In software engineering, a software development process is the process of dividing software development work into smaller, parallel or sequential steps or subprocesses to improve design, product management. It is also known as a software development life cycle (SDLC). The methodology may include the pre-definition of specific deliverables and artifacts that are created and completed by a project team to develop or maintain an application.
Most modern development processes can be vaguely described as agile. Other methodologies include waterfall, prototyping, iterative and incremental development, spiral development, rapid application development, and extreme programming.
A life-cycle “model” is sometimes considered a more general term for a category of methodologies and a software development “process” a more specific term to refer to a specific process chosen by a specific organization. For example, there are many specific software development processes that fit the spiral life-cycle model. The field is often considered a subset of the systems development life cycle.
The software development methodology (also known as SDM) framework didn’t emerge until the 1960s. According to Elliott (2004) the systems development life cycle (SDLC) can be considered to be the oldest formalized methodology framework for building information systems. The main idea of the SDLC has been “to pursue the development of information systems in a very deliberate, structured and methodical way, requiring each stage of the life cycle––from the inception of the idea to delivery of the final system––to be carried out rigidly and sequentially” within the context of the framework being applied. The main target of this methodology framework in the 1960s was “to develop large scale functional business systems in an age of large scale business conglomerates. Information systems activities revolved around heavy data processing and number crunching routines”.
Methodologies, processes, and frameworks range from specific proscriptive steps that can be used directly by an organization in day-to-day work, to flexible frameworks that an organization uses to generate a custom set of steps tailored to the needs of a specific project or group. In some cases, a “sponsor” or “maintenance” organization distributes an official set of documents that describe the process. Specific examples include:
- Structured programming since 1969
- Cap Gemini SDM, originally from PANDATA, the first English translation was published in 1974. SDM stands for System Development Methodology
- Structured systems analysis and design method (SSADM) from 1980 onwards
- Information Requirement Analysis/Soft systems methodology
- Object-oriented programming (OOP) developed in the early 1960s, and became a dominant programming approach during the mid-1990s
- Rapid application development (RAD), since 1991
- Dynamic systems development method (DSDM), since 1994
- Scrum, since 1995
- Team software process, since 1998
- Rational Unified Process (RUP), maintained by IBM since 1998
- Extreme programming, since 1999
- Agile Unified Process (AUP) maintained since 2005 by Scott Ambler
- Disciplined agile delivery (DAD) Supersedes AUP
It is notable that since DSDM in 1994, all of the methodologies on the above list except RUP have been agile methodologies – yet many organisations, especially governments, still use pre-agile processes (often waterfall or similar). Software process and software quality are closely interrelated; some unexpected facets and effects have been observed in practice 
Among these another software development process has been established in open source. The adoption of these best practices known and established processes within the confines of a company is called inner source.