30th, Apr 2020

Predictive vs. Adaptive Development SDLC

When it is a matter of software development, choosing the right software model is extremely essential. Why is it that selecting the model is so important? Okay. Well,  there is a saying that “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Thus, the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) model is an essential element in planning a project.

So if we are to make a comparison between Predictive and Adaptive Development SDLC, then the comparison should be made on an evaluation of all the pros and cons of each model in the context of goals and aims of projects. Any software developer in India should have in-depth knowledge of these two forms of software development life cycles.

Predictive Development

Predictive, or Incremental, development is a method of software development where the model is rather designed, applied to or implemented, and examined, until all the product requirements have been satisfied. This model integrates the elements of the waterfall model along with the prototyping.

Now, this model delivers system components as and when they are completed. This also enables the partial utilization of product and prevents from the situation of a long development time. Now let us look into the positive sides of this model.


  • The predictive model delivers a working software product much more promptly and quickly than the adaptive model.
  • Risk management with this model is easier because potential obstacles are identified and handled rather initially itself.
  • It is much easier to test and debug during iterations of smaller pieces.
  • More flexible, as changes may be as well made to every increment.

Now what are the cons?


  • This model is in need of good planning and design.
  • A clear explanation and definition of the whole system is needed before it can be developed incrementally.
  • More and more efforts are required to combine all the individual components of the system.

When can the predictive model be used?

  • When the situation is such that the requirements are crystal clear and can be implemented in proper phases.
  • When there are some rather high-risk ends and goals or when the situation is such, that the product requires a new technology.

Adaptive Development

Adaptive life cycles are rather designed to iterate rapidly on those projects that are way more experimental and carry much less certainty. They’re heavily dependent on the contributions of the stakeholder. This approach is sometimes called the freeform software design. These approaches have relevance in the spectrum of mobile app development as well.

Why so?

Because it offers an incredibly flexible design model, promoting adaptive planning and evolutionary development when the end goal is not quite as concrete.

Now, what are the positive areas of Adaptive SDLC?


  • This model facilitates the evolving of requirements. Thus, alterations can be implemented very easily.
  • It actually enhances customer satisfaction through fast delivery.
  • Adaptive development allows active participation and interaction of the project stakeholders. This makes way for priority and accuracy based products development.

What are the Cons? Let us see.

  • Planning can be tedious and dubious.
  • The Project team members must be way too skilled and cross-skilled as well, as core teams are small.
  • The project can lose track if the customer is not clear on the required final outcome.

When to use the adaptive model?

  • When the objectives and goals of projects are not clearly enlisted and defined.
  • When it’s a requirement that the implementation process starts faster, and when the project calls for experimental software design.

Summing it all up

When it comes down to comparison, neither the predictive nor adaptive model is actually better than the other. Both approaches have their respective advantages and uses, and there can never be a right or wrong choice, atleast in this area.

To sum up, Incremental development are considered best for static projects, especially where the requirements are likely to remain the same, during the developmental process. On the contrary, adaptive models are considered to be a better option for projects in which alterations are likely to take place.