Software methodologies add structure to your development workflow. There are several that have been developed over the decades, largely specialized for given tasks, ideas, or features. Which one to choose has a lot to do with the size of the development team, its general purpose, and any given set of unique considerations. Let’s look at a few of today’s top methodologies to get an idea.

DevOps

The DevOps term comes from software development of IT operations management systems. It’s meant to continuously optimize system updates while maintaining quality. One of its key tenets is shortening time between a planned change and its operational implementation. DevOps is cross-functional and utilizes toolchains consisting of development processes: code, build, test, package, release, configure, and monitor. DevOps is also compatible with the Agile methodology as it’s based on Agile fundamentals, such as continuous testing, integration, and delivery.

Agile

Agile is the groundwork for a number of collaborative development processes involving cross-functionality and customer engagement. It values flexibility and adaptability, ongoing improvement, and rapid delivery. It is designed for complex and fluid circumstances and therefore is non-linear and non-deterministic and focuses on interactions, deliverable software, end-user collaboration, and adaptation. 

Agile breaks down the entire process into increments that combine planning, design, building, and testing while in process. Agile can be trained in a few different frameworks, including Scrum and Kanban. Both of these latter two typically use a whiteboard for continual updates. Scrum prioritizes schedule, where iterations are time periods or sprints of one to four weeks. It relies on a Scrum Master, a Team, and a Product Owner who acts as a client representative. In Kanban, iterations aren’t based on time but on the number of developmental goals to be worked on at one time, keeping workload efficient.

Additional Methodologies

Other options are available, depending on project goals. Though the more traditional and sequential Waterfall is a rigid methodology , it is still useful if the objectives are well-defined and clear with few unexpected factors affecting workflow. Other workflows are in some respects adaptations of the Agile design. Feature-Driven Development, or FDD, is an iterative process based on a features list from a product model. Extreme Programming, or XP, is a sprint-based approach designed around values, such as simplicity and communication. LEAN is an extension of Agile practices to areas outside of software development, such as a warehouse or manufacturing space. 

Which methodology to choose depends on your team’s goals. Today’s world requires continual and more-rapid development and updates, and DevOps, Agile, LEAN, or other variants would be logical applications. Scrum and Kanban, while different, also work well as a hybrid. Take time to investigate the benefits of today’s top methodologies and experiment to see what works best for you and your team.

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