WEB Application Development Methods in Japan

In recent years, Japanese companies have come to see a lot of agile development including scrum development when developing web applications.

Even in GTalent, which is a Japanese recruitment agency for foreign IT engineers, the requirements for people who have experience in Scrum development are increasing for job offers requested by our client’s companies.

In this article, “How much agile development is prevalent in Japan? and “Which method is mainly used compared to overseas?”. We would like to explain the prevalence of Japanese agile development compared to overseas.

If you are an IT engineer thinking about changing jobs and want to check the trends of Japanese company development methods or, if you want to know the usage situation of Scrum development in Japan, please use it as a reference.

WEB Application Development Methods

First, We would like to explain the development methods that are used mainly in Japanese system development sites.

Waterfall Model Development

Waterfall development is one of the oldest development methods used by engineers. It is a method to proceed to the next process while checking all the functions added to the application step by step according to the following flow.

Requirements ⇒ Design ⇒ Implementation ⇒ Verification ⇒ Maintenance

In this type, all of the processes are divided when making one system, so the biggest feature is that you cannot go back if you need to make corrections. Due to this feature, it is often used when quality is required from the beginning rather than speed.

For example, it is used for products whose specifications are completely determined by large-scale system development such as business systems and large-scale services, and which are unlikely to be changed in the middle, or projects which delivery date or fixed budgets.

Agile Model Development

Unlike the waterfall type, agile type development is a flexible development method. The objective of this method is to release the product as quickly as possible and then proceed to improve it.

Reference image: Medium.com / Agile&Waterfall Model Development

With the agile model, once the specifications have been decided to a certain extent, the greatest feature is to complete the product by repeating the above process several times in anticipation of subsequent requirement changes and modifications and according to the needs of the business.

Scrum type development

Scrum type development is the most famous development method among agile development, and for Japanese companies scrum development = agile development.
Scrum development is one framework for agile development that has been proposed to eliminate “waste” in application development.

Elements of Scrum-Model Development

The basic flow of scrum-model development is briefly summarized below.

  1. Prioritize products and proceed with development in that order
  2. The process is done by separating development within a fixed period (1 to 4 weeks, this period is called “Sprint”)
  3. The task is managed by the development members daily, and reviews are made to stakeholders in sprint units.
  4. Repeat steps above 1 to 3, and make confirmations and corrections to the stakes holder each time.
  5. Deliver the product

As mentioned earlier, this is a development method used to reduce the “waste” of the process of application development, so it is difficult to read the end period of the product.

Status of Development Methods in Japan and Overseas

Many people could think that the same method is used in IT-related system development all over the world. There are some cases where the development methods used in Japan are different overseas, and of course, they’re cases the overseas methods are slow than Japan.

From now on, We would like to talk about what is a mainstream in application development methods in Japan and overseas.

Japanese Development Methods

According to a survey conducted by Gartner Japan, 43% of Japanese companies use a waterfall type development method for application development.

One of the reasons for this is that Japanese companies focus not only on the results but also on the process, another one is they think that the waterfall type is easier to grasp the period and budget than the agile type. However, to secure a large number of engineers to carry out the work, in Japan, where IT engineers are currently in short supply, big companies are reconsidering the waterfall type development method.

Translation from Japanese to English at above graph.

  • ウォーターフォール型開発手法 → Waterfall Development
  • アジャイル型開発手法 → Agile Development
  • 反復型開発手法 → Iterative and Incremental Development
  • IT部門関与しないビジネス主導の開発 → Business-led development without IT involvement

Reference :Gatner Japan / Application Development Survey

Overseas Development ethods

According to Lvivity, which develops custom software for business, the mainstream overseas, unlike Japan, is agile development, which can flexibly satisfy the demands of the business side.

The most popular agile framework is Scrum development, which teams up with customers and the business side of the company to get regular feedback. In the US and other countries, there are many cases where in-house development is performed, so it seems that the method that allows easy software changes is selected.

Reference:Lvivity / Software Development Methodologies


These days the main development methods are different between Japan and overseas, but the number of companies using agile type in Japan is increasing year by year. Given that tendency, it seems important to have experience with Scrum-type development methods to build a career as an engineer.

If you are an application engineer or a foreigner who is looking for IT-related jobs in Japan, please register with G Talent, a recruitment agency specializing in foreign IT engineers. A professional consultant will support you in changing jobs for free.