Abstract: The traditional software development methodologies are also known as “Heavy Weight” methodologies. They are based on a strict sequential series of steps such as requirement phase, implementation, testing and deployment. They require defining and documenting a stable set of requirements at the beginning of a project itself. The three most significant traditional methodologies are Waterfall, Spiral Model and Unified Process. Agile software development (ASD) is a new buzz word within software engineering community. These are also known as “Light Weight Methodologies”. Agile processes, or development methods, represent an apparently new approach for planning and managing software development projects. ASD differs from traditional approaches as it puts less emphasis on up-front plans and strict plan-based control and more on mechanisms for change management during the project. In this paper a study on characteristics of both traditional software development as well as agile software development (ASD) and the reasons for transition from traditional to agile development is done.

Keywords: Traditional software development; Heavy Weight Methodologies; Agile software development; Light Weight Methodologies.