What to Choose Between Traditional or Agile Software Development Method?


Different type of software development process uses different types of software development life cycles. Its selection generally depends upon the requirements and nature of the project. The software development methodology actually defines the way by which the development of software will take place. It also defines how the work of the software development will be done and will be organized.

There are basically two methods to go for software development life cycle. The first is to go with the traditional waterfall method and another one is the agile software development method. The choice of the method is dependent on the type of software development project you are dealing with. But here in this article, we will discuss the difference in both of these software development methods and which one you should opt for while working on a project.

Differences between Traditional and Agile Software Development

1. The difference in Sequence of Phases – In the traditional software development, the approach used is the linear one, which indicates that the software development must take place in a proper sequential order. Here, the one stage needs to get completed before you begin with the next one. The stages involved (in sequential order) are –

  • Requirements and Documentation
  • System Designing
  • Coding
  • Unit Testing
  • System Testing
  • User Acceptance Testing
  • Bug Fixing
  • Product Delivery

On the other hand, the agile methodology works on the iterative software development approach. In this method, the focus is not on developing the software putting every step or stage in a particular sequence, but the focus is on the fact that the quick delivery of the software is possible with all the functionalities working properly. In this methodology, the basic concept is to develop the software with all the functionalities and deliver it to the client. After the product has been delivered, the tasks that are still not done will be added later in the second iteration of the software. This method allows you to complete the software with new iterations. It’s like every time a new update is available with some new features and functions. The basic approaches in this method are –

  • Starting the project
  • Planning the iteration
  • Demos

In case of the traditional method, the requirements for the project or for the software needs to be defined very clearly and before the whole project starts. On the other side, in case of agile, the requirements can be added at any stage of the software development. So in a case, where the requirements are not clearly defined or there is a possibility for the requirements being flexible, going with the agile methodology is a great option. In such cases, going with the traditional method is not only a wrong choice but also is a costlier option in comparison to the agile.

2. Customer Involvement – The involvement of customers, in the case of traditional software development process, is very much limited in comparison to that in the agile method. In traditional development, the customer is highly involved once the software development process gets initiated. As in this case, all the requirements need to be documented before the starting of the project, thus the customer has been getting involved to let the software developers know about their requirements, what they want in the software, what functionalities they want, how they want the software to work, how they want it to look, etc. Every single detail needs to be shared by the customer. After the software development process gets initiated, the customer’s involvement gets limited to attending the status meetings, in doing reviews and providing approvals only.

On the other hand, in case of the agile software development, the customers are highly involved. The customers are involved in each and every stage of development, unlike as in traditional method. The customer can review all software at every single stage; the customer is allowed to give his or her suggestions for improvement as per their needs and requirements at any stage of the software development process.

3. Documentation – In the traditional method, all the phases of the development method are properly documented and also properly reviewed. In contrast, with the agile method, there is no formal documentation. As the focus is always on quickly delivering the product, the changes are directly made to the coding part with the software developers adding comments to the changes.

What Software Development Method to Go For?

Before selecting the software development method, you need to consider the following given points –

1. Speed of the completion
2. Size of the project
3. Level of collaboration
4. Level of interaction between different software development teams
5. Level of complexity of software, etc.

In case, if you need to release the basic model or the basic product and can take time to build up the more features, opting for the agile method is the best choice that you can make. This option is really good for the startups and for the businesses that have limited resources. It is also a good option for the small and medium-sized businesses, as they can get the basic product, then as their services increases, they can update it with new iterations.

While in a case where the software that needs to be developed is complex one or is a large organization, opting for the traditional method is the best choice. As here the requirements and specifications are cleared mentioned, one large project can be divided into many components and can be developed easily.

Obviously both these methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, but mostly try to go with selecting the agile method, as it is fast, it delivers the basic product within 1 – to – 4 weeks only, is within budget, can add or remove features and functionalities easily, have iterative pattern of development, more customer involvement, changes are really easy to make, delivers more efficient product, can easily add more functionalities and makes the customer happy.

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