Analyzing “Software Development Lifecycle Methodologies”

The Software Development Lifecycle models are like mentors to the world of software development. It can flag errors in software development processes before they’re discovered in successive stages, thus saving time and money at the same time.

SDLC can also lay out a plan for putting right things in the right place at the first instance itself.

SDLC process comprises of numerous distinct stages, including planning, analysis, design, building, testing, deployment and maintenance.

So, let’s have some insights on the six SDLC methodologies, or models, that development teams use:

  • Agile
  • Lean
  • Waterfall
  • Iterative
  • Spiral
  • DevOps

Though these methodologies differ from each other but have a common purpose of helping software development teams deliver high-quality software speedily and cost-effectively as fast as possible.

Reviewing a brief description of all the methodologies will surely help you choose the best for your team.


Agile model is one of the most sought after SDLC model among others. It has been a decade; Agile model is into practical use.

If you are well versed with the methodologies how software engineering companies work, then you might know well that Agile model is the major driving force behind software development in many organizations.

It has proven its mettle by not only getting vigorously implemented in software development projects, but also in many other areas including non-tech domains.

Fast failure is the mantra on which Agile model works.

The approach produces ongoing release cycles, each featuring small, incremental changes from the previous release, and the product is tested at each and every iteration.

Addressing small issues of projects before they evolve into major problems is Agile model’s forte. This not only helps the employees related to the project but also the stake holders to get proper feedback throughout the development process.


The Lean model in software development has its roots related to manufacturing engineering practices and principles.

In the manufacturing industry, there are seven Lean methodologies that are world widely used, they are:

  • Eliminate Waste
  • Build Quality In
  • Create Knowledge
  • Defer Commitment
  • Deliver Fast
  • Respect People
  • Optimize the Whole

The main aim of Lean process is to work in a single task at a time. So that there’s no multitasking which results in reducing redundant errors.

In day to day office activities you might have seen project managers implementing Lean methodologies like: dropping unnecessary meetings to save time and resources, and at the same time working digitally to reduce documentation.

Agile and Lean methodologies go hand in hand for the SDLC, but with some notable differences.

Agile takes customer feedback as priority form the outset by creating a process which is flexible and reliable at the same time. It helps project teams to react quickly and respond to shareholder feedback throughout the SDLC.

Meanwhile, Lean emphasizes on the elimination of waste as a way to create more overall value for customers — which, in turn, helps to increase satisfaction.


Waterfall model is widely considered to be the oldest of the structured SDLC methodologies. But many times, experts discuss that Waterfall model was never built to be a model for real projects. So, let’s have a look at what Waterfall model is all about.

Waterfall model follows a very straightforward approach: finish one phase, then move on to the next, and no going back.

In this model each stage relies on information from the previous stage and has its own project plan.

But there is one demerit and that is rigidity. Though its simple and easy to understand but delays during the inception stage of the project may throw off the entire project timeline.

If any project requires flexibility in the long term, then Waterfall model cannot be implemented in that case. The model would not work in this case.


The iterative model is repetitive in nature. One must follow hit and trial method to get used to the iterative model. In this case software developers create a set of requirements then test, evaluate and then move forward towards other requirements.

A new version of the software is produced with each phase, or iteration. Testing, evaluation and rinsing goes on until the complete system is ready.

Iterative has a huge advantage of over other SDLC methodologies, as it is able to produce a working version of the project early in the process. Thus, making it less expensive to implement the requisite changes.

But with every advantage there may be minute disadvantages too, and in this case due to repetitiveness there is every chance to consume resources at an alarming rate.

One disadvantage: Repetitive processes can consume resources very quickly.


The Spiral model is one of the most flexible SDLC methodologies.

Spiral model works on the basis of taking a reminder from the iterative model and its repetition.

The nomenclature of the Spiral model comes from its process of passing through four different phases namely: planning, risk analysis, engineering and evaluation, over again and again in a spiral manner until the entire process is completed. Thus, allowing multiple stages of further refinement.

The ability of spiral model to enable development teams to build a highly customized product and incorporate user feedback early on in the project allows it to be typically used for large projects.

Risk management is another added advantage of the Spiral model. In the Spiral model each iteration starts by looking ahead to potential risks and figuring out how best to avoid or mitigate them.


DevOps is totally a new entrant in the SDLC domain. It emerged as the amalgamation of Lean and Agile practices to see operations work and value the collaboration between development and operations staff at all the stages of SDLC process.

In general, we have seen Developers and Operations team work together closely in a DevOps model to accelerate innovation for the deployment of high quality and reliable software product and functionalities.

Discipline, process improvement, continuous feedback and automation of manual development processes are all trademarks of the DevOps model.

However, like many SDLC models, DevOps is not only an approach to planning and executing work, but also a philosophy that demands significant mindset and culture changes in an organization.

Selecting the right SDLC model for any software development project is not an easy task, it always requires a thorough research and careful thought. But choosing the right SDLC is just one step towards success; assembling the right team for the requisite project to implement and nurture the benefits of right SDLC model is the most important aspect.

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