Using Software Risk MasterTM for Methodology Comparisons

As of late 2011 there are about 55 named software development methods in use, and an even larger number of hybrids. Some of the development methods include the traditional waterfall approach, various flavors of agile, the Rational Unified Process (RUP), the Team Software Process (TSP), V-Model development, Microsoft Solutions Framework, the Structured Analysis and Design Technique (SADT), Evolutionary Development (EVO), Extreme Programming (XP), PRINCE2, Merise, model-based development, and many more.

In general selecting a software development methodology has more in common with joining a cult than it does with making a technical decision. Many companies do not even attempt to evaluate methods, but merely adopt the most popular, which today constitute the many faces of agile.

One of the features of the Software Risk MasterTM tool is the ability to both measure and predict the results of any known software development methods. The 61 comparisons (please click the excel spread sheet for a detailed comparisons) shown here are ranked in order of effectiveness and divided into three major groups.

The low-ranking methods are hazardous and often result in very poor quality.

The average group contains many widely used methods such as Agile and Extreme Programming.

The final group contains methods that are often used for complex software applications where quality is important, such as Team Software Process (TSP) and the Rational Unified Process (RUP).

However methodologies do not always create identical results. In general expert teams can produce good software using any method. Average or below-average teams have trouble producing good software no matter what methods are used.

Readers are cautioned that the results shown here may not always occur. Readers should evaluate all methods before selecting any method.