Waterfall vs. Agile (Part 2): Pros and Cons of the Waterfall Approach - Sevaa Group

Last week we introduced you to the basics of the Waterfall and Agile methods for planning the development process. For part two of this development methodologies series, we’ll introduce you to the pros and cons of the Waterfall approach.

In case you forgot, the Waterfall method is more traditional and technical than the Agile approach. This method utilizes six steps that must be followed in order to complete the project with efficiency. If you’re thinking about using this approach, check out the pros and cons of the Waterfall methodology.

Diagram of the Waterfall approach.

Pros of the Waterfall Approach

Clear and Defined Set of Steps

  • Since you’ll be using the output of one step as the input of the next one, completing each task in order is very important in this approach. You can easily identify any issues because you’ll be reviewing your progress at each step. Additionally, there’s no learning curve with this set of steps.

Goal Commitment

  • Before starting a Waterfall-based project, you must commit to a goal. Doing this helps your team keep sight of the end product. With strictly enforced steps in the Waterfall method, you can quickly get lost in the work and forget what the goal is.

Enforced Discipline

  • The Waterfall method requires a clearly defined start and end date. This forces your development team to be efficient in order to complete the project by the due date. With a deadline in mind, it’s important to keep track of the project’s progress. Each step is a milestone towards the finished product. The Waterfall method nurtures efficiency and timeliness.

Easily Transferred Information

  • The first step of this method is to define the parameters of the project. Since the development team documents all information from the beginning, sharing information between team members happens quickly. This way, everyone on the team stays organized and accountable.


Cons of the Waterfall Approach

Revision Difficulty

  • With a carefully planned design and timeline, revising what has already been created can be difficult in this approach. Before beginning the project, your development team determines parameters based on specific assumptions. This means your work might be considered a waste if there’s an unexpected change. This could alter the timeline, resulting in unhappy clients.

Client Exclusion

  • The Waterfall approach prioritizes efficiency and timeliness. This model includes very little client interaction once the project begins. Because the parameters are so clearly defined, the client is no longer needed once the project is underway. Giving the client a say in every step of the project could create a delay and throw off the timeline, essentially ignoring the basis of the Waterfall approach.

Testing Delay

  • Testing in the Waterfall approach generally doesn’t start until the latter half of the timeline. This can be very risky. If an issue arises and the project needs substantial modification, previous work might be discarded and the due date could be postponed.

The Waterfall approach offers structure to your project workflow and helps your team stay on track towards a common goal. However, sometimes adhering to such a strict process can make expected setbacks seems like major disruptions. Consider all of your options and discuss the strategy with your team before starting the project.

Sevaa Group has used aspects of the Waterfall method in our own approach to projects. We deliver projects that are complete and on time. Talk to us about working on your next project.

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