A Product Development Life Cycle Model Guide for Small Business


Project requirements are critical when choosing a development cycle approach. It’s one of the most important factors that decide project efficiency of development and timeline. 

There are many ways to manage a project and each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will look at the main methodologies in software development and give you a glance at each of them so you can make a decision before you go for one blindly.

1. Waterfall 

With this model, each of the phases of the project is carried out once, following one after the other. In order to start the next stage, it is necessary to complete the previous one.


  • all stages of the project are carried out in strict sequence;
  • the severity of the stages allows you to plan the timing of the completion of all work and the corresponding resources (monetary and human);
  • requirements remain unchanged throughout the cycle.


  • difficulties in formulating clear requirements and the impossibility of changing them;
  • testing starts only from the middle of the development of the project;
  • until the development process is completed, users cannot be sure whether the product being developed is of high quality.

2. V-Model

This model became a follower of the cascade model since it can be used to eliminate the disadvantages that were previously.

The essence of this model is that processes at all stages are monitored to ensure that it is possible to move to the next level.


  • strict staging;
  • minimization of risks and elimination of potential problems due to the fact that testing appears at the earliest stages;

improved time management.


  • inability to adapt to changed customer requirements;
  • a long development time (sometimes it lasts up to several years) leads to the fact that the product may no longer be needed by the customer, since his needs change;

3. Incremental 

With an incremental model, the product development Life Cycle is developed with a linear sequence of stages, but in several increments (versions). Thus, the improvement of the product is planned all the time until the software development life cycle is completed.


  • the customer can give his feedback regarding each version of the product;
  • there is an opportunity to review the risks that are associated with costs and adherence to the schedule.


  • the functional system must be fully defined at the beginning of the life cycle to isolate iterations;
  • with constant changes, the structure of the system can be violated.

Spiral model

In the spiral model, the life path of the product being developed is depicted as a spiral, which, starting at the planning stage, unwinds with the passage of each next step. Thus, at the exit from the next round, we get a ready-made tested prototype that complements the existing assembly.


  • special attention is paid to risk management;
  • additional features can be added at a later stage;
  • there is a possibility of flexible design.


  • risk assessment at each stage is quite costly;
  • Constant feedback and customer reaction can provoke more and more iterations, which can lead to a temporary delay in product development.

4. Agile 

It is a collection of different approaches to software development. It includes a series of approaches to software development focused on the use of iterative development, dynamic formation of requirements, and ensuring their implementation as a result of constant interaction within self-organizing working groups consisting of specialists of various profiles.


  • quick decision making due to constant communications;
  • minimization of risks;
  • facilitated work with documentation.


a large number of meetings and conversations, which can increase the time for product development;

  • it is difficult to plan processes, as the requirements are constantly changing;
  • rarely used for large projects.


Scrum is an agile software development model that focuses on quality control of the development process.

Roles in the methodology allow you to clearly assign responsibilities during the development process. The Scrum Master is responsible for the success of Scrum in the project and is the link between the management and the team.


  • quick feedback from specialists in various fields (designers, architects, testers, etc.);
  • due to the involvement of the tester in the work, new functionality is quickly added and the product is quickly launched with minimal functions;
  • independent and self-organized team.


  • some people who know the product become irreplaceable, since the documentation is not provided during the development process;
  • it is impossible to plan an exact completion date, since everything is clarified based on the results of the previous sprint.


There are many options for software development models. The choice of this or that option depends on the features and requirements of the project, payment models. Partially, the methodologies overlap and are similar to each other, but nevertheless, each finds its admirers.


  1. Product development Life Cycle by Fireart
  2. Project management Wikipedia
  3. Project management guide by lucidcharts