What is software development lifecycle and best software development methodologies

Software development lifecycle is the term that seems quite familiar to most developers, especially project managers. However, in fact, maybe many people still don’t understand its essence and each step in this lifecycle. In this blog, ArrowHiTech will make this topic clearer for you. In addition to the software development lifecycle, we also review the Top best software development methodologies you should know to apply to develop your products. Hence, let’s explore them right now! 

What does the software development lifecycle mean?

The process from idea to the first launch day of every piece of software is the software development lifecycle, or SDLC for short. Simply speaking, SDLC is the sequence of steps that occur throughout the development of a piece of software.

Besides, as you probably know, each phase produces an output, regardless of a concept, a document, a design, or a working piece of software all then utilized as the input for the following step. And, this will continue until you reach your goal. However, software is never truly finished. Also, even the initial version’s release is a phase in your software’s lifecycle. 

What’s more, having a clear approach and understanding your development milestones plays an extremely critical role for your project. Following that, you shouldn’t launch software without a clear methodology in place just even though you can. In addition, modern software development techniques make creating new tools cheaper, more efficient, and less stressful thanks to years of testing, iteration, and development.

software development methodologies

The benefits of using a formalized software development lifecycle

  • First and foremost, generated a common vocabulary  or each phase of the process
  • Secondly, defines the channels of communication and expectations for developers and project stakeholders.
  • Besides, establish clear roles and duties for everyone on your team, from developers, designers to project managers.
  • To avoid scope creep and keep the project going, each phase has an agreed-upon “definition of done”.
  • Finally, formalizes how issues, feature requests, and updates are handled.

Further, in case you don’t have a software development plan in place, it will easily result in extended timelines, poor quality, or even failure. Not only that, your software developers can face a lot of difficulties when working. And, more seriously, your project managers will have no idea how far you’ve come or whether you’re on pace to finish it on time or on budget. Hence, in order to gain the best outcomes, especially if you are a project manager, you should create a plan that includes clear stages and require your developers to follow them carefully. Now, let’s refer to our instruction of seven steps of the software development lifecycle in the section below. 

Stages of the software development lifecycle 

You must consider everything from requirements to stakeholder communication, development, and ongoing maintenance if you’re the leader of a digital project. In fact, these processes are essentially the same regardless of which software development method you employ. Nevertheless, it will be a bit different in the order and chronology. Because based on your needs, goals, and the size of your project and team, they will occur vary. 

#1. Analysis and Planning 

The first step of the SDLC is planning, which begins once a client or stakeholder requests a project. When it comes to this step, it usually entails investigating these things below:

  • Alignment: How does this project fit into the wider mission and goals of your company?
  • Availability and allocation of resources: Do you have the personnel and tools you’ll need to take on this project?
  • Project scheduling: How does this project fit into the goals and other responsibilities of your company?
  • Estimation of costs: How much will it cost?

Usually, doing well at this stage will guarantee that you get off to a good start. As a result, make sure to involve project managers, developers, operations, security, and key stakeholders from all departments that may be impacted by this project. In addition, you should have enough knowledge at the end of the planning phase to create a high-level scope of work (SOW). For more detail, it is a plan that explains what’s being developed, why, and how you envision it coming together. 

software development lifecycle

#2. Requirements – Software development lifecycle

Coming to the second stage in the process of software development lifecycle – Requirements. For more detail, in this step, you have to learn about the project’s technical requirements. In fact, this is one of the most important steps because as you know, every piece of software, whether it’s an app, a website redesign, or a new feature, must meet client’s requirements. What’s more, you should questions about the specifics of this project as you progress through the planning process and continue to fill out the SOW, such as: 

  • What problem is this supposed to solve?
  • Who will use it and why would they do so?
  • What kind of data input and output are required?
  • Will you require the use of other tools or APIs
  • What security/privacy measures will you take?

As soon as your team has the answers to these inquiries, they may begin defining technical requirements, testing terms, and selecting a technological stack. Besides, if you’re utilizing an Agile software development process, this is also where you might start sprint planning or break down major jobs into more manageable pieces.

#3. Prototyping and Design

After the requirements are in place, you must then start thinking about how this software will look and work. In fact, this isn’t about looks, it’s about utility and flow. 

Alternatively, this step may entail you creating simple wireframes to demonstrate how the product’s interactions will operate, or creating more full-fledged prototypes to test with users using a tool like Marvel or InVision. And, this will totally depend on the software development approach you’re using. Furthermore, you may determine that it requires more user feedback and quickly create a design in order to show a feature or idea for your users. In addition, this stage enables your team and your client to validate ideas and gain essential input before you implement your ideas to code, whichever you choose to approach it.

#4. Development of software

Coming to the most important and difficult stage of this SDLC process is software development. Simply speaking, this step is the time for you to construct the software according to the specifications and SOW. Besides, in this stage, everyone is on board with the planned functionality and design. More importantly, the goal here is to keep to the SOW, avoid scope creep, and produce clean, efficient software. 

#5. Testing software

You will very certainly be testing, tracking, and correcting issues while your team is developing the program. Nevertheless, as soon as you complete the features and the software is ready to go into practice, you’ll need to conduct more testing carefully. For more detail, you can give the product to a small group of beta testers or track how consumers engage with it using UX tools. The purpose of testing is to make sure that you will never provide real users with flawed software. Moreover, bugs may ruin your reputation, cost you money, and, worst of all, take up hours of development time that could have been spent on new features. So, bear in mind that testing is extremely necessary. 


#6. Implementation

Once you complete the heavy lifting as well as development, this is the right time for you to roll out your software to all your users. This means putting your code into production here, not developing and implementing a go-to-market plan. However, this procedure can be mostly automated in most firms using a continuous deployment architecture or an Application Release Automation (ARA) solution. 

#7. Maintenance and Updates software

Even if your software is widely open to users, the process of  SDLC isn’t over. Along with the customer’s requirements always constantly changing, they will definitely uncover issues, seek new features, and desire more or different functionality when they begin to use your software. What’s more, all of these requests must be added to your product backlog of tasks so that they can be prioritized and added to your product roadmap.

Now, we will show you Top best software development methodologies in the following section.

Top best software development methodologies you should know 

#1. Waterfall model – Awesome software development methodologies

The first software development methodology we believe most developers know because of its popularity. Going deeper into Waterfall, this methodology is the traditional software development method for explaining the software development process in software engineering. Besides, it clarifies the process into a linear flow with a specified sequence to let users understand that the next level is made progressive after the previous one is completed. Furthermore, this also mentions the impossibility of going back to deal with the changes.

software development methodologies waterfall

Pros of Waterfall

  • Simple to comprehend and use.
  • Because of the stiff model, it’s very easy to handle.
  • It helps you save a lot of time.
  • It’s simple to test and analyze.

Cons of Waterfall

  • Firstly, it only meets specific requirements
  • Secondly, maintenance projects are not eligible.
  • There is no way to predict a project’s conclusion.
  • Finally, it is not suitable for long-term projects.

#2. Agile – Flawless Software development methodologies

Coming to the next methodology you can’t ignore in this topic is Agile. In reality, Agile is one of the most innovative Software development methodologies . And, it is used to articulate a well-organized project management procedure that allows for repeated changes. Agile is, without a doubt, one theoretical framework for tackling a variety of software products and projects perfectly. Best of all, this also reduces risk by developing software in short time periods known as iterations, which can run anywhere from one week to one month.

software development methodologies Agile

Agile’s advantages

  • First and foremost, Agile takes a flexible strategy that responds well to change.
  • Besides, it maintains transparency by allowing direct connection.
  • Continuous quality improvement through the rapid detection and correction of flaws, as well as the early detection of expectation mismatches.

Drawbacks of Agile

  • Although its softwares are extremely well because it focus a lot on them, it is inefficient when it comes to documentation
  • There’s a chance you’ll get off track because the outcome isn’t clear.

#3. Prototype

In case you are seeking wonderful software development methodologies, you should have a glance at Prototype. First of all, Prototype is a specific software development philosophy that encourages developers to create only a sample of a resolution in order to validate its functional essence to consumers. Besides, make necessary iterations before developing the final product and doing final QA testing. Best of all, one of the most awesome things that makes Prototype become one of the most worth-using methodologies is that it can fix a number of diversifying difficulties that plague the waterfall process. 

Pros of Prototype 

  • Provides a clear picture of the software’s functional process.
  • Besides, it reduces the likelihood of a software function failing.
  • Assists in the gathering of requirements as well as the overall analysis.

Prototype’s cons

  • It can cause the possibilities of an increase in management costs
  • Excessive client participation can stymie processing.
  • The software’s workflow is harmed by too many updates.

#4. Rapid Application Development – Software development methodologies

Rapid application development is a flawless Software development methodologies created with the goal of providing good processes with the help of other software ways to produce quick outcomes. In reality, this was designed to get the most out of the development software. Without a doubt, it is intended to improve the overall usability of the software or web application project by showcasing the active user’s engagement.

Benefits of this model

  • It simplifies the entire development process.
  • Assists the customer in completing rapid reviews.
  • Customers are encouraged to provide feedback in order to enhance the service.


  • This methodology is used to work on a modularized system.
  • To tackle the intricacies, highly skilled staff are required.
  • Not appropriate to projects with a minimal budget.
software development methodologies

#5. Spiral Model

Spiral model is known as a very advanced design that was created with the aim of decreasing the project’s early hazards. As the software development process progresses, the developers begin on a smaller scale and investigate the risks involved. Moreover, the developers are also working on a strategy for iterating the spiral. In addition, the success of any Spiral Lifecycle model is dependent on project management that is constant, vigilant, and knowledgeable.

Pros of Spiral model

  • Risk factors have been significantly minimized.
  • This model is the ideal choice for huge and sophisticated projects
  • Later on, it will be possible to add more features.
  • Suitable for high-risk projects with a wide range of business requirements.

Cons of Spiral

  • Although this software development methodology comes with a lot of benefits and features, its cost is extremely expensive
  • Besides, failure to complete the risk analysis step could jeopardize the entire project.
  • It’s not a good idea to use it for low-risk tasks.
  • It’s possible that it’ll be continued and never finished.

#6. Extreme Programming – software development methodologies

Extreme Programming is one of the most outstanding Software development methodologies that is distinguished by a high level of customer involvement in the software development process. First and foremost, this model is very flexible and is primarily utilized for developing software in an unbalanced environment. Besides, it allows for more tractability in the modeling process. Best of all, the primary goal of the XP model is to lower the cost of software necessities. However, you should keep in mind that changing requirements at later phases of the project can be extremely costly. 

Advantages of Extreme Programming

  • It emphasizes consumer interaction.
  • Sets up logical plans and schedules.
  • The project’s developers are extremely dedicated to it.
  • It comes with a variety of modern methods.

Disadvantages of Extreme Programming

  • The effectiveness of a project is determined by the people engaged.
  • What’s more, frequent meetings are required for development, resulting in higher total costs.
  • It requires excessive development modifications
  • The precise possibilities and outcomes of the future are completely unknowable.

#7. Dynamic System Development model

Can’t help but mention Dynamic System Development model if you want to know Top flawless software development methodologies. In fact, this methodology is an iterative and gradual strategy that focuses on the user’s involvement, and it is authentically formulated and derived from the rapid application development technique. What’s more, this approach’s goal is to deliver software development workflow within the timeframe and budget constraints.

Dynamic System Development model’s pros

  • Firstly, it makes users easily gain a better understanding of the software development process.
  • Secondly, deliverables for functionality are quick.
  • The developers have simple access to end-users.


The expense of implementing this methodology is high, so it seems not the ideal option for small businesses. 

#8. Feature Driven Development – software development methodologies

Coming to another methodology in this topic you can’t miss is Feature Driven Development. First of all, it is an iterative software development process to serve a large number of teams working on a project using object-oriented technologies. Besides, if your firm transitions from a phase-based to an iterative approach, this methodology is appropriate for you. Best of all, this is one of the most versatile software development methodologies and adaptable enough to deal with a wide range of issues. 


  • First and foremost, it moves larger initiatives forward with consistent success.
  • Secondly, it is programmed for easy execution and is built on pre-determined software development standards.
  • Besides, it is also used to fuel projects that require continual upgrades, ensuring that all requirements are met.
  • Best of all, the outputs always outshine the inputs.
  • Any developer with relevant skills may handle and manage project-related activities with ease because this methodology is built on some of the greatest software construction techniques.


  • This is not the excellent choice for smaller projects or a single developer 
  • The process must be closely watched at all stages since even a minor fault can cause havoc in the system. Hence, this is highly reliant on leading developers, necessitating the entire structure.

#9. Lean – software development methodologies

The Lean Development methodology emphasizes the creation of easily managed software as a technical accomplishment. Moreover, the main goal of this methodology is to upgrade the software in a third of the time, at a much reasonable price, and with a much smaller quantity of critical workflow.  

Pros of Lean

  • It requires not much money as well as time. 
  • Allows for early product delivery.


  • The team’s ability to work together will determine the success of the software development process
  • A bad business analyst can cause a lot of problems.

#10. Rational Unified Process – Software development methodologies

Rational Unified Process is one of the must-have Software development methodologies that uses rational tools to power software development. What’s more, the expansion process divides into four stages, each of which contains business modeling, scrutiny and design, enactment, testing, and disposition. Alternatively, this is a web-enabled, object-based program growth approach that is designed to help software developers create guidelines, templates, and specimens for all aspects and stages of software development.  


  • Places a strong emphasis on accurate documentation.
  • Removes project risks associated with changing client requirements.
  • Don’t require integration too often.


  • It necessitates the use of a highly skilled software engineer.
  • The methodology’s development process is difficult.
  • Confusion may arise as a result of integration.
  • It is quite difficult to comprehend.

#11. Scrum model

Last but not least is Scrum model – one of the most wonderful software development methodologies you should know. This is not only truly an agile framework, but also is the most extensively used agile development approach for most software teams. Essentially, this fantastic methodology is the best option for software projects that are continually changing or have a high level of scaling. For more detail, this approach starts with ephemeral planning, then moves on to a conference, and finally to a final review. Not only that, Scrum is very worth-using because it effortlessly keeps the planned initiatives on schedule.

Pros of Scrum

  • The team is in charge of making decisions.
  • The importance of a business need document is debatable.
  • Empathizing in a lightly controlled manner with regular updates


  • Because of fluctuating expenses, the processing method suffers.
  • It is not suitable for large-scale projects.
  • Requires a highly skilled workforce. 

In conclusion

Above all, ArrowHiTech believes this blog includes everything you need not only about software development life cycle, but also software development methodologies. Then, we hope through this information, you will gain a lot of helpful knowledge and choose the most suitable software development methodology for your product development. If you are having any issue with this topic, let ArrowHiTech know. With a lot of experience in Software consulting & Development services, we will resolve it for you instantly.