The success of your IT career depends on your success in your individual projects. This includes the projects you make yourself, as well as those you make for a client or a company.

The System Development Lifecycle (SDLC) provides structure to the entire project. It helps you tackle the challenges you face from start to finish of your project. As of present, various SDLC methodologies are used to guide professionals in their project work.

What is SDLC?

Software development life cycle (SDLC) is a series of stages that provide a general understanding of the software creation process. This includes implementation and development of the software on the basis of Business Understanding documents. It start by exploring how to translate business ideas from the requirement gathering stage into functionality. And even after development, it extends to use and operation to meet business needs.

A good software engineer must have sufficient knowledge about choosing the right SDLC model.

Here are some common SDLC models and methodologies:

1. Waterfall model

Waterfall is the oldest and simplest of the SDLC models. It has a simple procedure – complete one phase and then move on to the next. There is no going back. Each step relies on the information from the previous step and has a project plan specific for that phase. The waterfall is easy to understand and manage.

However, early delays can disrupt the entire project schedule. Also, problems cannot be resolved until the maintenance step is reached since there is little to no space for revisions once a step is completed. This model does not work well if the project has changing requirements or if flexibility is needed. It is not recommended for lengthy projects.

2. V-shaped model

The V-shaped model, also known as the Verification and Validation Model, comes from the Waterfall model. Its distinguishing feature is that there is a corresponding test phase for each development phase. Similar to Waterfall, the next stage doesn’t start until the previous one ends.

This template is useful when there are no unknown requirements. Just like the waterfall model, it is difficult to revert changes or fix errors from the previous stages.

3. Iterative model

The iterative model is built on repetition. Rather than starting with fully known requirements, the developers implement a set of software requirements. They then test, evaluate, and identify other requirements. A new version of the software is produced at each stage or “iteration”. This is repeated across several iterations till entire system is ready.

This has an advantage over other SDLC methodologies: this model gives you a working version in the early stages of the process and it is cheaper to implement any changes. One drawback of this model: resources can be consumed quickly by repeating the process over and over.

4. Spiral model

This is one of the most flexible SDLC models. The Spiral model is inspired by the iterative model and its iterations. The project goes through four phases in a “spiral”. The spiral takes several turns over and over until the project is completed. This allows for many rounds of refinement.

This method helps create a highly personalized product. Additionally, user feedback can be considered and incorporated from the start of the project. The risk here is creating an endless spiral for a project that never ends.

5. Agile model

When you work in an actual company after your graduation, it is very likely that the model used at your company will be Agile or a variant of Agile. Agile comes in many forms including Scrum and Kanban.

In Agile model, the product is divided into cycles. This model quickly delivers a functional product and is seen as a very realistic development approach. The model produces many versions, each with minor incremental changes from the previous version. The product is tested at every iteration.

The core idea of this model is interaction. Customers, developers and testers work together throughout the length of the entire project. However, since this model relies heavily on customer interaction, the project can go the wrong way if the customer doesn’t know which way they want to go.

Which SDLC methodology is the best?

Each of the above SDLC models provide a unique process for the variety of project challenges you will face in your career. The best model depends on the project context and business requirements.

Finding the right one depends not only on the expected result, but also on the parameters with which the project is carried out.

With that being said, most companies opt for agile and seek Agile certifications for their Engineers. So there is definitely some bias towards Agile. Agile certifications include CSM (Certified Scrum Master), PSM (Professional Scrum Master) and Kanban.

Which SDLC model should I use in my IGNOU BCA / MCA project?

Since project submission is a lengthy process, it is best to avoid taking risks. We recommend the waterfall model with its buildings. That is, have a small and defined scope and plan the project according to the stages of the waterfall model. The main criterion of passing the exam is viva and the documentation, so choosing waterfall will help you write the final synopsis easily since it is a linear process.

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