Choosing the right Software development life cycle model

Selecting a Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) methodology is a challenging task for many organizations. What tends to make it challenging is the fact that few organizations know what criteria to use in selecting a methodology to add value to the organization. Fewer still understand that a methodology might apply to more than one Lifecycle Model. Before considering a framework for selecting a given SDLC methodology, we need to define the different types and illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of those models (please see Software Development Life Cycle Models and Methodologies).

How to select the right SDLC

Selecting the right SDLC is a process in itself that organization can implement internally or consult for. There are some steps to get the right selection:

STEP 1: Learn the about SDLC Models

SDLCs are the same in their usage, advantages, and disadvantages. In order to select the right SDLC, one must have experience and be familiar with the SDLCs that will be chosen.

STEP 2: Assess the needs of Stakeholders

We must study the business domain, user requirements, business priorities, and technology constraints to be able to choose the right SDLC against their selection criteria.

STEP 3: Define the criteria

Some of the selection criteria or questions that you may use to select an SDLC are:

  • Is the SDLC appropriate for the size of our team and their skills?
  • Is the SDLC appropriate with the selected technology we use for implementing the solution?
  • Is the SDLC appropriate with client and stakeholders need and priorities
  • Is the SDLC appropriate for the geographical situation (co-located or geographically dispersed)?
  • Is the SDLC appropriate for the size and complexity of our software?
  • Is the SDLC appropriate for the type of projects we do?
  • Is the SDLC appropriate for our engineering capability?

What are the criteria?

Here is my recommended criteria, what will be yours?

Factors Waterfall V-Shaped Evolutionary Prototyping Spiral Iterative and Incremental Agile Methodologies
Unclear User Requirement Poor Poor Good Excellent Good Excellent
Unfamiliar Technology Poor Poor Excellent Excellent Good Poor
Complex System Good Good Excellent Excellent Good Poor
Reliable system Good Good Poor Excellent Good Good
Short Time Schedule Poor Poor Good Poor Excellent Excellent
Strong Project Management Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Cost limitation Poor Poor Poor Poor Excellent Excellent
Visibility of Stakeholders Good Good Excellent Excellent Good Excellent
Skills limitation Good Good Poor Poor Good Poor
Documentations Excellent Excellent Good Good Excellent Poor
Component reusability Excellent Excellent Poor Poor Excellent Poor


Selecting a Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Methodology.(2012, 3 18). Retrieved from

Software Development Life Cycle Models. (2012, 3). Retrieved from


8 thoughts on “Choosing the right Software development life cycle model

  1. I have proposed systems in one of my subjects. Inmates Information System and Online Pets Consultation. Based on your recommended criteria, Spiral Model has the highest “Excellent”. Do you also recommend Spiral Model in my two proposed systems? Will be waiting for your response. Have a nice day πŸ™‚

    • Hi Eufro,
      Yes, may be it has the highest “Excellent” count but it does not mean it is the best choice.
      You may need to give each criteria a different weight, for example, you can give the cost a weight of 50% compared to other criteria based on project situation, context, and constrains. At this case, Spiral model will not be the best option to choose.

      You can explain more about the projects and I can help you in which model can help you.

      Thank you and have a nice day

      • Thanks for your reply. This is the brief explanation about my two projects.

        Inmates Information System – It’s a system that stores prisoner’s info. From paper-based record keeping to computerized record keeping. It will be easier for the prison officers to access the prisoner’s info, add and update their records.

        Online Pets Consultation – Many pets that live in areas where ready access to routine veterinary care, much less emergency care, isn’t available. With the proposed system, the pet owners will be able to obtain preliminary advice from veterinary professionals online regarding their pet’s condition. Save pet owners
        from the costs of unnecessary travel and can avoid stressful car trips with pets.

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