up with these changes.

Poor Quality Control: Because of the rapid pace of agile development, quality control may be neglected. This can lead to bugs and other problems, leading to a poorly written program.

Test-Driven Development

Test-driven development (TDD) is a software development process that relies on the repetition of a very short development cycle.

First the developer writes an (initially failing) automated test case that defines a desired improvement or new function.

Then the developer writes the minimum amount of code to pass that test, and finally refactors the new code to acceptable standards.

TDD is a process of developing and running automated tests before actual development of the software begins.

Tests are written to define the desired behavior of the application, and the software is modified to make the tests pass.

TDD is an iterative process that helps developers write clean, reliable, and maintainable code.

Steps in Test-Driven Development

Create a test: Create a small test that verifies a small bit of functionality of the program.

Run all tests and see if the new test fails: Run all tests to make sure that the new test fails, as it should since the functionality it’s testing has not been implemented yet.

Write the code: Write the code that will make the test pass.

Run tests: Run the tests again to make sure that the new test passes and that no other tests have failed due to the changes.

Refactor: Refactor the code if necessary, making sure that all tests continue to pass.

Repeat: Repeat these steps for each bit of functionality until the program is complete.

Advantages of Test-Driven Development

Focuses on Quality: Encourages developers to write code that is of higher quality and provides better coverage of potential use cases.

Developers have to think through their code, how it should work, and how it should be tested.

Improves Software Design: The design of their code needs to be well thought out before writing it, providing a cleaner and more concise design overall.

TDD requires developers to think about how the code can be broken down into smaller, testable units which can then be tested and verified.

Improves Code Readability: Produces code that is easy to read and understand.

This is because TDD requires thinking on structure and organization of code, which in turn makes it easier for other developers to understand.

Enhances Code Reuse: TDD can help developers create code that is more easily reused in other projects.

Reusable code help save time and money as developers can simply reuse and modify existing code, instead of having to write it all from scratch.

Enhances Team Collaboration: The entire approach to coding needs to based on a team perspective.

This helps teams collaborate more effectively, as developers are all working towards the same goal and have the same understanding of the code.

Scrum Methodology

Scrum is an Agile methodology for software development that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

It is based on an iterative and incremental approach to software development.

Scrum emphasizes constant collaboration and feedback from stakeholders to ensure that the final product meets their needs.

The Scrum methodology is based on four core values –

  1. Focus
  2. Openness
  3. Commitment
  4. Courage.

Additionally, Scrum focuses on delivering working software in short sprints, or iterations, with each sprint built around a specific goal.

At the heart of Scrum is the Scrum team, which consists of –

  1. A product owner
  2. The scrum master
  3. Development team

The product owner is responsible for defining and prioritizing the desired features and functionality of the product.

The scrum master is responsible for managing the Scrum process and ensuring that the team is following the Scrum methodology.

Finally, the development team is responsible for actually building the product.

The Scrum methodology can be used for any software development project, from small to large teams.

It is particularly well-suited for projects that require frequent changes, as the iterative approach allows for quick adjustments to be made as needed.

Steps in Scrum Methodology

Product Backlog Creation: This is a list of all the features and requirements that the development team will work on.

It needs to be organized in order of priority and importance.

The product owner should be involved in the creation of the product backlog.

Sprint Planning: Meeting between the development team, product owner, and stakeholders.

The purpose of this meeting is to decide which items from the product backlog should be included in the sprint.

During this meeting, the development team should decide how much work needs to be done and how long it will take to complete it.

Design & Development: Once the sprint has been planned, the development team can begin developing the features and requirements.

This is the actual coding and design process.

The development team should follow the agreed upon user stories and tasks that were discussed during the sprint planning meeting.

Testing & Integration: Once the features and requirements have been developed, they must be tested and integrated into the system.

This is done to ensure that the new features and requirements are working properly and will not have any unexpected issues.

Sprint Review: Meeting between the development team, product owner, and stakeholders again to review how things went!

This is also the time for stakeholders to provide feedback and make any necessary changes.

Sprint Retrospective: The sprint retrospective is a meeting between the development team and product owner.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss what went well and what didn’t go well during the sprint.

This helps the development team to improve for the next sprint.

Release: Once all the features and requirements have been tested and integrated, the product is ready for release.

The product owner should then decide when the product should be released and any necessary marketing activities should be planned.

Benefits of Scrum Methodology

Increased Visibility: Scrum methodology provides increased visibility into the development process, allowing stakeholders to easily track progress and deliverables.

Improved Communication: Frequent and open communication among all team members needed to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Improved Productivity: It encourages teams to focus on completing tasks and delivering value quickly. This results in improved productivity and faster delivery times.

Increased Quality: By focusing on delivering value quickly, teams are able to spend more time improving the quality of their work. This can result in fewer bugs and a better overall product.

Improved Adaptability: Scrum methodology is designed to be flexible, allowing teams to quickly adjust their plans in response to changing requirements or customer feedback.

This makes it easier to stay on track and deliver a better product.

Drawbacks of Scrum Methodology

Time consuming: Scrum is a complex methodology that requires a lot of time and effort to master and use.

It can be especially time consuming for larger teams with many members, as the Scrum process requires regular meetings and updates.

Expensive: Implementing the Scrum methodology in a software project can be costly.

It requires dedicated resources for training and implementation, as well as additional software tools that can be expensive.

Difficult to control: Since Scrum is an iterative process, it can be difficult to control and contain the scope of the project.

It can be difficult to predict the time and effort required to complete each iteration, which can lead to overspending.

Increase in complexity: Scrum can add another layer of complexity to the development process, which can be a challenge for teams that are already dealing with complex code.

It can also require additional effort to integrate Scrum into existing workflows.

Spiral Model

The Spiral Model is a software development process.

It combines elements of both design and prototyping-in-stages, in an effort to combine advantages of top-down and bottom-up concepts.

The spiral model is intended for large, expensive, and complicated projects.

This model of development combines the features of the prototyping model and the waterfall model.

It starts with a small set of features and iteratively grows the product in a series of incremental releases, adding features and refining existing features in each successive cycle.

The spiral model is used for large, expensive, and complicated projects.

It allows for risk analysis and management, early prototyping and user feedback, and incremental releases.

The spiral model also allows for changes and new requirements to be incorporated into the final product.

The four main phases of the spiral model are planning, risk analysis, engineering, and review.

Each phase is composed of multiple iterations that loop back to the planning phase.

Steps in Spiral Method

Identify the Problem: The first step in the Spiral Model is to identify the problem that needs to be solved.

Gathering the requirements from the customer, defining the scope, and laying out the objectives for the project.

Design and Prototyping: Once the scope and requirements have been defined, the team will go ahead and design a prototype of the system.

This should lay out the functions, features and modules of the system, as well as its architecture.

Evaluation: After designing and developing the system, the team will review it and evaluate its effectiveness as a solution to the problem.

If the system is effective and efficient, it can proceed to the next step.

Risk Analysis: The team will then assess the risks associated with the system, such as technical, financial, operational, and business risks.

Development: Once all of the risks have been addressed, the system can be built.

This step involves coding, software development life cycle (SDLC) tasks, and putting in the necessary architecture to make the system function.

Testing: After development is complete, the system should be tested to make sure it works as expected.

This includes unit testing, system testing, integration testing, and user acceptance testing.

Maintenance: After the system has been developed, tested, and accepted, it will need to be maintained to ensure that any changes or upgrades are implemented appropriately.

Maintenance can include bug fixes, feature enhancements, and version upgrades.

Benefits of Spiral Method

Reduced risk: The spiral model helps to reduce the overall risk of a project by breaking it up into smaller parts and allowing time for risk analysis and mitigation.

Constant refinement: The spiral model allows for constant refinement of the product and its requirements based on user feedback and new requirements that come up during the project.

Accepts change: The spiral model is flexible and can handle changes in requirements and technology throughout the development process.

Improved quality assurance: The spiral model allows for more frequent quality assurance checks during the development process, making it more likely that any bugs are caught early on.

Better communication: The spiral model encourages better communication between stakeholders and developers. This can help ensure that the product meets the intended needs and requirements.

Drawbacks of Spiral Method

Requires more time for system analysis: In the spiral model, software is developed in smaller portions over longer periods of time, leading to complexity and possible delays within the given tasks.

High risk of failure: This can be a major issue due to the iterations involved in the spiral model.

Even if a bug is identified and partially solved, without thorough verification, it may still remain.

Misalignment with requirements: Any changes requested by the customer have to pass through all of the model’s iterations, which means time and cost for the development team.

This could lead to a mismatch between the customer’s expectations and the end product.

Expensive: Since the model involves multiple iterations and a lot of back-and-forth communication with the customer, it is likely to be expensive.

In addition, each iteration involves testing and debugging of the code, further adding to the cost of development.

Low quality: The quality of the software may suffer due to the prolonged development process and increased risk of failure.

If bugs are not identified early on, they can carry on to the next iteration and hamper the quality of the final product.

The spiral model is suitable for projects with high risk, where requirements are not well understood or are changing.

It is also suitable for projects involving new technologies