Agile Development

Understanding Software Development Models





Agile Development


Understanding Software Development Models

Published: 2023/04/14

8 min read

Software development models empower a development process with an essential direction and framework. These models specify the steps, tasks, and deliverables needed to create software applications, ensuring that solutions are created effectively and on time. Software development models come in various forms, each with benefits and drawbacks.  

With that said, what are the top software development models? Certainly, the most popular models are the Waterfall, V-model, Agile, and Spiral models. But there are many other reliable models. Given the numerous choices, it’s important to select the best model for the job by carefully considering the unique needs and specifications required. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the complexities of well-known software development models, examine the pros and cons of each, and explain how to leverage software product engineering services. 

Types of Software Development Models 

Software development process models, also known as SDLC models, are vital to the successful execution of any software development project. These models act as frameworks that guide software developers through the entire software development life cycle, from initial planning to final product delivery. This information is essential when choosing a dedicated development team. 


The waterfall software development model is a linear and sequential approach — each phase, from requirement gathering to deployment, must be completed before moving on to the next. Moreover, the waterfall development methodology involves everything from planning to design, implementation, testing, and maintenance phases. Waterfall is a software development life cycle model used for large-scale projects with well-defined and stable requirements. The waterfall model of a software development life cycle is extremely useful. However, considering the waterfall model advantages and disadvantages are important before starting a software development process. 


  • Simple to use and comprehend 
  • Clearly defined framework with logical steps 
  • Straightforward explanation of what is anticipated at each step 
  • Excellent for little tasks with an established scope 


  • Not good for large projects or programs with unclear requirements  
  • Limited room for changes and comments 
  • If not adequately documented, there is a high risk of failure 
  • A lack of adaptability and freedom 

The waterfall model for software development is simple, with defined steps, but may only work for some projects or those that do not require flexibility. So, for sucessful delivery, consider project constraints before choosing this development model. 


The V-model, a variant of the Waterfall model, emphasizes the importance of testing and verification throughout the development process.The V-model software development approach promotes a structured and parallel testing approach to development. Testing and validation are essential throughout the development process. The V-model,widely used in the industry due to its straightforward and organized approach, is known for its clear definition of testing activities for each phase and its ability to promote early detection and resolution of defects. 


  • Easy to understand and use 
  • Clearly defines testing activities for each phase 
  • Promotes early detection and resolution of defects 
  • Suitable for small to medium-sized projects 


  • Not suitable for large projects or projects with evolving requirements 
  • Limited scope for feedback and changes 
  • High risk of failure if requirements need to be properly documented 
  • Lack of flexibility and adaptability 

The V-model is good for small to medium projects but not for changing requirements. It catches defects early, but lacks flexibility, and does not facilitate feedback. Additionally, it may fail if requirements aren’t well documented. When deploying it, project constraints must be considered carefully for successful delivery. 

Spiral model

The spiral software development model is an iterative approach that prioritizes flexibility, risk management and continuous improvement. It involves numerous iterations of planning, risk evaluation, development, and refining the design and prototype based on stakeholder feedback.  

The spiral model of software development is a well-liked methodology that provides flexibility and risk control, which is why it is commonly used for large-scale projects with ambiguous requirements. It’s perfect for big, complicated tasks but calls for highly qualified staff and can be costly and time-consuming.  


  • Adaptable and flexible to shifting demands  
  • The approach includes risk management as a core component 
  • Gives development a structured strategy 
  • Suitable for substantial and intricate tasks 


  • Highly-qualified people are needed to handle its complexity 
  • Time-consuming and expensive 
  • Not appropriate for small, fixed-scope tasks 
  • Can be challenging to comprehend and use 

The spiral model is an effective iterative approach that prioritizes flexibility and risk management. It’s ideal for large projects with ambiguous requirements but needs highly qualified staff and may be costly and time-consuming. It’s more suitable for small fixed-scope tasks and can be challenging.  

Agile model

An Agile life cycle model is an iterative and collaborative approach that prioritizes flexibility and adaptability. It works closely with customers and stakeholders to identify and deliver important features in short sprints, while welcoming changes in requirements. An Agile software development model emphasizes collaboration, rapid iteration, and high-quality software to meet evolving customer needs. It involves small, cross-functional teams who produce usable software in quick, incremental releases and requires expertise and modifications to project management procedures. Agile suits projects with changing requirements that need flexibility. 


  • Highly adaptable and flexible 
  • Continuous delivery of working software 
  • Focuses on customer satisfaction and value 
  • Promotes collaboration and communication between teams 


  • Requires strong collaboration and communication between development teams and stakeholders 
  • Not suitable for large and complex projects 
  • Requires significant changes in project management processes 
  • Demands a high level of skill and experience in Agile methodology 

Agile emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and rapid iteration to deliver high-quality software that meets customers’ evolving needs. It’s highly adaptable, continuously delivering working software, promoting team collaboration and customer satisfaction. However, it requires constant communication with stakeholders, isn’t suitable for large and complex projects, and requires skill and experience. Consider the pros and cons before adopting it to ensure alignment with a project’s goals. Agile is a powerful methodology for teams who value flexibility and adaptability in software development. 

Read also: Agile software development outsourcing

RAD model

The Rapid Application Development (RAD) model is a variation of the Agile model that focuses on rapid prototyping and quick iterations. The RAD model involves a small, cross-functional team working closely with customers to rapidly prototype and test new software features. This model suits projects with tight deadlines or dynamically changing requirements. The Model RAD methodology is a software development approach known for rapid development, adaptability, and collaboration. It suits small to medium-sized projects but requires skill and careful management. However, if properly managed, it can be better for large, complex projects but may lead to quality issues


  • Swift development and delivery of software 
  • Highly adaptive and flexible 
  • Promotes collaboration and communication between teams 
  • Suitable for small to medium-sized projects 


  • Requires a high level of skill and experience in rapid development 
  • Not suitable for large and complex projects 
  • Requires careful planning and management 
  • Can lead to quality issues if not properly managed 

The RAD model is a suitable software development approach for small to medium-sized projects with tight deadlines or rapidly changing requirements. It emphasizes rapid prototyping, adaptability, and collaboration. Since it requires careful planning and management, quality issues may arise if not properly managed. RAD’s advantages include fast software development and delivery, high flexibility and adaptability, along with team collaboration and communication promotion. Its disadvantages include the need for a high level of skill and experience in rapid development, unsuitability for large and complex projects, and the requirement for careful planning and management. 

DevOps model

The DevOps model is a collaborative approach that integrates software development and IT operations into a seamless process. The DevOps model strongly emphasizes automation and continuous delivery, which enables teams to quickly and efficiently deploy new software features. The model also encourages cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing, with developers and operations teams working closely to build and maintain software systems. It also focuses on the importance of monitoring and feedback, allowing teams to improve the software system’s performance and promotes the use of monitoring tools and metrics to identify potential issues and provide insights about the steps of software development. It also promotes the use of Agile practices, such as iterative development and continuous integration, to ensure that software is delivered quickly and reliably. 


  • Provides a structured approach to development 
  • Encourages automation and continuous delivery 
  • Promotes collaboration and communication between teams 
  • Focuses on customer satisfaction and value 


  • Not suitable for all types of projects, especially extensive and complex ones 
  • Limited scope for feedback and changes 
  • Requires a high level of expertise and experience 
  • High risk of failure if requirements are not properly documented 

With the increasing demand for rapid software delivery, the DevOps model has gained popularity among organizations looking to improve their software development and delivery processes. It’s best suited for smaller, less complex projects and requires high expertise. However, if requirements are not properly documented, there is a high risk of failure. 

Incremental Model

The incremental model involves breaking the software development process into smaller, more manageable chunks, each delivering a functional increment of the software. This approach is often used for large and complex projects where requirements must be clearly defined and significant uncertainty exists. The incremental development model is designed to break down a complex project into smaller, more manageable pieces – each developed and tested in stages.  


  • Suitable for large and complex projects 
  • Enables early and continuous feedback 
  • Lower risk of project failure due to incremental releases 
  • Provides a flexible and adaptable approach to development 


  • Requires careful planning and management 
  • Demands high levels of collaboration and communication 
  • Needs to be improved to manage changes in project requirements 
  • Costly and time-consuming 

The Incremental model is a popular software development approach that offers several benefits for large and complex projects. It allows for early and continuous feedback, reduces the risk of project failure, and provides a flexible and adaptable approach to development. However, it requires careful planning and management and strong collaboration and communication between development teams. While the incremental model may be costly and time-consuming, its advantages make it practical for certain software development projects. 

Choosing the Right Software Development Model: Learn More About Software Mind’s Services 

What, then, is the best software development model? Each model has strengths and weaknesses, so considering project requirements, and team expertise, is important when choosing the best fit. Agile models suit projects with changing requirements and collaboration, while Waterfall models are best for well-defined projects. Spiral models are ideal for complex projects with risk management needs. Adjust the model throughout a project to align with your timeline, budget, etc. Choosing the appropriate model for each project is essential and should factor in its size, complexity and requirements. 

Are you looking to adopt the right software development model but still unsure how to reduce software development costs? Choosing the right software development model is crucial for project success. If you need help selecting the right software development model for your project, contact Software Mind experts by using the form below.

About the authorSoftware Mind

Software Mind provides companies with autonomous development teams who manage software life cycles from ideation to release and beyond. For over 20 years we’ve been enriching organizations with the talent they need to boost scalability, drive dynamic growth and bring disruptive ideas to life. Our top-notch engineering teams combine ownership with leading technologies, including cloud, AI, data science and embedded software to accelerate digital transformations and boost software delivery. A culture that embraces openness, craves more and acts with respect enables our bold and passionate people to create evolutive solutions that support scale-ups, unicorns and enterprise-level companies around the world. 

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