September 4, 2019
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PAULINA ZIĘBA
PROJECT MANAGEMENT

WATERFALL: WHEN IS IT WORTH IT?

Next, to Agile, the Waterfall model is a software development process. It was also the first process model to be introduced. However, it’s not always right for your project. Let’s see what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages

1. Transparent structure of operations:

In the waterfall method, rules are transparent and they can't be modified in development. That's when each and every stage is implemented in turn and not even one can be skipped.

1. Specification of requirements

2. Analysis

3. Design

4. Development

5. Testing

6. Implementation and maintenance

2. Full documentation:

Waterfall always comes with well-made documentation which is the opposite of the agile approach. Agile focuses on faster delivery rather than full documentation. Whereas in waterfall, once the functionalities, activities, and problem handling have been planned, they don't get changed until the product is released.

3. Low chances of misunderstandings:

A huge advantage of the waterfall methodology is the knowledge about what, when and how things will be done. The budget, the scope of the project and schedule of activities for each stage are set very clearly. Transferring the project to another team or bringing in a new team member, or even any inaccuracies that happen during the development phase can be easily verified by means of documentation, as it explains what needs to be done and describes the goals of the project.

Disadvantages

1. The client doesn't participate too much later in the project

After the release, the waterfall method doesn't focus much on the client. Instead, the main focus is on creating a finished product which meets the initial assumptions and tries to prove the planned functionality.


2. You have to wait for the effects:

While in agile you get to see the effects right after each sprint, in waterfall you have to wait to see them until the development is over. This means that there is no room for corrections. Suggestions from the client before the software is completed. With that said, there’s also no way to show the app to the potential users in advance.

3. There's no way back to previous steps:

Once the project has started, any changes to the schedule are impossible. Therefore, anything that needs to be implemented will cause a significant change in the project and in turn, generate higher costs.

So when is waterfall the right method for your project?

Waterfall will be the right choice whenever there is an idea that is well laid out from the very start, i.e. from registration to finish, such as advanced operations of the app or exception handling. It's also the right software development method when you know that nothing more will be added at a later stage – this will significantly boost the efficiency of the whole process, and will ensure that the final product is reflected in the initial documentation that was created.


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