This guide will look at some of the most common website methodologies, breaking down how they work and what benefits they offer.
Updated August 22, 2022
When it comes to developing websites, there's not one single method or approach that IT companies can use. There are actually several different website methodologies that development teams can turn to, each with its own pros, cons, and unique features.
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4 Popular Website Methodologies
Web Development Methodology: Waterfall
The waterfall methodology is arguably the most traditional of the website methodologies, originating back in 1970. It's the classic form of web development that you may already be familiar with, in which the process is broken down into individual steps or stages that are completed one by one.
It's a very linear method, with all of the objectives and ideas laid out at the start before being implemented in regimental, structured order, making the workflow straightforward.
Therefore, when using the Waterfall method, it's important to plan out the full project before the web development starts and then stick to that plan as closely as possible throughout each stage, because difficulties can arise if any deviations occur or if unexpected changes need to be made.
Because of this, Waterfall is most commonly used for small-scale and relatively simple projects with minimal risk of any deviations. It's less well-suited for longer or ongoing projects.
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Web Development Methodology: Agile
Agile is, in many ways, the opposite to the Waterfall method. With Agile, which has been around since 2001 and was originally designed to improve productivity in the field of software development, there aren't any set steps or stages.
Instead, this time-oriented methodology is focused on creating a project gradually over time, with adaptability and the possibility for change built directly into the process. This is very appealing in today's world, with 95% of organizations practicing Agile website methodologies.
When you use the Agile system, you work on projects in "sprints." Sprints are basically set amounts of time (usually one to four weeks) that can be used on certain tasks and objectives.
Before each sprint, the customer - who is a key player in the development process - outlines their needs and the team uses the sprint to meet the customer's needs.
At the end of each sprint, there's a time for quality assurance, analysis and assessment where changes can be made to a deliverable, and new ideas can be introduced ahead of the next sprint.
This is an ideal methodology to use for longer projects or tasks that may not have a clearly defined end goal to begin with and are subject to changes and improvements over time.
It's all about adaptability and flexibility, but it's important to ensure that the process doesn't go on endlessly, otherwise, there's a risk of the product constantly changing and never actually being finalized.
If you’re torn between agile approach or the waterfall methodology, check this out: ‘When to Use an Agile, Waterfall, or Hybrid Development Process’
Web Development Methodology: Scrum
Scrum is a website methodology that has a lot in common with Agile, initially used in the 1990s for product development and later used for web and software development too.
In the Scrum system, a lot of the responsibility for how the project unfolds is on the development team itself, with the client actually having minimal involvement.
The client doesn't have to fill in documents or create reams of specification paperwork; instead, they simply state what they want from the project and then let the team members get to work.
The Scrum team always has a "Scrum Master", who serves as a coach or overseer for the project. There's also a "Product Owner", who is a representative from the client's side and is responsible for ensuring that their vision is implemented during development.
With this method, regular Scrum meetings are held with both the Scrum Master and Product Owner in attendance. During these meetings, the team discusses the work done so far and the best next steps. Like with the Agile method, time is divided into sprints, and at the end of each sprint, the whole group gathers again to discuss ways to perform revisions while discussing how to make the next sprint better and more efficient.
This is a method that offers many of the same advantages as the Agile system and is useful for web engineering teams that prefer to work more freely and use their own best methods to deliver results, rather than adhering to strict limits and specifications within the scope of the project. It's also useful for clients and stakeholders who don't want to busy themselves with too much paperwork or involvement in the process.
Web Development Methodology: Kanban
The Kanban website methodology was developed in Japan at the Toyota company and is named after the Japanese words "Kan", meaning visible, and "Ban", meaning board or card.
This system is all about visualization. It involves the creation of a "Kanban board" which is regularly updated over time to show progress and track the project from start to finish.
The board can be shared across different teams and individuals and provides a useful way for everyone to remain up to date and aware of the current stage of the project, as well as what has been done so far and what still remains to be accomplished.
In practice, this method has a lot in common with Scrum and Agile methodologies, except there aren't any clearly defined roles like "Scrum Masters" within the group and work isn't divided into sprints. Instead, work is delivered continuously and changes can be made at any time during the process.
This can be a very useful methodology due to the visual benefits of the Kanban board itself, working well for projects that are likely to undergo quick changes and various iterations as they proceed.
Choose the Right Methodology for Web Development Projects
As you can see, there are various different website methodologies and approaches when it comes to web projects. Each methodology has its advantages and best-use scenarios, and it's important to assess the scale and aspects of your upcoming projects in order to choose the right approach, every time.
When building a new website or new web pages, using a web methodology will help deliver the functionality you are after.