Source: Freepik

In order to ensure that the final output is of good quality, software projects follow a methodology of precisely defined processes called the software development life cycle (SDLC). SDLC defines the phases involved in the software development at each stage. There are usually six to seven stages in the process. Both waterfall and agile development are the most common software development methodologies; however, each has distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Traditionally, engineering systems were developed using the waterfall project management approach based on manufacturing and construction projects. Before moving on to the next phase of software development, it is necessary to examine and verify the specialized activities done in the previous step. The waterfall approach flows from one stage to the next like a cascade. This process is linear and sequential.

On the other hand, people, outcomes, cooperation, and a willingness to adapt to change are the hallmarks of the Agile way of developing software. As a result, rather than designing the entire project, it breaks it down into smaller, more manageable chunks that are accomplished in iterations or short periods. A working product is produced at the end of each iteration of the SDLC, which comprises all aspects of the process. A new or improved product is released after multiple iterations.

What Exactly Is the Waterfall Development Method?

Requirements gathering and analysis, design and development, coding and testing, system and user acceptability testing, and deployment are all part of the Waterfall approach to project management. The development team must finish the preceding step before the following phase may begin.

Acquiring as much information as possible at the beginning is important so that the plans, timetables, budget, and resources can be developed efficiently. Since a detailed plan governs this project, any alterations made after it has gotten underway will result in a re-start.

What Are the Advantages of a Waterfall Methodology?

Following are some of the advantages of using a waterfall approach:

  1. Since the project’s deliverables were already decided at the outset, one can observe streamlined planning and designing.
  2. A systemic approach to design yields superior results.
  3. The scope of the project is clearly defined in the beginning.
  4. Cost-effectiveness.
  5. Progress is easily measurable.
  6. The roles and responsibilities of the team members are clarified in the beginning.
  7. It’s possible to have multiple people working on the same project at once.

What Are the Drawbacks of the Waterfall Approach?

Along with the advantages, there are some flaws in the waterfall approach as well. Due to this, newer development approaches have emerged to address those issues.  Here are the disadvantages of using the waterfall approach:

  1. One can only fix the errors during the phase.
  2. Not a good software development methodology for object-oriented or complex projects.
  3. A lack of involvement leads to customer dissatisfaction.
  4. It is not a good idea to use a sequential technique for a large-scale project whose ultimate result is far away.
  5. The testing is performed only in the last stages of the project.

Focusing first on your company objectives is a better approach to software development. In this way, teams can pick and choose, adapt, and even customize the finest hybrid approaches to suit their requirements.

What Is Agile Development?

An agile software development approach stresses the speedy deployment of a working application with an emphasis on customer satisfaction. When it comes to sprints, it specifies that they should last for two weeks at a time.

Based on client feedback, a prioritized list of deliverables is created at the beginning of each sprint. Ending a sprint is a time for both developers and customers to examine and discuss their progress. Types of the agile methodology include basic principles-based approaches like Scrum and Kanban and more particular methods based on workflows.

Advantages of the Agile Approach
Source: Pexels

What Are the Advantages of the Agile Approach?

Benefits of Agile such as these are well-known:

  1. A more efficient software development process.
  2. Get real-time updates regarding the status of the project.
  3. Increased customer satisfaction as a result of a customer-centric approach.
  4. Willing to adapt to new circumstances.
  5. Allows teams to take charge of their own work.
  6. Improves the quality and speed of communication
  7. It’s ideal for projects that don’t have a set budget.

What Are the Drawbacks of Agile Development?

The following items are some of the disadvantages of agile:

  1. A high level of customer involvement is required by agile, which not all customers are comfortable with or would desire to provide.
  2. The notion of self-management is undermined if every project team member isn’t fully committed.
  3. There may be too many deliverables to fit into a time-boxed strategy, necessitating reorganization and more sprints, which would increase the overall cost.
  4. Agile recommends co-location; however, that’s not always practicable.

How Do Agile and Waterfall Work Differently?

It is possible to generate excellent project management using either method. An agile or waterfall approach may be more appropriate for a development team to produce a successful software project, depending on the project requirements. The following are just examples of the many variations:

  1. The waterfall approach is a straightforward and sequential technique, whereas the agile approach is an iterative and incremental one.
  2. A project is broken into sprints in agile and stages in the waterfall model.
  3. The waterfall model aids in completing a single large project, while the agile model aids in achieving numerous smaller ones.
  4. The waterfall approach focuses on effective project delivery, but agile brings a product mindset focused on customer happiness.
  5. In the agile model, demands are prepared daily, whereas needs are prepared once at the beginning of a waterfall project.
  6. Agile allows for changes in demands at any time, but the waterfall model does not allow for scope modifications.
  7. In an agile project, testing is done concurrently with development; in a waterfall project, testing is done only after the build phase.
  8. Agile teams can participate in demand change, while the teams following the waterfall approach do not.
  9. In contrast to the waterfall approach, which necessitates the presence of a project manager at every stage, the agile method allows the project team to function effectively without one.

The Final Verdict

The bottom line is that different projects benefit from agile and waterfall approaches. The waterfall is a good choice if you know what exactly you want to achieve from the beginning of the project. When a project must adhere to rigorous requirements, the waterfall model is a preferable option because it demands each step to be completed before moving on to the next.

On the other hand, agile is a better fit for the teams who plan to move quickly, experiment with direction, and don’t know what the final product will look like before they begin. This approach is adaptable and requires a team of self-motivated and collaborative members and regular updates from business owners and stakeholders.

But what do you think would be the best approach for your business? Well, our technical experts can help you if you have doubts about that. Get in touch with us today to discuss your software requirements and objectives.

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