In today’s world of software development project management, there are multiple methodologies. The reality is that most managers and leaders do not adhere to a single methodology, but rather combine several practices to suit what the project requires. According to the PMI Project Management Institute’s “Pulse of the Profession 2019” survey, 89% of project professionals claimed to apply hybrid project management techniques.
In the following, we will expose the most common software development project methodologies, and explain the particularities, advantages and disadvantages of each of them. In this way you will have an overview of the possible options, and you will be able to identify which methodology is best suited to a particular software project.
- Agile Methodology – Scrum
- Waterfall Methodology
- DevOps Methodology
Agile Methodology – Scrum
Agile is more than a methodology, it is a set of principles for software development, a philosophy, a set of values to follow:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Software running on extensive documentation
- Collaboration with the customer over contractual negotiation
- Response to change over following a plan
And Scrum is a project management methodology that implements Agile principles and processes to improve delivery.
An agile development process or Scrum is recommended for projects where the end goal is not specified in detail, as it is a flexible, iterative design and build process.
In this process, the customer drives the process on the basis of intermediate deliverables and new knowledge can be applied quickly. In small steps, sprints, intermediate products are delivered and can be evaluated. Being agile helps teams respond to unpredictability through incremental and iterative work processes.
Advantage: adaptability to changing situations, and adequate and continuous communication between the project team, and between the project team and the client.
Disadvantage: higher level of effort on the part of the client.
The waterfall project management methodology has a very simple approach: generate a solid planning of the project as a whole, and execute the different phases of the project at once, correctly.
In case the specifications are clearly defined and little or no changes are expected, this project methodology is the most efficient.
A good plan is made and executed in strict sequence, adhering to the requirements defined before the project starts. Each phase must be completed before the next phase can begin, with no overlapping of phases. Typically, in a Waterfall approach, the output of one phase acts as the input for the next phase sequentially. The project is delivered in its entirety in a single cycle, so the progress of the project cannot be shown to the client, which is quite risky.
Advantage: requires less interaction with the customer compared to Agile methodology.
Disadvantage: limited possibilities to include new knowledge and to cater for changes. Once the plan is approved, there is little scope to adapt it unless absolutely necessary, and changes that are needed often require change requests.
This software development methodology focuses on communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and IT professionals to ensure more agile deployment cycles.
This software project management methodology is especially suited to application development with frequent functional changes.
When planning the project, IT operations and development teams are formed, breaking down the traditional “wall” between these work groups. These new DevOps teams are responsible for deploying the software and for enriching and maintaining the application.
Advantage: greater agility in deployment cycles and product maintenance is ensured. Error correction is faster.
Disadvantage: special care must be taken with access to production data.
At decide4AI we use all three project methodologies explained in the article or combinations of them. In general, it is not possible to say that one methodology is better than another, it is only possible to determine which is the best approach in the context of a specific project.
Agile and DevOps methodologies have in common more continuous delivery and testing. Whereas the waterfall methodology is more focused on delivering a solid end result. The difference between Agile and DevOps is that Agile is focused on close collaboration between the customer and the developer to address functional changes and new insights; whereas DevOps focuses on close collaboration between developers and IT departments to ensure a smooth and rapid deployment. Combining Agile and DevOps methodologies is perfectly possible.
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