Wayne Sturman Describes Six Popular Software Development Models in Use Today

A software development model is a methodology or process that guides the growth of a project. Each model achieves different required objectives, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Software developers sometimes combine aspects of other methods to properly create the programs their clients or companies need.

The software development model has a great deal of influence on the type of testing that developers order. Here are six primary models for software development: waterfall model, agile model, spiral model, prototype model, iterative model, and the V Model.

In this article, Wayne Sturman, a software engineer from New York, New York, will explain how each model is used, how it is best used, and how it affects the testing methods necessary for each new piece of software.

Based in New York, Wayne Sturman Describes Six Software Development Models

1. Waterfall Model

The Waterfall Model is the oldest form of software process. It can also be called the linear-sequential life cycle model. The primary feature of the Waterfall Model is that while using this model, each phase of software development must be complete before the company starts the next phase. This model is good for small projects where there is a lower level of uncertainty about their development.

The first step in the Waterfall Model is requirement gathering and analysis. The developers need to discover what people want from the software and what background it needs to succeed. Next comes system design, followed by implementation. Testing is the next step, followed by deployment. Finally, the maintenance phase begins.

The Waterfall Model largely dropped out of use after 2000, replaced by newer techniques like Iterative Models and Agile Methodology. Saving all of the testings for the end of the process is not efficient anymore and can cause major problems for developers down the line.

2. Agile Model

The Agile Model is a type of Incremental model. Using this model, the software is developed in small and rapid-cycling increments. This means that software is released with small updates that are thoroughly tested. This model works well when there is a great deal of time pressure.

This model creates high customer satisfaction because the software is continually being developed and made more useful. The testing model involves more interaction between testers, customers, and developers. Since the software is constantly being refreshed, programmers can adapt to rapid changes in requirements.

The most well-known development life cycle model under Agile Methodology is called Extreme Programming or XP. This method emphasizes teamwork and simple solutions.

3. Spiral Model

The Spiral Model is an incremental model like the Agile Model, but it is more concerned with risk analysis. In the spiral model, there are four phases: Planning, Risk Analysis, Engineering, and Evaluation. These four phases are undertaken in many cycles, called spirals. In the planning phase of the baseline spiral, the requirements are put together and the risk assessed. Each subsequent cycle builds on the ones before it.

In the Planning phase, all requirements must be gathered. These can include business requirement specifications and system requirement specifications.

When Risk Analysis occurs, the team identifies possible risks and creates alternate solutions. Prototypes are produced at the end of this phase.

The Engineering phase involves the development of the software. There is also time for testing at the end of this phase.

Next, the project moves to the Evaluation phase. The customer looks at the software and lets the team know whether it is good enough or whether it needs to be taken for another cycle in the Spiral Model. Most projects go through many cycles before they are considered complete.

4. Prototype Model

The core concept of the Prototype Model is that a temporary prototype is built early in the process. This can enable more rapid development of the software and better feedback from the customer. It is especially helpful when there is no model to work from and no frame of reference for the customer. It is ideal for large, complicated systems.

Within the Prototype Model, as with other models, requirements are gathered first. Second, there comes a quick design period and the prototype. Then, the customer examines the prototype and offers suggestions on how to improve it. The cycle frequently goes back to the design process, back through prototyping, and through another evaluation cycle before the final product is achieved and engineered.

5. Iterative Model

The Iterative Model is set apart because it does not need a full set of specifications to begin. Development starts by implementing smaller parts of the software, which are then used to find more requirements. The process cycles many times to produce new versions of the software or iterations.

This model presents excellent user feedback since each feature is being tested step by step. Providing blueprints and sketches to the customer helps them to assist with the software’s overall direction.

6. V Model

The V Model has some commonalities with the Waterfall Model, but the V Model is more sophisticated. Each model results in sequential steps to execute processes. Both in the V Model and in the Waterfall Model must the prior steps be completed before the next phase is attempted.

Within the V Model, the product’s testing is planned simultaneously with the current phase of development. Integrating testing into each step of the process means that each step becomes more solid and that the final product will need less work than with other models.

Understanding Software Models

Software developers and testers use these six models, among others, to refine their products. Choosing between models means that developers can be flexible and discover the correct way to solve their problems.

Wayne Sturman shares this information in hopes that software end-users will better understand how their programs are created.

Wayne Sturman is a software engineer based out of New York City, New York. Rochester Institute of Technology graduate with a MSc in Software Engineering.