Modern methodologies of software development
Thanks to the opportunity of working with hundreds of clients, we’ve had a front row seat to see the evolution and modernization of software development processes and methodologies. From uncovering new ways to address old pain points, overcoming even the most challenging obstacles, identifying how to uniquely approach unique business needs, and strategizing for the future to build a product roadmap that aligns with the goals of the client is paramount when leveraging the right software development methodology.
Think of software development as a many-headed monster (a friendly one). From phones, TVs, cars, your doorbell, you name it, almost everything has a certain degree of software development involved with software-driven features. Taking an idea and developing a tangible product or service out of it is where software development comes in. Think of software development as the framework where a software project evolves from conception to deployment.
Design, planning, documentation, coding, testing, and post-delivery maintenance are the sequential pillars of software development, structured in such a way so as to create a pipeline in which your project will move from one stage to the next with the goal of creating high-quality deliverables.
Now, software development has evolved in such a way where we can find several schools of thought about the best way to execute a software development pipeline. You’ve probably heard about Agile, Waterfall, DevOps, and some others as methodologies that are set in motion to help software development teams structure and execute processes to deliver software solutions.
In this article, you’ll learn about the most modern software development methodologies and how they’re used to get the best results for unique business demands.
Software Development Paradigms
The OG of software development methodologies, the Waterfall model is a sequential, structure-driven process that, much like a waterfall, moves a software project from top to bottom, meaning that one specific phase moves to the next phase only after the current phase is completely done.
The Waterfall methodology success sweeped software development all around as it’s heavily focused on the quality of deliverables, emphasizing front-end development, documentation, and outcomes. In Waterfall, the heavy lifting takes place during the early phases where estimates are defined for each requirement, giving more accurate and predictable release dates. To its detriment, Waterfall isn’t flexible and doesn’t do well with changing requirements, which is why many are steering away from this methodology since change is a given in the world of software development.
Software development agile methodology
The epitome of flexibility, the software development agile methodology is an iterative framework centered around adaptive planning, swift delivery times, plenty of communication, and flexibility, with a keen eye for continuous improvements thanks to staple resources such as the widely-adopted Scrum.
Agile addresses many of the shortcomings that Waterfall shows. For many projects, the structured pipeline of Waterfall works, especially for assembly projects where planning, designing, building, testing, and delivering are effective. In software development, the reality is now always as straightforward, so the industry-wide need for a more flexible methodology that can quickly embrace and respond to changing requirements is what caused the Agile process to software development emerge.
Through small, more manageable tasks, the Agile software development processes follow an incremental style of work where elements of the software project are deployed in weeks and the entire solution in a couple of months. Teams that favor the Agile methodology work daily in a highly-collaborative environment where daily standup meetings are a regular affair, ensuring all portions of the project are visible and tracked.
Scrum for software development
In the Agile section, we snuck in the concept of Scrum, which of its own accord, it’s a software development framework that is lightweight, responsive, and value-driven to develop, deliver, and maintain software products in complex environments. Not proprietary to software development, the Scrum framework is also used in fields like sales, marketing, research, and more.
Scrum teams consist of a Scrum Master, Developers, and a Product Owner. These essential roles work cohesively with specific objectives, which are known as product goals. In additional to these roles, another key element of Scrum are its artifacts, which provide opportunities for improvement and growth. These artifacts include:
- Increments which are additive steps to achieve the product goal. Increments are presented during the Scrum Sprint Reivew and are delivered to the stakeholders towards the end of the sprint.
- Product backlog which is a list of what is needed to achieve the product goal and make the product better.
- Sprint backlog which consists of the sprint goals, product backlog items for the sprint, and an executable plan to deliver increments.
The Kanban framework helps users implement Agile and DevOps software development methodologies thanks to the visual representation of work items in the world-famous Kanban board. The real-time and strong communication qualities of Kanban make it the de facto framework for Agile as it adds a more continuous and fluid style of work aimed at maximizing efficiency.
Kanban teams are heavily focused on reducing the time spent on user stories by using the Kanban board where accountability is higher and it’s easier to identify the areas that can be improved to create a more streamlined workflow.
Kanban represents work items in cards which can be organized so they flow from one stage to the next with ease. These stage columns can be customized so they are meaningful for the team using the framework. Kanban helps keep teams nimble and able to embrace change by adding new work items to the backlog and existing cards to the workflow, blocking and removing unnecessary cards based on prioritization needs. In Kanban, it’s all about flexibility.
LEAN Software Development
LEAN software development is based off of Toyota’s concept to reduce waste in manufacturing, an approach that revolutionized assembly lines and other production-type work, including software development. In a lean software development environment, there’s no room for unnecessary items that add no value to the end software product, which rings true for the Agile methodology as well.
Close friends by nature, both LEAN and Agile go hand in hand towards the goal of speeding up deliver and drive the highest value to the end user. In LEAN specifically, the seven principles of software development are:
- Eliminating Waste
- Fast Delivery
- Delaying Commitments
Lean makes use of resources such as inventory management, Kanban boards, and value stream mapping exercises to help optimize the time spent on the development process.
Rapid Application Development
Given the flexibility and speed needed in modern times, Rapid Application Development fits like a glove to accommodate changing design and programming demands. Rapid Application Development places the highest value of software development in prioritizing rapid prototyping and quick feedback across the development and testing cycles.
By using Rapid Application Development, development teams can perform multiple software iterations quickly without having to use a separate development schedule from scratch every time. The Rapid Application Development methodology is also a stark contrast from the Waterfall methodology for software development where change is difficult to embrace and apply after software has been tested.
Choosing right methodology in software development
Feature Driven Development
Feature-driven development, or FDD for short, is inherently incremental and iterative that closely abides to Agile principles as a vehicle to develop high-level features, domain, and scope to develop and test specific requirements. The FDD process spans across five basic stages which include overall model development, feature list building, feature planning, feature design, and feature build.
At the heart of the FDD are features, where processes are short, iterative, quality-focused, compatible with large projects, accurate, and Agile-based. In FDD, each project is developed systematically with simple yet robust process elements that allow teams to avoid errors and increase functionality quickly.
Domain Driven Design
Domain Driven Design (DDD) is a modular framework that helps teams implement lean software development principles by creating a common model to talk about requirements, data entities, and process models. The DDD software development framework has a rich understanding of processes and rules as it’s centered around programming a domain model.
Back in 2003, Eric Evans first introduced the concept of DDD, highlighting how the framework is well suited for complex domains where typically messy logic must be organized.
Model Driven Development
Model-Driven Development (MDD) is a methodology that helps teams build complex applications by using simplified abstractions of pre-built components. MDD is an important principle of low-code development as it bridges the gap between IT and business domain experts by leveraging abstraction and automation.
Under the MDD format, teams and write and implement software quickly while keeping costs low as it focuses on building a software model of how the software system will work before any code is written. One of the structural benefits of MDD is the simplicity it offers to the engineering processes where teams can collaboratively build software models with ease, as well as test, rebuild, and redeploy as needed.
Behavior Driven Development
Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) synthesizes and defines practices from test-driven development, which we’ll cover next. In BDD, developers can use examples written in universal languages to show behaviors or ways users will interact with the product. Next, those examples serve as the base for automated tests to validate functionality and ensure the system works precisely and as intended.
The BDD methodology works in small, rapid iterations that helps bridge the gap between different parties involved in the software development effort by ensuring teams remain focused on the actual needs of the project while meeting user requirements.
Test Driven Development
Test-Driven Development (TDD) is a software development methodology in which tests are written before code implementation thanks to its test-first approach based on repetition and short development cycles. In TDD environments, developers write a test for each new feature before any actual production code is written. Once the first test case fails, developers will write code based on functionality that passed the test from that initial test. Developers can refactor the code until it passes all the tests.
Some favor the TDD methodology because of the outstanding quality results it yields. As a result of its quality-based deliverables, TDD advocates call for cost optimization and code simplification as two key benefits the methodology because debugging costs are minimized and time investments are lower when it comes to aligning requirements to tests.
How to use programming paradigms and methodologies in software development together?
Based on their features, these are the most prominent programming paradigms:
- Object-oriented programming. Group code based on the state they operate on.
- Functional programming. Declare an intended result as the value of a series of functions.
- Declarative programming. Define the properties needed to achieve the desired goal, but not how it’s computed.
- Imperative programming. Define how to alter the state of a machine.
- Procedural programming. Group code based on the procedure they belong to.
- Logical programming. Express facts and rules as clauses to be read declaratively as logical implications.
- Mathematical programming. Given a specific criteria, results are optimal based on a range of choices.
- Reactive programming. Declare the desired output with data streams and change propagation.
In practice, programming languages are capable of supporting multiple programming paradigms. As a result, programmers can think about software programs as sets of processes that act on shared data structures. Similar to how some engineering teams prefer a specific software development methodology, programmers also favor specific programming languages and programming paradigms. Some languages are designed to support a specific paradigm, for example, Haskell which supports functional programming. Other languages support several paradigms, like Python, Ruby, and C++.
The world is not what it was three years ago. The demand for new software solutions or to expand current software solutions is increasing at an unprecedented rate, and given the shortage of qualified software developers, the quest to meet the demand is not so easy. It’s important for developers to stay on top of the latest trends and developments to leverage the smartest and quickest means to build software.
Companies are faced with having to meet bold and big software demands at break-neck speed, so it’s recommended that the right methodology of software development is selected from the get-go to ensure a smooth, fast-paced, and value-driven process.
Svitla Systems is a complete software development and managed services provider that can take your projects from start to finish, always involved and engaged in the way that suits your unique business needs best. With a heavy emphasis on Agile methodologies, Svitla teams are also well-versed in Rapid Application Development, Feature-Driven Development, Scrum, Kanban, and many more, all with the goal of ensuring quality and value are at the center of your project, always with speed as a common denominator.
To learn more about how Svitla Systems can improve your software development projects and take them to the next level, reach out to our representatives so we can start mapping out your next project.
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