Software development methodology: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A software development methodology or system development methodology in software engineering is a framework that is used to structure, plan, and control the process of developing an information system.[1]

The three basic patterns in software development methodologies.



A software development methodology refers to the framework that is used to structure, plan, and control the process of developing an information system. A wide variety of such frameworks have evolved over the years, each with its own recognized strengths and weaknesses. One system development methodology is not necessarily suitable for use by all projects. Each of the available methodologies is best suited to specific kinds of projects, based on various technical, organizational, project and team considerations.[1]

The framework of a software development methodology consists of:

  • A software development philosophy, with the approach or approaches of the software development process
  • Multiple tools, models and methods, to assist in the software development process.

These frameworks are often bound to some kind of organization, which further develops, supports the use, and promotes the methodology. The methodology is often documented in some kind of formal documentation.


One of the oldest software development tools is flowcharting, which has its roots in the 1920s. The software development methodology didn't emerge until the 1960s. According to Elliott (2004) the Systems development life cycle (SDLC) can be considered to be the oldest formalized methodology for building information systems. The main idea of the SDLC has been "to pursue the development of information systems in a very deliberate, structured and methodical way, requiring each stage of the life cycle from inception of the idea to delivery of the final system, to be carried out in rigidly and sequentially".[2] The main target of this methodology in the 1960s has been "to develop large scale functional business systems in an age of large scale business conglomerates. Information systems activities revolved around heavy data processing and number crunching routines".[2]


Specific software development methodologies


Software development approaches

Every software development methodology has more or less its own approach to software development. There is a set of more general approaches, which are developed into several specific methodologies. These approaches are:[1]

  • Waterfall: linear framework type.
  • Prototyping: iterative framework type
  • Incremental: combination of linear and iterative framework type
  • Spiral: combination linear and iterative framework type
  • Rapid Application Development (RAD): Iterative Framework Type

Waterfall model

The waterfall model is a sequential development process, in which development is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of requirements analysis, design, implementation, testing (validation), integration, and maintenance. The first formal description of the waterfall model is often cited to be an article published by Winston W. Royce[3] in 1970 although Royce did not use the term "waterfall" in this article.

Basic principles of the waterfall model are:[1]

  • Project is divided into sequential phases, with some overlap and splashback acceptable between phases.
  • Emphasis is on planning, time schedules, target dates, budgets and implementation of an entire system at one time.
  • Tight control is maintained over the life of the project through the use of extensive written documentation, as well as through formal reviews and approval/signoff by the user and information technology management occurring at the end of most phases before beginning the next phase.


Software prototyping, is the framework of activities during software development of creating prototypes, i.e., incomplete versions of the software program being developed.

Basic principles of prototyping are:[1]

  • Not a standalone, complete development methodology, but rather an approach to handling selected portions of a larger, more traditional development methodology (i.e. Incremental, Spiral, or Rapid Application Development (RAD)).
  • Attempts to reduce inherent project risk by breaking a project into smaller segments and providing more ease-of-change during the development process.
  • User is involved throughout the process, which increases the likelihood of user acceptance of the final implementation.
  • Small-scale mock-ups of the system are developed following an iterative modification process until the prototype evolves to meet the users’ requirements.
  • While most prototypes are developed with the expectation that they will be discarded, it is possible in some cases to evolve from prototype to working system.
  • A basic understanding of the fundamental business problem is necessary to avoid solving the wrong problem.


Various methods are acceptable for combining linear and iterative systems development methodologies, with the primary objective of each being to reduce inherent project risk by breaking a project into smaller segments and providing more ease-of-change during the development process.

Basic principles of incremental development are:[1]

  • A series of mini-Waterfalls are performed, where all phases of the Waterfall development model are completed for a small part of the systems, before proceeding to the next incremental, or
  • Overall requirements are defined before proceeding to evolutionary, mini-Waterfall development of individual increments of the system, or
  • The initial software concept, requirements analysis, and design of architecture and system core are defined using the Waterfall approach, followed by iterative Prototyping, which culminates in installation of the final prototype (i.e., working system).


The spiral model.

The spiral model is a software development process combining elements of both design and prototyping-in-stages, in an effort to combine advantages of top-down and bottom-up concepts. Basic principles:[1]

  • Focus is on risk assessment and on minimizing project risk by breaking a project into smaller segments and providing more ease-of-change during the development process, as well as providing the opportunity to evaluate risks and weigh consideration of project continuation throughout the life cycle.
  • "Each cycle involves a progression through the same sequence of steps, for each portion of the product and for each of its levels of elaboration, from an overall concept-of-operation document down to the coding of each individual program."[4]
  • Each trip around the spiral traverses four basic quadarants: (1) determine objectives, alternatives, and constrainst of the iteration; (2) Evaluate alternatives; Identify and resolve risks; (3) develop and verify deliverables from the iteration; and (4) plan the next iteration.[5]
  • Begin each cycle with an identification of stakeholders and their win conditions, and end each cycle with review and commitment.[6]

Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a software development methodology, which involves iterative development and the construction of prototypes. Rapid application development is a term originally used to describe a software development process introduced by James Martin in 1991.

Basic principles:[1]

  • Key objective is for fast development and delivery of a high quality system at a relatively low investment cost.
  • Attempts to reduce inherent project risk by breaking a project into smaller segments and providing more ease-of-change during the development process.
  • Aims to produce high quality systems quickly, primarily through the use of iterative Prototyping (at any stage of development), active user involvement, and computerized development tools. These tools may include Graphical User Interface (GUI) builders, Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools, Database Management Systems (DBMS), fourth-generation programming languages, code generators, and object-oriented techniques.
  • Key emphasis is on fulfilling the business need, while technological or engineering excellence is of lesser importance.
  • Project control involves prioritizing development and defining delivery deadlines or “timeboxes”. If the project starts to slip, emphasis is on reducing requirements to fit the timebox, not in increasing the deadline.
  • Generally includes Joint Application Development (JAD), where users are intensely involved in system design, either through consensus building in structured workshops, or through electronically facilitated interaction.
  • Active user involvement is imperative.
  • Iteratively produces production software, as opposed to a throwaway prototype.
  • Produces documentation necessary to facilitate future development and maintenance.
  • Standard systems analysis and design techniques can be fitted into this framework.

Other software development approaches

Other method concepts are:

  • Object oriented development methodologies, such as Grady Booch's Object-oriented design (OOD), also known as object-oriented analysis and design (OOAD). The Booch model includes six diagrams: class, object, state transition, interaction, module, and process.[7]
  • Top-down programming: evolved in the 1970s by IBM researcher Harlan Mills (and Niklaus Wirth) in developed structured programming.
  • Unified Process (UP) is an iterative software development methodology approach, based on UML. UP organizes the development of software into four phases, each consisting of one or more executable iterations of the software at that stage of development: Inception, Elaboration, Construction, and Guidelines. There are a number of tools and products available designed to facilitate UP implementation. One of the more popular versions of UP is the Rational Unified Process (RUP).
  • Agile Software Development refers to a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams. The term was coined in the year 2001 when the Agile Manifesto was formulated.
  • Integrated Methodology Software Development refers to a group of software development practices and deliverables that can be applied in a multitude (iterative, waterfall, spiral, agile) of software development environments, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams.

Software development methodology topics

View model

The TEAF Matrix of Views and Perspectives.

A View model is framework which provides the viewpoints on the system and its environment, to be used in the software development process. It is a graphical representation of the underlying semantics of a view.

The purpose of viewpoints and views is to enable human engineers to comprehend very complex systems, and to organize the elements of the problem and the solution around domains of expertise. In the engineering of physically-intensive systems, viewpoints often correspond to capabilities and responsibilities within the engineering organization.[8]

Most complex system specifications are so extensive that no single individual can fully comprehend all aspects of the specifications. Furthermore, we all have different interests in a given system and different reasons for examining the system's specifications. A business executive will ask different questions of a system make-up than would a system implementer. The concept of viewpoints framework, therefore, is to provide separate viewpoints into the specification of a given complex system. These viewpoints each satisfy an audience with interest in a particular set of aspects of the system. Associated with each viewpoint is a viewpoint language that optimizes the vocabulary and presentation for the audience of that viewpoint.

Business process and data modelling

Graphical representation of the current state of information provides a very effective means for presenting information to both users and system developers.

example of the interaction between business process and data models.[9]
  • A business model illustrates the functions associated with the process being modeled and the organizations that perform these functions. By depicting activities and information flows, a foundation is created to visualize, define, understand, and validate the nature of a process.
  • A data model provides the details of information to be stored, and is of primary use when the final product is the generation of computer software code for an application or the preparation of a functional specification to aid a computer software make-or-buy decision. See the figure on the right for an example of the interaction between business process and data models.[9]

Usually, a model is created after conducting an interview, referred to as business analysis. The interview consists of a facilitator asking a series of questions designed to extract required information that describes a process. The interviewer is called a facilitator to emphasize that it is the participants who provide the information. The facilitator should have some knowledge of the process of interest, but this is not as important as having a structured methodology by which the questions are asked of the process expert. The methodology is important because usually a team of facilitators is collecting information cross the facility and the results of the information from all the interviewers must fit together once completed.[9]

The models are developed as defining either the current state of the process, in which case the final product is called the "as-is" snapshot model, or a collection of ideas of what the process should contain, resulting in a "what-can-be" model. Generation of process and data models can be used to determine if the existing processes and information systems are sound and only need minor modifications or enhancements, or if reengineering is required as corrective action. The creation of business models is more than a way to view or automate your information process analysis can be used to fundamentally reshape the way your business or organization conducts its operations.[9]

Computer-aided Software Engineering

Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE), in the field software engineering is the scientific application of a set of tools and methods to a software which results in high-quality, defect-free, and maintainable software products.[10] It also refers to methods for the development of information systems together with automated tools that can be used in the software development process.[11] The term "Computer-aided software engineering" (CASE) can refer to the software used for the automated development of systems software, i.e., computer code. The CASE functions include analysis, design, and programming. CASE tools automate methods for designing, documenting, and producing structured computer code in the desired programming language.[12]

Two key ideas of Computer-aided Software System Engineering (CASE) are:[13]

Some typical CASE tools are Configuration management tools, Data modeling tools, Model transformation tools, Refactoring tools, Source code generation tools, and Unified Modeling Language.

Integrated development environment

Anjuta, a C and C++ IDE for the GNOME environment

An integrated development environment (IDE) also known as integrated design environment or integrated debugging environment is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development. An IDE normally consists of a:

IDEs are designed to maximize programmer productivity by providing tightly-knit components with similar user interfaces. Typically an IDE is dedicated to a specific programming language, so as to provide a feature set which most closely matches the programming paradigms of the language.

Modeling language

A modeling language is any artificial language that can be used to express information or knowledge or systems in a structure that is defined by a consistent set of rules. The rules are used for interpretation of the meaning of components in the structure. A modeling language can be graphical or textual.[14] Graphical modeling languages use a diagram techniques with named symbols that represent concepts and lines that connect the symbols and that represent relationships and various other graphical annotation to represent constraints. Textual modeling languages typically use standardised keywords accompanied by parameters to make computer-interpretable expressions.

Example of graphical modelling languages in the field of software engineering are:

Not all modeling languages are executable, and for those that are, the use of them doesn't necessarily mean that programmers are no longer required. On the contrary, executable modeling languages are intended to amplify the productivity of skilled programmers, so that they can address more challenging problems, such as parallel computing and distributed systems.

Programming paradigm

A programming paradigm is a fundamental style of computer programming, in contrast to a software engineering methodology, which is a style of solving specific software engineering problems. Paradigms differ in the concepts and abstractions used to represent the elements of a program (such as objects, functions, variables, constraints...) and the steps that compose a computation (assignation, evaluation, continuations, data flows...).

A programming language can support multiple paradigms. For example programs written in C++ or Object Pascal can be purely procedural, or purely object-oriented, or contain elements of both paradigms. Software designers and programmers decide how to use those paradigm elements. In object-oriented programming, programmers can think of a program as a collection of interacting objects, while in functional programming a program can be thought of as a sequence of stateless function evaluations. When programming computers or systems with many processors, process-oriented programming allows programmers to think about applications as sets of concurrent processes acting upon logically shared data structures.

Just as different groups in software engineering advocate different methodologies, different programming languages advocate different programming paradigms. Some languages are designed to support one particular paradigm (Smalltalk supports object-oriented programming, Haskell supports functional programming), while other programming languages support multiple paradigms (such as Object Pascal, C++, C#, Visual Basic, Common Lisp, Scheme, Python, Ruby and Oz).

Many programming paradigms are as well known for what techniques they forbid as for what they enable. For instance, pure functional programming disallows the use of side-effects; structured programming disallows the use of the goto statement. Partly for this reason, new paradigms are often regarded as doctrinaire or overly rigid by those accustomed to earlier styles.[citation needed] Avoiding certain techniques can make it easier to prove theorems about a program's correctness—or simply to understand its behavior.

Software framework

A software framework is a re-usable design for a software system or subsystem. A software framework may include support programs, code libraries, a scripting language, or other software to help develop and glue together the different components of a software project. Various parts of the framework may be exposed through an API.

Software development process

A Software development process is a structure imposed on the development of a software product. Synonyms include software life cycle and software process. There are several models for such processes, each describing approaches to a variety of tasks or activities that take place during the process.

A largely growing body of software development organizations implement process methodologies. Many of them are in the defense industry, which in the U.S. requires a rating based on 'process models' to obtain contracts. The international standard for describing the method of selecting, implementing and monitoring the life cycle for software is ISO 12207.

A decades-long goal has been to find repeatable, predictable processes that improve productivity and quality. Some try to systematize or formalize the seemingly unruly task of writing software. Others apply project management techniques to writing software. Without project management, software projects can easily be delivered late or over budget. With large numbers of software projects not meeting their expectations in terms of functionality, cost, or delivery schedule, effective project management appears to be lacking.

See also

Related topics


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h SELECTING A DEVELOPMENT APPROACH. Revalidated: March 27, 2008. Retrieved 27 Oct 2008.
  2. ^ a b Geoffrey Elliott (2004) Global Business Information Technology. p.87.
  3. ^ Wasserfallmodell > Entstehungskontext, Markus Rerych, Institut für Gestaltungs- und Wirkungsforschung, TU-Wien. Accessed on line November 28, 2007.
  4. ^ (Boehm, 1986)
  5. ^ (Boehm, 1986 and 1988)
  6. ^ (Boehm, 2000)
  7. ^ Georges Gauthier Merx & Ronald J. Norman (2006). Unified Software Engineering with Java. p.201.
  8. ^ Edward J. Barkmeyer ea (2003). Concepts for Automating Systems Integration NIST 2003.
  9. ^ a b c d Paul R. Smith & Richard Sarfaty (1993). Creating a strategic plan for configuration management using Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools. Paper For 1993 National DOE/Contractors and Facilities CAD/CAE User's Group.
  10. ^ Kuhn, D.L (1989). "Selecting and effectively using a computer aided software engineering tool". Annual Westinghouse computer symposium; 6-7 Nov 1989; Pittsburgh, PA (USA); DOE Project.
  11. ^ P.Loucopoulus and V. Karakostas. System Requirement Engineering.
  12. ^ CASE definition In: Telecom Glossary 2000. Retrieved 26 Oct 2008.
  13. ^ K. Robinson (1992). Putting the Software Engineering into CASE. New York : John Wiley and Sons Inc.
  14. ^ Xiao He (2007). "A metamodel for the notation of graphical modeling languages". In: Computer Software and Applications Conference, 2007. COMPSAC 2007 - Vol. 1. 31st Annual International, Volume 1, Issue , 24–27 July 2007, pp 219-224.

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address