What are software development methodologies?

AffiliatePal is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.



Software development methodologies are structured approaches or frameworks that guide the process of developing software applications. These methodologies provide a set of principles, practices, and techniques to effectively manage and execute software development projects. They help teams streamline their processes, improve collaboration, and deliver high-quality software products within the specified time and budget constraints.

Waterfall Methodology

One of the most traditional software development methodologies is the Waterfall methodology. It follows a linear sequential approach, where each phase of the software development life cycle (SDLC) is completed before moving on to the next. The phases typically include requirements gathering, system design, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance. The Waterfall methodology is suitable for projects with well-defined and stable requirements, where changes are unlikely to occur.

Agile Methodology

Agile methodologies, on the other hand, are iterative and incremental in nature. They focus on adaptive planning, flexibility, and continuous improvement. Agile methodologies emphasize collaboration, customer involvement, and the delivery of working software in short iterations called sprints. Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming (XP) are some popular Agile methodologies. Agile methodologies are well-suited for projects with evolving requirements, where frequent feedback and adaptability are crucial.

Scrum Methodology

Scrum is an Agile methodology that follows a framework of roles, events, artifacts, and rules. It emphasizes self-organization, collaboration, and iterative development. The Scrum team consists of a Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team. The Product Owner represents the stakeholders and manages the product backlog, while the Scrum Master facilitates the Scrum events and ensures adherence to Scrum principles. The Development Team is responsible for delivering the product increment. Scrum events include Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective.

Kanban Methodology

Kanban is another Agile methodology that focuses on visualizing work, limiting work in progress, and optimizing flow. It uses a Kanban board to visualize the workflow, with columns representing different stages of work. Each work item is represented by a card, and as work progresses, the cards move across the board. Kanban emphasizes continuous delivery and encourages teams to limit the number of work items in progress to avoid bottlenecks. It provides a flexible approach that allows teams to adapt to changes quickly.

Extreme Programming (XP) Methodology

Extreme Programming (XP) is an Agile methodology that emphasizes close collaboration between developers and customers. It promotes frequent communication, simplicity, and high-quality code. XP incorporates practices such as Test-Driven Development (TDD), pair programming, continuous integration, and refactoring. Test-Driven Development involves writing tests before writing the actual code, ensuring that the code meets the specified requirements. Pair programming encourages two developers to work together on the same code, promoting knowledge sharing and code quality.


Software development methodologies play a crucial role in guiding and managing the software development process. The choice of methodology depends on various factors such as project requirements, team size, customer involvement, and flexibility needs. Waterfall methodology is suitable for projects with stable requirements, while Agile methodologies like Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming are better suited for projects with evolving requirements and the need for adaptability. By adopting the right methodology, software development teams can improve collaboration, efficiency, and ultimately deliver successful software products.


– Project Management Institute. (2017). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition. Project Management Institute.
– Schwaber, K., & Sutherland, J. (2020). The Scrum Guide™. Scrum.org.
– Anderson, D. J. (2010). Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business. Blue Hole Press.
– Beck, K., Beedle, M., van Bennekum, A., Cockburn, A., Cunningham, W., Fowler, M., … & Kern, J. (2001). Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Agile Alliance.