Businesses are trying to go agile to meet the modern demand of customers. Now, some studies suggest that an agile methodology may be more effective for you - but that's not always. In some cases, traditional approaches may also turn out effective.
In this regard, the waterfall methodology still holds firm ground in many industries. They use the project management approach to attain business objectives and generate profits.
So, what is the waterfall model? What are its pros and cons?
Should you be considering the methodology for your business?
Let's find out.
The waterfall model was first introduced to establish an approach to building a system. However, the methodology soon clicked with managers who found it excellent for project management.
The waterfall method falls under the linear progress approach. Development happens in stages which resemble a cascading waterfall.
A stage needs to be completed, and only then can you start the next phase. As a result, the waterfall approach suits the needs of many industries, such as construction and tech.
Most importantly, the waterfall methodology became highly popular in the software development industry. Businesses started implementing the model to develop quality products.
The waterfall approach is a comprehensively structured model and works for many people. As a result, it is still in use worldwide, even in the push for going agile.
The waterfall method is divided into five or more stages based on the company's needs. Let's take a look at the primary stages, drawing examples from software development projects:
The waterfall approach encourages the gathering of all project requirements in the beginning. A project manager generally works with the client to understand all product specifications.
Additionally, all the requirements are noted in a single document that outlines all the phases. The document also contains information on different aspects like:
Software developers will now try to design solutions after they are aware of the project requirements. This phase generally contains two stages:
In the case of project management, the design phase may lay out the project's scope.
Any waterfall project schedule will need around 20-40% of time investment in the first two phases. The remaining time will be spent on testing and implementation. Developers will need detailed procedures and need to regulate all aspects.
The hard work of developers generally ends with the design phase with sound research. Now comes the turn of coding the software following the project requirements and specifications.
Additionally, developers perform testing before they implement any code. If anything needs changing, we have to start fresh from the design stage.
The verification stage involves ensuring the product meets all project requirements and contains no bugs. Developers rely on test cases to verify the implementation they created in the stage before.
Additionally, the client may also verify if the product meets all their requirements.
Developers will now deploy the product in the specified environment. Additionally, they will invest their efforts in maintaining the system for the client.
Additionally, developers may entertain requests for changes from users. They may release new versions and updates to improve the product's performance.
The waterfall approach to project management brings many benefits to the table. The list includes:
The waterfall approach has a few cons that don't make it suitable for all projects. The disadvantages include:
The waterfall methodology is fit for certain types of projects as it's a linear model. The methodology suits projects that have clear requirements from the beginning.
In addition, the requirements should also be less likely to change.
Moreover, the waterfall method is perfect for projects where you are aware of the following upfront:
However, the waterfall approach does not encourage too much collaboration. Therefore, managers and developers should rely on project management tools like ReSkript. It allows you to share documents, collaborate online, and stay on the same page.
The waterfall methodology is a linear project management approach. You can implement it for projects with clear requirements and scope. The model is popular with many businesses that deal with IT and construction. You can also decide if the waterfall method is right for you after evaluating your project and its scope.