Ask a Geek: App Development Methods Decoded

By Mikal E. Belicove|For Entrepreneur magazine|March 1, 2012

Q: I’ve heard software development shops talk about various methods–”waterfall,” “agile” and “scrum”–for building apps. What’s the difference?

A: Be assured, the developers who use scrum aren’t billing you for a daily rugby match to help brainstorm your product. In this case, the term describes one of more than a half-dozen software development processes used to organize a project’s work flow. And whether you need an e-commerce site for your T-shirt startup or a smartphone app for your pizza delivery business, you should decide on the approach to development that addresses the requirements, design, production, testing and deployment phases of the software in a manner that works best for your management style and, ultimately, your business.

According to Kim Heldman, senior IT director for the state of Colorado, choosing the right methodology for a development project can spell the difference between rapid success and drawn-out failure. Heldman suggests focusing on the three most popular development processes: waterfall, agile and scrum.

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