The Waterfall Methodology focuses on a traditional and linear approach, where projects start at the first phase and only progress to the next when everything in the previous phase has been completed.
With this methodology, the requirements cannot be changed middle way. Hence, the projects must have an extended period of planning and up-front analysis to succeed. However, there is another model where iteration, flexibility, constant feedback, and adaptation are essential, the Agile Methodology.
The Agile Methodology is based on iterative and incremental development instead of a linear approach. The system is not built at once but developed incrementally. It relies on a very high level of customer involvement throughout every phase of the project. The phase, called “sprints”, has a specific duration with a list of deliverables planned in the beginning.
Waterfall Pros and Cons
- It is easy to understand and manage as stages are clearly defined.
- Meticulous record-keeping and documentation.
- The client knows what to expect.
- In the case of employee turnover, Waterfall’s strong documentation allows for minimal project impact.
- It often becomes rigid and resistant to change.
- It relies heavily on initial requirements. However, if these requirements are faulty in any manner, the project is doomed.
- The whole project is only tested at the end.
- The plan does not take into account a client’s evolving needs throughout the project cycle.
Agile Pros and Cons
- It allows for changes to be made after the initial planning stage.
- It is easier to add features that will keep the product up to date with the latest development in the industry.
- Project priorities are evaluated at the end of each sprint, which lets clients add their feedback.
- The testing at the end of each sprint ensures that the errors are caught in each cycle.
- This dynamic methodology is not suitable for processes that require complex decision-making of formal planning such as construction, manufacturing, military, health care systems among others.
- As the initial project does not have a definitive plan, the final product can be grossly different than what was initially intended.