Which SDLC Methodology Startups Should Choose to Succeed

SDLC Methodology Startups

Most startups want to build a software application these days. While software development is a requirement, a lever to succeeding, or even a success prospect, when startups lack fundamental knowledge, the most pressing question they face is which software development methodology to implement. Identifying the right SDLC methodology for startups is a process that requires startups to assess their own requirements and how they want to approach development.
The first important step in this direction is building an understanding of various phases of software development life cycle.

So, how to go about when choosing the right software development model for startups? The simplest answer is you should use agile methodology, which is a proven framework for software development using which startups can efficiently develop their products. Below, we give you more insights.

Why agile for startups?

Startups face a variety of challenges, including tight budgets, limited resources, and rapidly changing market demands. Next, they must quickly respond to changing market conditions and accommodate user feedback.

In the face of these challenges, agile proves to be the best choice for startups. Agile emphasizes collaboration, frequent feedback, and continuous improvement.

Going with the idea of MVP in software development, agile encourages incremental development. It breaks development into smaller, more manageable pieces, and enables startups to rapidly test and iterate on new ideas, reducing the financial risk and loss of time.

Uncovering agile approaches for startups

Agile is a principle that houses various software development approaches. Each of these agile approaches is meant for a specific project context. Analyzing the nature of their project, startups must thus identify a suitable approach. Let’s look at a couple of agile software development methodologies and how they can assist startups in developing their products.


A startup that offers a software application for small businesses can use Scrum to prioritize the most critical features for their customers. For example, when developing an accounting application, it may prioritize adding invoicing functionality before adding features like expense tracking, based on customer feedback and data.

Scrum involves breaking down the work into small sprints which helps in progressively adding features to the product. For instance, a startup that is building an e-commerce website can use Scrum to drive continuous improvement. It can use customer feedback to identify areas that need improvement, such as website loading speed, checkout process, or search functionality. With these inputs, they can implement changes in subsequent sprints to improve the website and enhance customer experience.

Extreme Programming (XP)

Startups often need to quickly iterate on their product to stay ahead of competitors and meet customer needs. XP’s focus on continuous feedback and continuous integration allows startups to quickly develop and test new features, gather feedback from users, and make improvements based on that feedback.

XP’s emphasis on collaboration and flexibility can help startups quickly pivot their product strategy in response to market changes. This especially matters when startups are operating in volatile market conditions, where they should be ever ready for change.

Feature-Driven Development

Feature-driven development (FDD) is an iterative and incremental software development methodology that prioritizes the development of features that provide value to the end users. For startups, this is the best agile approach to choose from when they make features as the benchmark for driving the development process.

A notable example of a startup project that was steered using FDD is Instagram. Instagram’s founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, used FDD to develop a series of features that provided value to their users. They started with a simple feature of taking and sharing photos, then added filters to make the photos look better, and finally, they added social features that allowed users to follow, like, and comment on each other’s photos.

Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

Startups need to be agile and responsive to succeed in a fast-paced, competitive market, and models such as DSDM allow them to be agile. DSDM provides a framework for continuous development and iteration, allowing startups to quickly adjust their strategies and products as they learn more about their customers and the market.

InVision, the widely used online whiteboard and productivity platform is one great example of a startup using DSDM agile methodology. It could develop and release new features quickly. Thanks to DSDM’s flexible approach that assisted InVision to iterate on its product and make changes as it learned more about the needs and preferences of its customers.

Lean Software Development

Lean software development is a method that focuses on reducing waste and maximizing value to create high-quality software. It is a software development process methodology that is particularly effective for startups, which have limited resources and need to get products to market quickly. It emphasizes creating small, working pieces of software that can be quickly tested and refined.

If we have to consider an example of a product developed using Lean software development method, then we have Buffer, a popular social media toolkit for businesses. Another example is Etsy, an online marketplace. It used the Lean software development approach to continually improve its platform, reducing page load times, improving search functionality, and optimizing its checkout process. With these improvements, Etsy could grow rapidly, and become one of the largest online marketplaces in the world.

Rapid Application Development (RAD)

RAD is a perfect fit for startups when they want to launch their products quickly and iterate rapidly. In the competitive startup world, time-to-market is critical, and RAD helps startups launch their products faster than traditional software development approaches. Startups typically have limited budgets, and they need to use their resources wisely. Here, RAD comes as the best choice, as it helps them save money and resources.

For example, Dropbox, a cloud storage startup, used RAD to launch its product in just four months, and it became one of the fastest-growing startups in history. The company started with a simple prototype and continued to iterate and refine the product based on customer feedback, allowing them to launch quickly and adjust its product based on market demand.


The best thing about Kanban is that it provides startups with a way to measure progress and identify bottlenecks in the development process. Kanban boards provide a visual representation of the workflow, and teams can use metrics such as lead time and cycle time to track their progress. By identifying bottlenecks, teams can make improvements to the process and reduce the time it takes to deliver a product or service.

We try to understand the applicability of Kanban through an example. Imagine a startup developing a new e-commerce platform. The development team uses Kanban to manage its workflow, and it has visualized its process on a Kanban board. With it, the team limits its work in progress (WIP) to five tasks at a time to ensure that they are focused on completing the most valuable tasks first, thereby speeding up the project.


As a startup, if you are developing two different products, then both of them may require you to follow two different agile approaches or even one single approach may fit both. It all depends on the niceties of your project.

The fastest way to apply the most suitable agile method for your project is to collaborate with a skilled custom software development company. With experts at your assistance, you can significantly optimize the development process.

To convert your dream product into reality and drive your project most efficiently, connect with software development experts from Finoit. Through our consultation, apart from experiencing technical benefits, you will also witness improvements in your business performance.

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