Software engineering is a very complicated process, but in order to simplify it, many development methods were developed. The methods are also acknowledged as Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) models / methodologies. They are very useful in spotting software development mistakes, before them being found in different phases of a project.

Here are the most popular software development models, in our opinion:

  1. Agile
  2. Lean
  3. Waterfall
  4. Iterative
  5. Prototyping
  6. Spiral
  7. DevOps

Even though each of them is defined by distinct elements, their main purpose is the same. Using these methods allows us to generate high-quality software as cost-effectively and as quickly as possible.

In order to choose the best method for your project, here is a short review of them:


The benefits of using Agile development are huge! We discussed about Agile and the themes in Principles behind the Agile Manifesto in a previous article.

As a matter of fact, the Agile methodology allows teams to identify and handle minor errors during software development. It’s important to do this before the errors turn into more severe problems. The Agile method generates constant release cycles where small incremental modifications are applied from the earlier release. Each iteration is subject to product testing.

The most popular Agile frameworks are: Scrum and Kanban. HERE you can find a comparison between them!

The value for the businesses that use Agile include:

  • Lower costs
  • Fast releases
  • Happy clients
  • Transparent communication between the team and the client
  • Competitive advantage thanks to identifying the errors in an incipient phase and solve them very quickly
  • Consistent evaluations
  • Early and consistent feedback for any phase of the project
  • Greater project transparency


The main objective of this method is to enhance the entire organization’s health. Toyota used Lean manufacturing methods and principles to reduce waste and inefficiency in the area of manufacturing.

The main Lean principles:

  • Removing waste
  • Emphasize constant learning
  • Decide as late as possible
  • Deliver as fast as possible
  • Empower the team
  • Build up integrity
  • See the whole picture

Summarily, Lean model is based on continuous improvement and respect for people, in order to maximize customer value while minimizing waste.


Represents the “youngest” of all SDLC models. In fact, this is a well-structured approach, based on a linear sequential flow: when one phase is completed, the work begins on the subsequent phase.

This model is easy for understanding and simple for managing. The biggest drawback is that if there is a delay on the first stages, the project can be extended beyond expectations. It has limited room for reviews. Plus, if some mistakes are not spotted and the phase is finished, the issues can’t be fixed until the product is in the maintenance stage.

This is the best to use for small projects were the requirements are very clear and there’s no need to change them quickly.


This method is based on repetitions. The team collaborates to implement a set of recognized software requirements without complete specifications. Testing and verification will be performed after that. The next phase: additional requirements are pinpointed. A fresh version of the software will be generated with each iteration or stage. But until the final product is completed, there is plenty of rinsing and repeating.

The advantage of the Iterative model is that it allows to have a working version of the product early in the process.


A prototype is a rapidly created version of a project to see if the client is satisfied with it. In essence, the participation of the customer in the development process improves the probability of early acceptance of the final product.

Prototyping is effective and helpful when the customer or developer are not very sure about a design’s feasibility, product specifications, algorithms, business rules, etc. 


This one is one of the SDLC methods with the most flexibility. There are 4 phases to go through:

  1. planning
  2. risk analysis
  3. engineering
  4. evaluation

The phases are repeated over and over in a spiral, making space for multiple rounds of improvement.

The model of the Spiral is used primarily for big projects. It enables development teams to soon incorporate user feedback and produce an extremely customized product. An important benefit of this SDLC model is the way risk management is handled. Each iteration starts after a drastic examination of potential risks and thinking about how to duck or reduce them.


Actually, the DevOps method arose from two trends: the application of Agile and Lean methodologies.

In a DevOps model, the developers and operations work tightly together in order to accelerate innovation and deliver high-quality and more effective software products and capabilities. Product updates are very frequent. Summarily, discipline, ongoing feedback and process improvement are the key elements here.

At WebChain, we use a number of Software Development Life Cycle methods, depending on the projects. Most our projects need to be performed by means of more flexible models such as Agile, for an optimal software development process.

Start delivering quality software on time.