Selecting an Appropriate Software Development Life Cycle Model

Selecting an Appropriate Software Development Life Cycle Model

The selection of a suitable life cycle model for a project can be completed by using the following process:

1.  Examine the following project characteristic categories, as demonstrated in Tables 1 through 4:

     Requirements: Table 1
     Project team: Table 2
     User community: Table 3
     Project type and risk: Table 4

2.  Answer the questions presented for each category by circling a yes or no in the matrices provided.

3.  Rank the importance of the category, or question within the category, in terms of the project for which you a selecting a life cycle model.

4.  Total the number of circled responses for each column in the matrices to arrive at an appropriate model.

5.  Use the category ranking to resolve conflicts between models if the totals are close or the same.

Project Characteristic Categories

A brief description of the characteristics of requirements, project team, user community, and project type and risk follow. Tables 1 through 4 provide a set of matrices for use in steps 15 of the life cycle model selection process explained in the preceding section.


The requirements category (Table 1) consists of questions related to things that have been requested by the user for the project. They are sometimes termed as functions or features of the system that will be provided by the project.

Selecting a Life Cycle Model Based on Characteristics of Requirements

Project Team

Whenever possible, it is best to select the people for the project team before selecting the life cycle model. The features of this team (Table 2) are important in the selection process because they are responsible for the successful completion of the cycle, and they can help in the selection process.

Selecting a Life Cycle Model Based on Characteristics of the Project Team

User Community

The early project phases can provide a good understanding of the user community (Table 3) and the expected relationship with the project team for the duration of the project. This understanding will help you in selecting the suitable model because some models are dependent on high user involvement and understanding of the project.

Project Type and Risk

Lastly, look at the type of project and the risk (Table 4) that has been identified to this point in the planning phase. Some models are designed to accommodate high-risk management, while others are not. The selection of a model that accommodates risk management does not mean that you do not have to create an action plan to minimize the risk identified. The model simply provides a framework within which this action plan can be discussed and implemented.

Selecting a Life Cycle Model Based on Characteristics of the User Community

Selecting a Life Cycle Model Based on Characteristics of Project Type and Risk


life cycle, process, software development
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