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Methodology

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. Common methodologies include waterfall, prototyping, incremental development. spiral development, rapid application development, and extreme programming. A methodology can also include aspects of the development environment (i.e. IDEs), model-based development, computer aided software development, and the utilization of particular frameworks (i.e. programming libraries or other tools).

At Technoxis we follow a methodology that is best suited for the client based on factors like time, cost, requirements, etc.



Waterfall development

The Waterfall model is a sequential development approach, 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 basic principles are:

  •  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 via extensive written documentation, formal reviews, and approval/signoff by the user and information technology management occurring at the end of most phases before beginning the next phase.

Prototyping

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

The basic principles are:

  •  Not a standalone, complete development methodology, but rather an approach to handle selected parts 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 development 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.

Incremental development

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.

The basic principles are:

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

Spiral development

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. It is a meta-model, a model that can be used by other models.

The basic principles are:

  •  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 part 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."
  •  Each trip around the spiral traverses four basic quadrants: (1) determine objectives, alternatives, and constraints of the iteration; (2) evaluate alternatives; Identify and resolve risks; (3) develop and verify deliverables from the iteration; and (4) plan the next iteration.
  •  Begin each cycle with an identification of stakeholders and their win conditions, and end each cycle with review and commitment.

Rapid application development

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.

The basic principles are:

  •  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 via 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 design (JAD), where users are intensely involved in system design, via consensus building in either structured workshops, or 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 methods can be fitted into this framework.

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