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Are you tired of feeling lost in the complex world of software development?

With new development models emerging constantly, staying up-to-date and navigating the world of software development can be overwhelming.

And with no understanding of the different agile software development models, it is challenging to determine the right approach for your specific needs.

But don’t worry. We have got you covered with our blog on Understanding Different Software Development Models to gain the knowledge and confidence to select the right approach for your team.

Let’s begin!

Types of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Models

In software development, various models guide the process from conception to deployment. Every model provides a different method for overseeing the development life cycle. Let’s examine types of software development models one by one:

Software Development Models

The Waterfall Model

The method proceeds in a flow-through each stage of development (analysis, design, coding, testing, and deployment). Every step is strictly documented and has specific deliverables. Before the previous step is finished, the next one cannot begin.

Waterfall Model

For example, software requirements cannot be reevaluated at a later stage of development. Additionally, software can only be seen or tested at the end of development, increasing project risk and yielding unpredictable results. Testing is often hurried as errors are expensive to fix. 

Pros of Waterfall Model

  • The waterfall approach is simple to use, administer, and comprehend.
  • Test cases are more explicit and in-depth.
  • Comparatively, the Waterfall software process approach makes task organization easier.

Cons of Waterfall Model

  • Adapting the waterfall model to changes is difficult.
  • This strategy is only recommended if your project is simple, takes longer, or is more extensive.
  • It gets difficult to track development inside the waterfall model’s phases.

When to use it?

When there are no clear criteria for the project, you have to use the waterfall methodology. It implies that the requirements should stay the same throughout the development cycle.

Furthermore, the waterfall software development model performs best when there is little project risk and a clear understanding of the technological stack utilized in software development.

Spiral Model

The Spiral model emphasizes careful evaluation of risks. Therefore, to fully profit from the approach, you must involve individuals with a good history in risk assessment.

Spiral Model

Usually lasting six months, a Spiral iteration begins with four key tasks: careful planning, risk assessment, developing prototypes, and assessing the previously delivered portion.

Project timelines are significantly extended by recurring spiral cycles. This is the model under which intense client involvement is shown. They can participate in each cycle’s evaluation and exploration phases. The customer’s changes are not acceptable at this point of development.

Pros of Spiral Model

  • The model has a high degree of approval and control over paperwork.
  • The developers are free to add further features even in the later phases.
  • Early in the software development life cycle, the product is developed.

Cons of Spiral Model

  • Expensive; unsuitable for smaller, less funded projects.
  • The companies would need specialized business knowledge to do competent risk assessments.
  • An accurate risk analysis is crucial to the software project’s overall success.

When to use it?

The spiral software development cycle models must be used when project costs and risk assessment are critical.  The spiral model is also fantastic if you use a new product line and considerable modifications are anticipated.

Additionally, the approach is recommended for medium-high-risk projects.


The V-model is another linear model with matching testing activities for each level. Although this workflow structure suggests excellent quality control, it also makes the V-model one of the priciest and most time-consuming models.

V Model

Furthermore, modifications made during development are still costly and challenging to execute even though problems in requirements specifications, code, and architecture can be found early on. All requirements are collected at the outset and are non-changeable, similar to the Waterfall scenario. 

Pros of V-Model

  • Proactive defect tracking in the model aids in the early detection of issues. It is simple to operate.
  • The planning and designing of the tests are done well before the start of the coding process.
  • It has demonstrated a better success rate compared to the waterfall model.

Cons of V-Model

  • The process of this software development model is rigorous.
  • The test documentation and other necessary paperwork must be updated if anything changes.
  • The program has yet to be generated in early iterations.

When to use it?

The ideal model for small to medium-sized software development projects is V-shaped. Also, it functions best when the project’s requirements are well-defined as it expands on the waterfall model. A business with sufficient technical resources and competent developers should choose the V-shaped model.

The Rational Unified Process (RUP)

The Rational Unified Process (RUP) combines iterative and linear frameworks. The software development process is broken down into four parts by the model: conception, elaboration, construction, and transition. 

The Rational Unified Process

Generally, multiple iterations are completed for every phase except Inception. All fundamental development process tasks (such as requirements, design, etc.) are completed concurrently but at varying intensities throughout these four RUP phases.

RUP facilitates the development of flexible and stable solutions, but it still needs to be faster and more flexible than the pure Agile group (Scrum, Kanban, XP, etc.). The duration of iterations may change depending on the project’s requirements, the level of client interaction, and the amount of documentation.

Pros of RUP

  • It emphasizes the significance of precise and up-to-date documentation.
  • Making adjustments following the requirements is simpler.
  • Integration occurs throughout the software development process and is simple.

Cons of RUP

  • Experts only can operate this model at its best.
  • The process of development is very intricate.
  • Component reuse is not possible.

When to use it?

RUP is widely utilized in complex, high-risk projects. In addition, the Rational Unified Process should be your preferred SDLC model if you want a quicker development process and high-quality software.

Incremental and Iterative Model

software development models

The incremental model divides the entire system’s functionality into manageable phases, as the name implies. Following the division, each of those little phases is given swiftly, one after the other.

Therefore, making little to no changes to the already introduced modules is preferable when adding new ones to the iterations.

The incremental software development approach has two possible development processes: sequential and parallel.

However, the sequential technique might become expensive and time-consuming with numerous repeated cycles. On the other hand, the parallel technique increases the delivery speed.

Pros of Incremental and Iterative Model

  • It is less expensive and more flexible to alter the requirements and scope of the software process model.
  • The model is more straightforward to test and reduces the initial delivery cost.
  • It is simpler for the developers to control risks and debug.
  • The client can react to each stage or achievement in this paradigm.

Cons of Incremental and Iterative Model

  • Defining the system in detail is necessary before disassembling and building it piecemeal.
  • It is more expensive than the waterfall model.
  • It takes careful planning and design.

When to use it?

The incremental model works best when most project requirements are known and the remaining specifics are expected to change over time.

The total strategy may also work well if you want the product to be early in the market and incorporate innovative technologies. Additionally, you should choose the model if the project involves any high-risk features or aims.

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Rapid Action Development Model

software development models

The Rapid Action Development (RAD) methodology concentrates on obtaining requirements through unofficial communication, software component reuse, etc. Prototyping and iterative development with extensive, targeted planning are the foundation of the concept.

Pros of RAD

  • Increased capacity for component reuse
  • Encourages client feedback
  • Shortens the total time needed to build software
  • There are no problems with the integration

Cons of RAD

  • Largely reliant on modeling abilities.
  • Realizing the business requirements requires both individual and team effort.
  • “Automated cost” generation and modeling come at a very high cost.
  • RAD is capable of creating modular systems.

When to use it?

The RAD approach is strongly advised for software indicated by UI-driven requirements. Additionally, the RAD approach should be applied when creating a system that may be modified in two to three months.

The Agile Group

Companies committed to a comprehensive digital revolution ultimately implement and cultivate agile methodologies inside their divisions to provide superior products and services at reduced expenses and faster turnaround times.

The agile software development methodology aims to produce working software systems quickly. To increase customer satisfaction, agile software development methodologies, in particular, strive to provide small, functional software quickly.

These techniques use cooperation and adaptable approaches to promote continual improvement. Agile Methodologies can be further divided into other categories, including:



Projects that use this methodology prioritize the knowledge, expertise, and skills that members of the development team bring to the table while solving problems.

Sprints, which are brief cycles of project work that are prioritized and comparatively manageable, make it simple to track advancement.

This approach would be more advantageous for more significant ventures than other software development approaches because developers feel more committed to the project’s objectives and responsible for its success.

Pros of Scrum

  • Scrum embraces change and allows for flexibility during the development process.
  • It accommodates evolving requirements and priorities, making it well-suited for dynamic projects.
  • Scrum promotes transparency within the development team and stakeholders.
  • Daily stand-up meetings, sprint reviews, and detailed documentation ensure everyone knows project’s progress.

Cons of Scrum

  • Inaccurate estimations may lead to scope creep or incomplete deliverables within a sprint.
  • Success in Scrum heavily relies on effective collaboration within the team.
  • If communication breaks down or team members lack commitment, it can hinder the progress and success of the project.
  • Scrum may exhibit limited predictability, especially in the early stages of a project.
When to use it?

This strategy is employed when quick outcomes are necessary. When the responsibilities aren’t clearly defined and there is a lot of uncertainty and when a customer asks for a highly tailored strategy to be used in developing a specific product.


Kanban Board

Kanban is a popular framework for agile and DevOps software development. It requires full work transparency and real-time capacity communication. Kanban is a versatile method of visual work management that adapts to the team’s changing needs.

It facilitates the visual representation of work, making it easier to comprehend, share, and notify interested parties. As a result, the service can complete the assignment for the client.

Pros of Kanban

  • Kanban offers flexibility by making it simple for teams to adjust to shifting demands and priorities. 
  • Kanban boards’ visual format improves transparency and makes it simple for team members to comprehend the status of activities.
  • Pull-based systems, such as those promoted by Kanban, reduce overloading by pulling work when there is capacity.

Cons of Kanban

  • Flexibility in Kanban may result in less detailed planning, making project forecasting difficult.
  • Kanban only provides certain ceremonies for ongoing improvement, even if it can identify bottlenecks.
  • The workflow may become chaotic without a disciplined crew, reducing overall productivity.
When to use it?

When it’s time to eliminate pointless procedures and methods and a model that facilitates a seamless development process is required. When you want the system to be improved continuously.

Extreme Programming (XP)

software development models

Experts can make changes using the Extreme Programming technique even after the iteration has begun. It usually takes one to two weeks to complete one iteration.

The Extreme Programming (XP) approach is an agile development methodology that aims to provide efficiency, flexibility, and control in the development and management of projects. Its foundation is feedback, communication, and the repurposing of generated code.

Pros of XP

  • Continuous testing and feedback ensure that problems are found early on in the development process and fixed quickly.
  • When customers are actively involved in the development process, teamwork is improved.
  • XP encourages flexibility and adaptability by permitting changes even toward the end of the development cycle.

Cons for XP

  • XP is resource-intensive and requires a great deal of dedication from both clients and developers.
  • Teams unfamiliar with XP’s methods and ideas may need to go through a considerable learning curve when implementing it.
  • XP might not be the best option for large-scale projects or those requiring documentation.
When to use it?

There is constant communication between the development team and the client and no set schedule of events, so planning is flexible. Responding quickly is necessary due to continuous change, and functional software is more important than any other type of documentation.

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How to Choose the Best Software Development Model?

Choosing the right software development model is a crucial factor that significantly impacts the outcome of a project. Here are some points to consider before making the decision: 

software development models

Understand Project Requirements: Knowing the project’s needs in great detail is the first step in selecting the optimal agile software development model approach. It involves exploring the project’s details, such as its scope, complexity, and anticipated results.

The development team can determine the best strategy by understanding the nuances of what needs to be built.

For example, a Waterfall approach, where each step is explicitly defined, might work effectively for projects with steady and well-defined needs. However, an Agile software development outsourcing models may be more advantageous for highly dynamic projects because it allows flexibility as requirements change. 

Evaluate Team Expertise: Selecting the best software development cycle models depends critically on the knowledge and abilities of the development team.

Different software development models may require different skill sets and levels of experience. Finding the model that best fits the team’s capabilities can be accomplished by assessing the team’s strengths and shortcomings.

An Agile environment can be an excellent fit for a team with much experience with iterative development and constant collaboration.

On the other side, a Waterfall or V-model may work well for a team that values meticulous planning and organized procedures.

Consider Project Type: Examining the project type in detail is crucial in selecting the optimal software development model. Every software development model has advantages and disadvantages. Thus, knowing the project’s specifics is essential to make an informed choice. 

Given its sequential and linear approach, the Waterfall model might be appropriate for projects with well-defined and predictable requirements. However, more dynamic projects with changing requirements could benefit from iterative models or agile processes.

Assess Flexibility Needs: Assessing the flexibility needs of a project is a critical step in choosing the suitable software development cycle models. Flexibility is essential when needs are subject to change or when a dynamic development approach is required. 

Agile software development models are renowned for their flexibility, making them ideal for projects that need to be adjusted often in response to changing conditions or input from stakeholders. A crucial factor to consider is the capacity to adapt to changes at various phases of development. 

Conversely, software development models that provide less flexibility, like the Waterfall approach, may work well for projects with more fixed and inflexible criteria. 

Risk Tolerance: When selecting the most suitable software development model, assessing the project’s risk tolerance is imperative. There are intrinsic differences in risk across different development strategies.

For example, projects with well-defined and stable needs benefit more from the sequential and linear approach of the Waterfall model, which lowers the possibility of unforeseen changes.

On the other hand, Agile methods are better suited to manage projects whose needs may change over time due to their iterative and flexible character. 

Timeframe and Deadlines: When selecting a software development model, the project’s timeline and deadlines are crucial. The effects of various models on delivery schedules and project timelines differ.

Projects with non-negotiable deadlines, like those imposed by laws or industry expectations, could benefit more from a methodology like the Waterfall model that provides careful planning and well-defined stages.

On the other hand, Agile models offer flexibility in accommodating evolving requirements due to their incremental and iterative methodology, yet their timeliness may be more flexible. 

Client Involvement: Selecting the best software development model for a project depends critically on the client’s involvement. The development model that is selected can be greatly influenced by the degree of cooperation and involvement that the clients want.

For instance, Agile approaches strongly emphasize iterative development and ongoing client feedback, making them perfect for projects where clients wish to be actively involved from the beginning to the end.

However, more conventional models like Waterfall could require fewer client meetings. This makes them appropriate for projects where clients want a detailed strategy and minimal engagement during the development stages.

Budget and Resource Constraints: Selecting the best software development outsourcing  model depends on financial and resource limitations. The costs and resource needs of various models differ.

Agile models benefit projects with set budgets and restricted resources since they provide incremental development, enabling teams to select features according to available resources.

On the other hand, traditional models such as the Waterfall technique, which involve extensive planning upfront and can be easier to manage within a set budget, may be more appropriate if a robust budget and a well-defined scope exist.

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How can PixelCrayons Help with Software Development Models?

PixelCrayons can provide valuable assistance with software development models by leveraging their expertise in custom software development services. Our experienced team understands the nuances of different development models.

They work closely with clients to analyze project requirements, assess the scope and complexity, and recommend the most suitable development model based on the project’s specific needs.

We ensure that the chosen model aligns with the software development for startup client’s goals, timelines, and resource constraints, optimizing the development process for success.

Connect with us for our proficiency in diverse development models for effective and efficient software development solutions. 

Key Takeaways

Now that you have understood every standard software development methodology to engage with a team of software engineers, choosing and contacting a reputable technology partner with reliable software development processes is time.

It is highly recommended that you go through a software development guide in its entirety to discuss your business ideas from a technical standpoint.

Moreover, by having a basic understanding of the subject, you will be better able to understand developers’ language, making it more meaningful and logical.

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