1. Introduction

V-shaped software development follows a structured approach that prioritizes validation and verification. Define requirements first, then design and implement them. After that, test and maintain the software.

This approach ensures that each stage receives thorough validation before moving forward. By following this method, software developers minimize the risk of errors and rework, leading to a well-designed and tested software product. The focus remains on meeting customer requirements and satisfying end-user needs, resulting in a positive software experience.

As the team processes the stages one after one it isn’t an Agile-based framework. We can say it’s a modification of the Waterfall model. In this article, we elaborate on the V-shaped model, its principles, and its pros and cons. Finally, we’ll also compare it to the Agile approach.

2. Definition

As we mentioned, the V-shaped model prioritizes validation and verification. The V-model is a graphical representation of the systems development lifecycle, incorporating both rigorous development models and project management models.

When using the V-model, the main steps and corresponding deliverables in the computerized system validation framework or project life cycle development become clear. The model outlines the activities to be executed and the results that must be obtained during product development.

On the left side of the V symbol, the team decomposes requirements and creates system specifications. On the right side, they integrate parts and validate them. However, it’s crucial to first validate requirements against higher-level requirements or user needs. Furthermore, validating system models can also partially occur on the left side. It’s wrong to claim that validation only occurs on the right side.

Verification always aligns with the requirements, while validation aligns with the real world or user needs. Thus, the requirements must first be validated or confirmed to be true, and then the final product must be verified to ensure it meets those requirements.

The validation part helps to answer the question: “are we building the right thing?”. On the other hand, the verification part answers: “are we building it right?”.

Below we can see the graphical representation of the V-model:


3. Stages

The “V” shape represents the sequential and interdependent phases of the process, with the arms of the V pointing upwards, symbolizing the upward movement from one phase to another. In this section, we’ll elaborate on each stage in detail.

3.1. Requirements Definition

In the V-shaped model, the software development team kicks off the process with the requirements definition stage. During this stage, they work hand in hand with stakeholders to identify and specify both the functional and non-functional requirements of the software.

The importance of this phase cannot be overstated as the requirements lay the groundwork for the rest of the development journey. By guiding the design and implementation phases, the team ensures that the final product fully satisfies the customer’s needs and expectations.

3.2. Design and Implementation

The design and implementation phase of the V-shaped model is a crucial stage in the software development process. After the requirements are defined in the previous stage, the software development team moves on to transform them into a detailed design for the software.

Firstly, in the design phase, the team considers multiple key factors such as architecture, scalability, performance, and user experience. Subsequently, they create a blueprint for the software that incorporates all these elements.

Next, the implementation phase commences, where the team brings the design to life by writing code, developing and integrating software components, and performing testing and debugging.

Throughout this phase, the team works to ensure that the software meets the requirements defined in the first stage, while also ensuring that it is scalable, performs optimally, and provides a good user experience.

3.3. Testing and Maintenance

The V-shaped model’s next phase is the testing and validation stage. The software development team rigorously tests the software to ensure it meets the requirements and functions correctly. They perform both functional and non-functional testing.

Functional testing verifies that the software performs the intended tasks (e.g. unit testing, integration testing), while non-functional testing verifies performance and quality criteria (e.g. load testing, usability testing). Below, we can see a chart representing three more important testing techniques in V-model:

If the stakeholders confirm that the software meets their requirements during validation, the team proceeds to the final stage. But if the testing and validation stage reveals any issues, the team must fix them first.

In the final stage, the maintenance and support stage, the software development team deploys and uses the software. They provide ongoing support to maintain the software’s intended function and address any arising issues. They also perform regular maintenance to keep the software up-to-date and secure:


4. Pros and Cons

The V-model is a widely used software development lifecycle model that has several advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of the V-model include:

  • Clear Stages: The V-model clearly outlines each stage of the software development process, making it easy to understand and follow
  • Strong Emphasis on Testing: The V-model integrates testing, catching issues early in the development process and reducing the need for rework later on
  • Better Communication: The V-model improves communication between stakeholders and the development team by clearly defining the requirements, design, and testing stages

However, the V-model also has some disadvantages:

  • Inflexibility: The rigid process does not allow for much deviation from the predetermined steps, making it difficult to respond to changes in the development process
  • Time-consuming: The long and complex process can take a significant amount of time to complete, making it a disadvantage in fast-paced or rapidly changing environments
  • High Cost: The emphasis on testing and validation in the V-model results in a higher cost compared to other software development models

In conclusion, the V-model is a well-structured software development process that can lead to high-quality software, but it is important to consider its limitations and decide whether it is the right fit for a particular project

5. Other Software Development Lifecycles

Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) models are frameworks that provide a structured approach to software development. There are several SDLC models available, including:

  • Waterfall: The Waterfall model is a sequential process where each stage must be completed before moving on to the next. This model is straightforward and easy to understand but does not allow for much flexibility
  • Agile: The Agile model emphasizes flexibility and collaboration, with a focus on delivering working software quickly and responding to changing requirements. This model is well-suited for projects that require rapid iteration and frequent feedback
  • Crystal: The Crystal model is a flexible and adaptive model that takes a human-centered approach to software development. This model prioritizes communication and collaboration, with an emphasis on delivering high-quality software
  • Scrum: The Scrum model is a popular Agile methodology that focuses on delivering working software through small, incremental releases. It emphasizes teamwork, continuous improvement, and frequent delivery
  • Kanban: The Kanban model is a visual method for managing work, where tasks are represented by cards on a board. It emphasizes continuous flow, reducing work in progress, and delivering high-quality software

These are just a few of the most popular SDLC models, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The choice of model will depend on the specific needs of the project and the team involved.

6. Summary

The V-model emphasizes testing throughout the development process and is a software development methodology involving a sequential process with clearly defined stages and an emphasis on verification and validation.

The V-model offers several advantages, including reducing risks, improving quality, better control and monitoring, and enhancing documentation. However, it also has limitations, including inflexibility, high initial costs, and slow delivery time.

When compared to other software development life cycle (SDLC) models such as the Waterfall model, Agile, and DevOps, the V-model is best suited for projects with a clear and stable set of requirements.

The Waterfall model is also sequential, but it does not emphasize testing as strongly as the V-model. In contrast, Agile and DevOps are iterative and flexible, but they may not provide the level of documentation and control required in some industries.

In conclusion, the V-model is a well-established SDLC model with its own strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, evaluating the project requirements and industry standards is important to determine whether the V-model is the best approach or if another SDLC model would be more suitable for the project.

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