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Home / Insights / Blog / Brownfield vs. Greenfield Development: What’s the Difference in Software?
September 27, 2018 - by John Wade
With software becoming one of the fastest and most dynamic industries, it requires developers to use appropriate software development tools and methodologies in order to develop products that meet the growing demands of modern businesses. Greenfield and Brownfield software development are two approaches to developing cutting-edge software. So, what are these approaches? How are they different? Is Greenfield development better for you, or should you consider a Brownfield project? Keep reading to find out the major differences between Brownfield and Greenfield projects.
Greenfield development refers to developing a system for a totally new environment and requires development from a clean slate – no legacy code around. It is an approach used when you’re starting fresh and with no restrictions or dependencies.
A pure Greenfield project is quite rare these days, you frequently end up interacting or updating some amount of existing code or enabling integrations. Some examples of Greenfield software development include: building a website or app from scratch, setting up a new data center, or even implementing a new rules engine.
Some of the greatest advantages of Greenfield development include:
As with anything, there can be cons to taking on a Greenfield project. Greenfield development disadvantages include:
Brownfield software development refers to the development and deployment of a new software system in the presence of existing or legacy software systems. Brownfield development usually happens when you want to develop or improve upon an existing application, and compels you to work with previously created code.
Therefore, any new software architecture must consider and coexist with systems already in place – so as to enhance existing functionality or capability. Examples of Brownfield development include: adding a new module to an existing enterprise system, integrating a new feature to software that was developed earlier, or upgrading code to enhance the functionality of an app.
Some of the largest advantages of Brownfield development include:
Brownfield projects do also have their own set of disadvantages. These include:
Software lies at the core of every product or service. So, choosing the right development approach is vital to the success of your software. Since greenfield software development carries a higher degree of risk, agile practices are often deemed the best approach. By developing software in small iterations and getting them in the hands of customers for quick feedback, they help with efficient handling of risks.
On the other hand, Brownfield projects are often built on a more stable infrastructure with confirmed business processes; therefore, they are less prone to risk. However, a substantial proportion of development effort is spent on understanding and integrating with the existing business landscape rather than delivering value. With Brownfield development too, the best way to ensure success is by using an iterative approach to refine existing logical and physical architecture and accelerate development, improve product quality, and minimize defects.
Although no one approach is better than the other, depending on whether you want to develop a new product from scratch or improve the functionality of an existing product, you need to choose the right approach for the best outcome. No matter how you settle on a Brownfield or Greenfield development approach, ensure you’re keeping your organization’s greatest needs in mind every step of the way.
Contact Synoptek to learn how our software product development services can shorten product lifecycles by up to 40%.
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