Software Development Methodologies: a Closer Look

In 1970, Dr. Winston Royce a Computer Scientist from Austin, Texas, published a paper titled “Managing the Development of Large Software Systems.” Dr. Royce criticized the software development methodology of the time, the Waterfall method, which utilizes a sequential approach to software development. He asserted that software should not to be developed like an “automobile on an assembly line,” where every phase of the project must be completed thoroughly before the next phase can begin, where the process must be well thought-of and planned beforehand. This used to be traditional method – the waterfall method. But this had some serious setbacks. Firstly, conflicts arose sometimes between adjacent departments due to their inability to communicate effectively amongst the various departments. Royce argued that this lack of communication might hinder the robustness and functionality of the product being assembled. Secondly, the methodology of the traditional method means the architect[s] must outline every requirement and specification before the product can go through any of the phases – such as the coding phase, the design phase, the testing phase. And lastly, teams have only one chance – in most cases – to get things right. There is no going back to a phase if the product is found to deviate from its intended functionality.

These pitfalls gave rise to a new methodology, the Agile methodology. In agile, every aspect of the project and every phase of the project is revisited multiple times throughout its lifecycle. And each phase has many repetitions, professionally called iterations, and each of these iterations lasts for only about a couple weeks. This gives developers more opportunities to revisit something that was missed or something that was not well-thought-of/planned.

Instead of committing to market a piece of software that is guaranteed to be released at a specified data regardless of its robustness or functionality, agile empowers teams to continuously re-plan their release to increase its value in the marketplace when and where it is released.

This is how software ought to be developed, but, unlike what organizations may claim, they aren’t doing anything close to Agile’s actual definition. Because the human-being is a fickle-minded creature, often deviating from its given job due to irresolution and instability.

As such, the traditional method works fine for starters.

Works Cited

“The Agile Movement.” Agile Methodology. N.P., 23 Oct. 2008. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.


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