December 2021

Developing a software might not seem as big of a task to many now but it still is. It demands the coordinated effort of a skilled yet diverse team. If not managed properly, this can quickly turn into chaos. For this, applying a structured development approach is contingent to the successful completion of the project. 

There are numerous popular software development methodologies with each having its own appealing characteristics. This article will shed light on five of the most common software development methodologies and what is so unique about each one of them. 

Keep reading to find which one will be the perfect fit for your next project.


Waterfall: The Traditional One

Waterfall is the most traditional software development methodology that we will be discussing. Because of its traditionalistic approach, it is important to understand this software development methodology to better understand and appreciate the flexibility of modern technologies. It is a simple and linear approach that has development stages arranged into sequential and cascading stages.

It is best suited for teams with lesser design experience as it is rather easy to understand. The completion of one stage results in moving to the next stage. All the required documents and data should be provided and aligned beforehand. 

As mentioned above, it flows in a linear fashion therefore there’s no going back. It doesn’t work well with projects that demand flexibility in this regard.


  • Easy to comprehend for new developers as it moves in a linear fashion. 
  • Easy to follow as all deliverables and requirements are laid out before the commencement of the project.
  • There are less chances of miscommunication in this approach as everything is laid out already. 


  • It doesn’t include customer feedback in the early stages which can result in veering off target.
  • Tests aren’t run throughout the project and only at the end of the development stage which leaves less room for fixing problems and errors.
  • It isn’t suitable for complex projects that require changes throughout the project at any given stage. 
  • This approach gets people spending most of their time on documentation rather than generating deliverable solutions to the users.

Agile Development Methodology 

A development methodology that came into existence as the explicit rejection of the Waterfall methodology. It has inspired and informed many of the other software development methodologies along the way. Its popularity is attributed to its different approach from the conventional and linear approach. 

It breaks down the tasks into multiple sprints that take around 1 to four weeks to complete. It involves multiple tests throughout the development processes. Additionally, it allows developers to make changes according to the customer feedback.

Agile development approach essentially values communication between the customers, developers and the users.

Read more on: Agile Software Development Lifecycle


  • Software has minimal defects because of the iterative development that involves testing and fine tuning of the software.
  • Frequent communication helps in establishing clarity between the team members.
  • Changes can be incorporated throughout the software development process without having to disturb the timeline.
  • Quality of the deliverables improves significantly in this approach.


  • Team members can feel overwhelmed by the frequent change requests.
  • Agile methodology doesn’t keep documentation as a priority which can lead to problems later on.
  • As it works on feedback, the resultant discussions and implementations can be time consuming and taxing.
  • It requires experienced developers because of its non-structured approach.

Scrum Software Development Methodology 

Scrum can be better understood as the concrete application of Agile methodology. In scrum, teams break down the project into specific tasks of work to be completed for the project to complete as a whole. The defined tasks and objectives are then completed in time-defined sprints and specific teams focus on assigned tasks. 

Once the sprints get completed, the team and stakeholders can analyze the progress to assess what’s required. The team then moves on to the next sprint and the cycle goes on. 

The scrum approach demands discipline as it requires the assigned team to work on the given sprint with all their attention and focus. Some developers prefer this mode of working while others find it not the best option for them.


  • It is extremely responsive to changes as it collects feedback regularly.
  • It helps developers exert all their attention and focus on a specific sprint for the defined time period.
  • It is economical and effective at the same time. 
  • Team members have established channels of communication and stand ups that leaves less room for miscommunications.


  • The team members should be equally skilled and experienced for the team to work collaboratively on the project. 
  • Daily standups are helpful in keeping everyone on the same page but can become draining over the period of time. 
  • It doesn’t work well with complex and large projects.

Lean Software Development Methodology 

Lean software development methodology focuses on the principle of minimizing wastage and increasing productivity. It is borrowed from the lean manufacturing principles of Toyota. 

This methodology allows developers to keep an open mind throughout the development process and be open to changes before finalizing a product. It believes in continuous learning and improvements. 

Developers are assigned to identify bottlenecks that can hamper the flawless working of the system. Furthermore, Lean values communication and the collaborative effort of the whole team to be inclusive of each other and their respective ideas.


  • It cuts down on time that gets wasted on repetitive tasks, unnecessary documentation and useless codes.
  • The deployment of lean principles results in the overall cost reduction of the project.
  • It promotes efficiency which significantly reduces the time to market of the software.


  • The success of lean development methodology depends on the skill level of the team.
  • Putting together a team of equally skilled developers is a difficult task which is contingent upon the success of the project.
  • Lean methodology requires detailed documentation which can burden the business team.


Rapid Application Development

Rapid Application Development (RAD) was introduced in 1991 and went on to serve as the foundation for the modern iterative frameworks. The gist of the approach is to build products in specific time frames without compromising the quality of the end product. 

RAD is a four step framework, which comprises project requirements, prototyping, testing, and implementation. It doesn’t follow the conventional linear approach rather emphasizes on building prototypes and testing them out with the customers feedback. The process doesn’t stop until the customer is satisfied with the product.

With the valued feedback from the customers and rigorous testing helps in mitigating the risk elements. The use of RAD increases the chances of putting out the product in the decided time frame without having to compromise the quality of the product. 


  • Eliminates the risk element with the help of continuous customer feedback. 
  • Increased customer satisfaction and retention.
  • It works perfectly well with both small and large applications.
  • Significantly reduces the time to market of the deliverables.


  • The quality of the product is highly dependent on the customer feedback.
  • It requires a team of highly skilled and experienced developers.
  • Doesn’t work well for projects with budget constraints.
  • Issues of progress tracking can be met because of lack of documentation. 

Reach out to us at ARFASOFTECH if you are still in need of answers to some of your questions.


Fahad Ali, Author

Fahad is PM at ARFASOFTECH but has a knack for writing. He enjoys writing about the latest technologies and evolving trends. Most of his writings revolve around trending technologies and their integration into operations.

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