DEV Community

Cover image for Agile SDLC vs. Traditional Software Development Lifecycle: Which Is the Best?
Pavel Salkevich
Pavel Salkevich

Posted on

Agile SDLC vs. Traditional Software Development Lifecycle: Which Is the Best?

When it comes to IT, experts around the world continue to innovate new software time and again. The success of any software depends on the quality of the work it takes to build it up. In such cases, the Software Development Life Cycle approach becomes a very important approach. For a startup, Agile SDLC has proved to be a very efficient methodology in any software development process.

Agile Software Development Life Cycle: Understanding SDLC and Agile

SDLC refers to the way the custom software development process is built, the development blueprint and the allocation of tasks to every member of the team. It is an outline from planning to the completion of the software. This approach is useful as it helps to know the progress of the team and what resources are needed in the process

The term agile means responding to changes where necessary. Therefore, in Agile SDLC the already laid approaches can be adjusted to suit what a given project requires. Here, every project is run differently.

The Agile model employs iterative and incremental methods. Iterative means creating the software by modifications. Incremental on the other hand means building the software from scratch. All these processes aim at adapting to the software development process and satisfying customers’ needs by delivering quick results.

What Is Agile Software Development?

This is a method used to develop different software, whereby the requirements change in an effort to enhance productivity and satisfy customers’ needs. The Agile model involves designing, developing, testing, deploying and reviewing the software approaches.

Agile Startup Methodologies

An Agile startup methodology is a specific approach to managing projects applied in the development of a software. It helps team members to respond to unpredictable situations during the software development process.

There are two methodologies involved in the agile model; they include Scrum and Kanban.

  1. The Scrum Methodology

This approach is designed to guide the team through either the iterative or the increment delivery of a software. Here, the focus is on using experimental processes that enable a team to respond quickly and efficiently to change.

  1. The Kanban Methodology

This is a visual management approach to help create organizational knowledge. A team uses this approach to improve productivity, efficiency, and quality of work.

Similarities and Differences of Agile Methodologies

Scrum and Kanban are similar in a number of ways. For example, they both allow the breakdown of multifaceted assignments into smaller parts so that they can efficiently be completed by continuously improving the quality of work. Both methodologies value transparency and smooth workflow.

The methodologies have however, a number of differences which include:

  1. While Scrum’s main emphasis is on the different set of schedules and roles of respective projects, Kanban has no defined roles or iterations. Here, roles change depending on the requirements of the organization and the project.

  2. With Scrum, the product is released in particular intervals depending on schedule. With Kanban, product release is continuous.

  3. Scrum’s focus is on diverse functionality with no specific roles assigned to team members. Kanban encourages members to focus on their area of expertise.

  4. For scrum, the start and end of any schedule and daily operations are important but Kanban emphasizes on continuous improvement of processes with no systematic meetings.

How to Choose the Best SDLC Model: Traditional SDLC vs. Agile

Traditional SDLC can also be referred to as the waterfall model. It is one of the first methodologies of developing a software. Even though it is old, many companies still use it. It involves six phases which include:

  • Studying the possibility of software development

  • Researching on facts, e.g. the requirements, and possible challenges of different development methodologies

  • Analyzing the software in order to comprehend all its aspects, how and why it developed and the possible improvements

  • Designing the software

  • Software production

  • Reviewing and maintaining the software

  • Running the software

This approach is ideal for getting rid of viruses since they can be discovered at early stages. This minimizes instances of starting the project all over again due to damage by such viruses. This method is not good for a startup because it requires in-depth documentation. This is so, so that it does not rely on only one person. This can be hectic for startups since there are so many conditions to be taken into account. The process requires minimal risks in the process of development.

The table below shows how these two differ.

Agile SDLC Traditional SDLC
- there is full transparency - it lacks transparency
- there is room for adjustments - the project is carefully planned
- little documentation - comprehensive documentation
- feedback is provided at intervals - there is no feedback until up to testing the product
- there is constant research - research is preliminary
- focuses on revenue - the emphasis is on the cost
- it is product-oriented - it is project-oriented

Pros and cons of SDLC


  • It employs both iterative and incremental methodologies

  • There is more customer participation

  • Less formal documentation and review process

  • The customer gets feedback on the development of the software

  • Flexible to change of a plan

  • Individual interactions over tools and processes


  • Its requirements are unclear

  • There is a lack of understanding of what agile entails

  • Flexibility can lead to a team’s change of behavior then later blame it on the change

  • There is no predictability in agile methodologies


It is no doubt that the adoption of the right technology in any organization has substantial benefits. However, it is not every software or application you find on the marketplace will solve your needs. It is advisable to align your software adoption to the specific needs and conditions at your organization. This is one of the benefits of the Agile software development lifecycle, as this method aims at enhancing productivity and satisfying customers’ needs. It is the best consideration for startups, as it has a room for this flexibility. In addition, startups should consider Agile SDLC because it provides an avenue for them to use their limited resources in a smart way to gain the competitive advantage they need. However, for Agile SDLC to work effectively, you need the input of the right dedicated development team.

Top comments (2)

chilmeister profile image
Kiryl Chalenka

Very informative! Already subscribed

sofiiasov profile image
SofiiaSov • Edited

Thanks, very helpful post! I read another article about agile sdlc, your guide perfectly complemented the information I received