Since the rapid development of software, the world of Information Technology has become more sophisticated, and both businesses and individuals are continuously innovating and developing software. Any software development’s success depends on its methodology and effort. 

Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and Agile are now the two standard methodologies, let’s dive deep into them. SDLC and Agile are two of the most popular software development methodologies. SDLC is a traditional, sequential approach to software development, while Agile is a newer, iterative approach.

In this post, we will discuss the definitions and key differences between SDLC and Agile, and we will help you decide which methodology is right for your business. We will also discuss the benefits and challenges of each methodology. So, whether you are new to software development or you are just looking for a refresher, read on to learn more about SDLC and Agile.

SDLC vs Agile

1. What is SDLC?

1.1. Definition

Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a framework that defines the steps involved in the creation of software. It is a systematic approach to planning, designing, developing, testing, and deploying software. SDLC methodology is often used for large IT projects. The goal of SDLC is to produce high-quality software that meets the needs of the users and stakeholders, as well as manage the project in a smooth manner.

The SDLC helps developers deliver software with the highest quality at the lowest cost. SDLC can help developers develop software in a well-structured way and maintain its quality by testing and validating user demands before releasing the software. It’s important for a software developer to have an intense knowledge of this software development process.

1.2. Phases of SDLC

The SDLC typically consists of 6 phases as below:

  • Planning: This phase involves understanding the needs of the users and stakeholders and documenting the requirements for the software. This is often the most important phase of the SDLC, as it ensures that the software development team knows the project’s costs, terms, target and leadership structure to meet the needs of the users. The analysis phase helps the development team by defining what the web/ app will do, so it ensures that the team can work without concerns about lack of necessary resources.
  • Design: There are many different steps in the design and prototyping phase, such as the architecture, user interface, platform, communications, security and other platform features. After drawing the prototype, it is recommended that you show it to different people and gather feedback from them, so you can apply it to the application. This phase is also important, as it ensures that the software is designed in a way that is efficient, reliable, and easy to use.
  • Development: This phase involves coding the software and testing it to ensure that it meets the requirements. This is the longest and most complex phase of the SDLC, as it involves writing the code, testing the code, and debugging the code. The development team can also create documentation that users can read when using the application. It can include guide videos, FAQs…
  • Testing: This phase involves testing the software to ensure that it is free of defects and meets the requirements. It checks the application’s performance and removes any lagging issues that the customers could experience. This is an important phase, as it ensures that the software is of high quality and that it meets the needs of the users.
  • Deployment: This phase involves deploying the software to production and making it available to users. This is the final phase of the SDLC, and it ensures that the software is available to users and that it is working properly. Some companies release applications in versions to collect feedback and improve it and later do another release.
  • Maintenance: This phase involves maintaining the software and fixing any defects that are found. This is an ongoing phase, as software is constantly evolving and new defects are constantly being found.

1.3. Benefits & Limitations of SDLC

Here are some of the benefits of using SDLC:

  • It helps to ensure that the software meets the needs of the users and stakeholders.
  • It helps to identify and mitigate risks early in the development process.
  • It helps to improve the quality of the software.
  • It helps to reduce the cost and time of development.

Here are some of the challenges of using SDLC:

  • It can be time-consuming and expensive to implement SDLC.
  • It can be difficult to get all stakeholders to agree on the requirements.
  • It can be difficult to keep the software up-to-date with changing requirements.

2. What is Agile?

2.1. Definition

Agile methodologies are a set of principles and practices that emphasise iterative development, customer collaboration, and responding to change. They are often used in software development.

The Agile Manifesto, which was published in 2001, outlines the four key values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools: Agile teams value the interactions between people over the use of processes and tools. They believe that people are more important than processes and that the best way to get things done is to work together.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation: Agile teams focus on delivering working software over creating comprehensive documentation. They believe that it is more important to get the software into the hands of users so that they can provide feedback and make improvements.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation: Agile teams collaborate with customers throughout the development process. They believe that it is important to get customer feedback early and often so that the software can be developed to meet their needs.
  • Responding to change over following a plan: Agile teams are able to respond to change quickly and easily. They believe that it is more important to be able to adapt to change than to stick to a rigid plan.

There are many different Agile methodologies, but some of the most popular include:

  • Scrum: Scrum is a lightweight framework for Agile development. It is based on the idea of breaking the project down into short sprints and then delivering working software at the end of each sprint.
  • Kanban: Kanban is a visual method for managing work. It is based on the idea of visualising work, limiting work-in-progress, and managing flow.
  • Extreme Programming (XP): XP is an Agile methodology that focuses on simplicity, testing, and communication. It is based on the idea of delivering high-quality software quickly and efficiently.

2.2. Phases of Agile

It follows the same stages as SDLC, but with a more flexible and iterative approach.

2.3. Benefits & Limitations of Agile

Here are some of the benefits of using Agile methodology:

  • Increased productivity: Agile teams are often more productive than traditional teams because they are able to respond to change quickly and easily.
  • Improved quality: Agile teams are able to produce higher-quality software because they get feedback from users early and often.
  • Reduced risk: Agile teams are able to reduce risk by delivering working software frequently. This allows them to identify and fix problems early in the development process.

Some of the challenges of using Agile methodology include:

  • It can be difficult to manage: Agile projects can be more difficult to manage than traditional projects because they are more flexible and adaptable.
  • It can be difficult to get everyone on board: Agile requires a change in mindset for everyone involved in the project. This can be difficult to achieve, especially if the team is not familiar with Agile methodology.
  • It can be difficult to scale: Agile is not always the best choice for large or complex projects. In these cases, a more traditional approach may be more appropriate.

3. Similarities between SDLC and Agile

  • Both SDLC and Agile are iterative processes. This means that the software is developed in small increments, and each increment is tested and improved before the next increment is started.
  • Both SDLC and Agile emphasises communication and collaboration. The development team, the users, and other stakeholders need to communicate and collaborate effectively in order to produce high-quality software.
  • Both SDLC and Agile require planning. The development team needs to plan the project carefully in order to ensure that it is completed on time and within budget.
  • Both SDLC and Agile require testing. The software needs to be tested thoroughly to ensure that it is free of defects.
  • Both SDLC and Agile are designed to produce high-quality software.
  • Both SDLC and Agile involve documentation. The documentation of the development process in both two methodologies includes requirements, design and testing.
  • Both SDLC and Agile involve feedback. Feedback from stakeholders during the development process can help the software development team ensure that their product meets the users’ requirements and expectations.

4. SDLC vs Agile: Which one is better for your business?

To choose the better one, first, we have a table that represents the difference between SDLC and Agile to help you compare them. Let’s take a look:

DefinitionA process that defines the steps involved in the creation of softwareA methodology that emphasises iterative development, customer collaboration, and responding to change
PhasesEach phase must be completed before the next phase can beginPhases can overlap and can be repeated as needed
PlatformIt supports any kind of product or software application developmentIt supports any type of products by splitting into incremental builds
FlexibilityLess flexible and adaptableMore flexible and adaptable
Project typeAny size project is suitableSmaller or less complex project
ApproachPredictive approachAdaptive approach
ChangesForbid changes after the release of the final productFree to make changes after the initial release after gathering feedback
TestingOnly done when development is completePerform testing at various stages of the development process
BudgetSpends a lot since testing is done at the end of the projectUse less money because testing is performed frequently
DeliveryDeliver as a complete packageDeliver small pieces of larger projects
StructureHighly regimentedFlexible
TimingUses phases of indeterminate lengthOrganised into time-boxed sprints
DocumentationMore documentation is requiredLess documentation is required
User focusNot a priorityVery important, with User Stories and User Testing
UsageTo organise the management of the software developmentTo improve flexibility and adapt to the requirement changes of the project
ReleaseA single release process Multiple repeated releases
RequireClose project manager involvementClose customer involvement
EmphasisOn planningOn collaboration and communication

The best software development methodology for your business will depend on a number of factors, including the size and complexity of your project, the needs of your users, and the preferences of your team. However, SDLC and Agile are two of the most popular methodologies, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the best approach to software development will depend on the specific project. However, both of two methodologies can be valuable methodologies for producing high-quality software.

Here are some additional factors to consider when choosing between SDLC and Agile:

  • The size and complexity of the project: SDLC is generally a better fit for large or complex projects, while Agile is a better fit for smaller or less complex projects.
  • The needs of the users: If the users need to be able to provide feedback early and often, Agile is a better choice.
  • The preferences of the team: If the team is more comfortable with a traditional approach, SDLC is a better choice.


In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which software development methodology is better. The best approach will depend on the specific project and the needs of the business. However, both SDLC and Agile can be valuable methodologies for producing high-quality software. The most important thing is to choose a methodology that fits your team and your project. There is no right or wrong answer, and what works for one team may not work for another.

However, if you are still not sure which methodology is right for your business, it is a good idea to consult with a software development expert. They can help you assess your specific needs and recommend the best approach for your project. AgileTech offers a consulting service for you right now. When you choose to work with AgileTech, you will receive huge tech support as we got 8 years of software development experience with multiple methodologies. We have a proven record of building high-quality products for clients around the world, using various methodologies. If you need further information and consultation for your project, feel free to fill out this form to meet our IT experts!