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8 Important Types of Software Development Life Cycle Models

8 Types of Software Development Life Cycle Models

There are more than 50 recognized software development life cycle models in use today that software developers can choose from for their software projects, however, the first one was introduced in the 1950s. Software development models are designed with the objectives of boosting productivity while reducing operating costs of software development process.

Each of these software development life cycle models significantly influence the outcome of a software project, which makes it absolutely necessary for software development teams to have full knowledge of a good number of these models, to enable smart and intelligent choices for model selections based on the project at hand.

To fully understand software development life cycle models, one must first get a glimpse of what software development life cycle (SDLC) is.

What is SDLC?

Software development life cycle (SDLC) consist of a series of phases that lays out the steps involved in software development. It is made up of a step-by-step guide to creating, deploying, and maintaining software. SDLC consist of seven basic phases including the following steps:

  • Requirement analysis
  • Planning
  • Software design
  • Implementation or coding
  • Testing
  • Deployment
  • Maintenance

The goal of SDLC is to develop high-quality software at the lowest cost possible, preferably in the shortest amount of time. To achieve this goal however, software engineering teams must choose the correct software development model to best fit the requirements, stakeholders’ expectations, and the project at hand, which brings us to what SDLC Models are.

What is Software Development Life Cycle Models?

Software development life cycle models are the various processes or methodologies that are being selected for the development of a software project while the choice depends on the project’s aims and goals. These models specify the various stages of the SDLC and the order in which they are carried out.

None of the software development life cycle models is perfect in itself, and each brings its favorable aspects and disadvantages to a specific software development project or team. This article will concentrate on the 8 most popular ones.

8 Types of Software Development Life Cycle Models

  1. Waterfall Model: The Waterfall model is one of the oldest most traditional and the most widely known software development methodologies. It is a linear sequential flow, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of software implementation. Here, developers can only move to the next phase, if only the previous phase is complete. Phases of the Waterfall Model include:
  • Planning
  • Requirements
  • Software system design
  • Implementation
  • Testing
  • Product Release
  • Maintenance/Updates
  1. Agile Model:

Agile is designed to handle complexity and variability involved in software development projects. When adopting the agile method – teams develop in short sprints or iterations, each of which includes a defined duration and list of deliverables, but in no particular order. There are many different forms of the agile model, including scrum, crystal, extreme programming (XP), and feature-driven development (FDD) each of which the development teams develops the software in iterations that contain mini-increments of new functionality.

  1. Prototyping Model:

This model of SDLC builds specimens of the software that exhibit the technical functions which is also known as software prototypes. This is centered on increasing the development team’s understanding of the customer’s wants/needs by creating prototypes.

  1. Iterative Model:

Iterative Model follows the iteration in the software development life cycle, however, the convenience of this model is that the work is completed in small clusters as per the requirement. Iterative process means designing the software in sets until the project is completed.

  1. V-shaped Model:

This model is an extension of the Waterfall model although does not follow the linear method. The main distinction between the V-shaped model and the waterfall model is the V-shaped model’s early test planning.

  1. Spiral Model:

This model is a stage-based SDLC approach that blends architecture and prototyping and focuses on risk assessment. It has four phases dividing the model into quadrants: planning, risk analysis, engineering, and evaluation. Spiral model combines features of the Waterfall and Prototyping models by stressing design, including prototyping (in the engineering phase), and by following phases similar to those in the Waterfall model.

  1. The Rational Unified Process (RUP) Model :

This model is a combination of iterative and waterfall models. The software development model divides the entire software development process into four different parts: Beginning, Expansion, Build up and Transition. All the required activities of the development model are done in a parallel form.

  1. Big Bang Model:

Unlike the other models, there is no specific process to follow in this model, i.e., it does not adhere to any particular process per se. This model is best use for small projects that does not require high-level planning.


Although there are many types of software development life cycle models which are applied across various development projects, the ideal model is expected to align with the project size and requirements, which makes it important for development teams to know their way through the different SDLC models.

For businesses looking out to develop any software, the best option for them is to hire one of the best software development service providers like PodTech, who can efficiently leverage the full benefits of the software life cycle models like experienced professionals.