Agile vs Waterfall: History, Applications, and Differences Aha! software

As a result, software developers started combining old ideas with fresh ones until they came up with a solution that worked in their particular situation. This methodology requires a team that is fully committed to a collaborative approach and a skilled project manager that is able to define and assign sprints correctly. Issues with either the team or the manager can doom a project. Agile and waterfall are two well-known project management approaches.

  • By removing boundaries between departments and fostering a culture of trust and collaboration around shared objectives, an Agile/Scrum methodology can enhance organizational synergy.
  • ✅ Simplicity is at the core of agile projects – Agile projects are not complicated.
  • Before the next increment begins, the development team needs to plan the requirements again and revise the older plans if necessary.
  • As it follows initial documentation, it may or may not meet end-user expectations.

If the answer to these questions is not in the affirmative, you can certainly go ahead with agile project management methodology. Conversely, hourly or time and materials agreements are more flexible, but you must be a little more flexible with your budget as well. With time and materials, you have the option to use a more agile development methodology and which provides more freedom to make changes to the application during the development process. Because of this, it is often difficult to constrain the budget. As such, work reprioritization happens on the basis of customers’ feedback.

Making the Choice Between Agile and Waterfall

For best results, it is recommended to define the scope of client involvement during each iteration. ✅ Testing – Testing is done after every iteration when working with agile project management methodology. An agile process also begins with requirements gathering and planning. The product is expected to change throughout the development cycle.

Application of waterfall and agile methodologies

This way, you will be able to select and implement the best project management methodology for your business. Your final choice of selecting agile as your project management methodology depends on these key factors. Analyze each aspect of your project and select the methodology that complements your project requirements best. In this blog, we’ll delve into the two main types of project management methodologies — Agile and Waterfall.

Fixed Cost or Time & Materials?

Agifall model suggests graphic designing and testing in parallel with the development phase. Weighing the pros and cons of each methodology usually leads one to start considering a solution that combines the advantages of both according to the needs of the project. If the system is tested after complete development and a major bug is detected, the entire system needs to be rebuilt and the testing team is stalled till the bug is fixed.

While they may prefer the “sound” of rapid iteration and constant activity, they may not be comfortable with the lack of visibility and oversight required for Agile to thrive truly. Development is often more user-focused, likely a result of more and frequent direction from the customer. Leeron is a New York-based writer with experience covering technology and politics.

In Waterfall model, software development becomes a bit complex since the entire application is to be completed as one single project. It becomes a hectic job for developers and more hectic for testers when they begin testing a large application. Also, you must have understood when to use agile vs when to use waterfall.

Get out of your way and bring in hardworking, talented members to your team. Detailed documentation, makes it easier to improve your software if you plan to do so in the future. Everyone knows what they are in for because the project size, timeline and costs are determined from the get-go.


The iterative nature of Agile development may lead to a frequent refactoring if the full scope of the system is not considered in the intial architecture and design. Without this refactoring, the system can suffer from a reduction in overall quality. This becomes more pronounced in agile methodologies in software development larger-scale implementations, or with systems that include a high level of integration. The very high degree of customer involvement, while great for the project, may present problems for some customers who simply may not have the time or interest for this type of participation.

However, in most cases, especially for more extensive and complicated projects, it’s impossible to avoid any change of plans, so you might need to expect changes and make room for them. In contrast to Waterfall, Agile is more open to uncertain requirements and milestones. A project can start only with a tentative outline of what the end product needs to look like or how it needs to function. The development team can implement the customer’s plan as they consider fit and work with the customer to develop a product that satisfies them.

Application of waterfall and agile methodologies

The rest either don’t use a project management methodology at all or use them occasionally. It’s a classic IT methodology that has its advantages and disadvantages, just like any other. It once was the dominant software development method when software teams worked together for years, if not decades. Now that everything has changed, with teams fluctuating continuously, the Waterfall method has become forgotten,neglected, or even considered obsolete. Let’s look and compare both the Waterfall and Agile development methods to see if Waterfall is still relevant in the modern IT world. Crystal-clear plan of action – With waterfall project management, you work with a clear-cut plan of action.

Most application development methodologies can be grouped into one of three categories:

It gives you better insight into which methodology will work best for your projects. There are various hybrid models for the software development life cycle, and in this article I described two of them. The water-scrum-fall model, planning, budgeting and production is done following traditional approaches, whereas analysis, design, development and testing follows agile principles. Agifall, on the other hands, approaches waterfall methodology in an agile and user-centric way.

Customer provides user stories in each sprint and the job of the developer is to finish the coding and present a demo. If the customer is not satisfied with the product and requires more add-ons, he requests change in the application. Agile is thereby, more flexible in requirements than waterfall. Messed-up client handling – Clients have a crucial role to play in agile project development. However, their over-involvement in the process can mess up a lot of things. It can lead to rapid changes in the deliverables, more than what is feasible for the organization.

Before any project is started, the development team is expected to discuss requirements and the expected results with customers. The ultimate goal of any project management methodology is to satisfy the customers with a functioning product. In a nutshell, the main difference between Waterfall and Agile methodologies is their flexibility to change during product development and how they deliver products. With Waterfall, you need to gather requirements, plan each step of your product development, and complete them without circling back. In Agile, you have more freedom to start with undefined requirements and resources, make changes in your plans, and deliver your project incrementally rather than as a whole.

Before deciding on which methodology to use, take time to consider various factors with your development team. Do you have in-house developers, or are you working with a third-party development company? Do you need to make changes to your requirements during the development phase? All of these are factors that help you decide which methodology to choose for your project. Project requirements – Analyze what your project requirements are.

Just work with a single programmer and immediately see results. However, for large projects and applications, this isn’t always possible and requires breaking the project up with agile or waterfall methods. In some cases, your customers know exactly what they want from you. Usually, it works well for small projects when you have an exact model of the end product you want to make. Or in some cases, the customer can’t give an opinion about the product unless they receive the complete end product.

Waterfall Methodology

But on the downside, you will not find a second route towards project completion. There will be unexpected delays if the requirements are not clear at the beginning of the project which is the case in most of the larger projects. Only an outline of the requirement would be available initially and some requirements can only be developed after a few trial and errors. QA team gets ample amount of time to understand the requirements and create detailed test cases.

Next, it tunes and adjusts its behavior in line with the feedback. Developers and business people must collaborate daily during the project. User stories are descriptions of small features, and they should be included. Clients can give input at the end of each sprint rather than wait until the entire project is finished. The context of your project, your developer’s skill set and of course the project leader’s ability to make the right decision.

Waterfall vs. Agile: Choose the Best Project Management Methodology for Your Needs

Ideal for small-sized software projects with fewer complications. Easy management with specific goals and review for each stage. The project can easily go off track if the project manager is not clear what outcome he/she wants. Very difficult to move back to makes changes in the previous phases. It works well for smaller size projects where requirements are easily understandable. Since we want to help you out in considering which method is the best.

Disadvantages of Agile Methodology

If changes are expected, RAD will be able to accommodate these much faster than waterfall. RAD is also never too attached to a prototype and is always willing to change it to suit the needs of the customer. In the RAD model, as each iteration is completed, the product gets more and more refined.

Like any other practice, the two methodologies also come with their set of pros and cons. You can analyze how their given set of pros and cons will affect your management practice. The culture of your organization lacks openness and willingness to change. But, the inflexibility of a traditional waterfall approach is preventing you from delivering. An initial step to a hybrid approach – or multiple even smaller steps that slowly introduce agile processes – can be the first piece of moving to full agile.


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