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Comparing Waterfall vs Agile Development Methodology: Which Is Better?

Learn what makes Waterfall and Agile different from one another in the realm of software development. Examine both options to see which works best with your project.
Waterfall Vs Agile Development Methodology | Software Development | Binmile

When initiating a development project, the selection of the project methodology becomes crucial, often leading to debates due to the involvement of two widely recognized approaches. Simply put, the development methodology ensures how to plan the project tasks and their execution.

Agile and waterfall, the two predominant development methods, are extensively used in software development services and project management. The main distinction lies in how we sequence project activities. On one hand, waterfall projects adhere to a linear progression, and on the other hand, agile projects incrementally execute tasks.

Each methodology presents its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the choice between them heavily relies on the nature of the project and various other factors.

Waterfall Development Methodology

The waterfall technique is a way of making software that is very sequential and has six different steps. The team must complete each step in a specific order. They cannot start the subsequent step without finishing the preceding one.

To be more precise, it is the most desirable and traditional way to manage a project. Every participant has their set roles and none of the sequential phases require any changes. For detailed and lengthy projects that require a single timeline, this methodology proves to be the best.

Waterfall Development Methodology | Binmile

To apprehend more, let’s understand the 6 phases!

Six Phases of the Waterfall Development Methodology

  1. The Conception Phase – During the first part, “conception,” developers come up with ideas and decide what they want to build and why they want to build. As a matter of fact, this lays the groundwork for the project.
  2. The Analysis Phase – The next step is the start-up and research setting. Here, developers gather and document all the system and software specifications for their software development job.
  3. The Design Phase – Moving on, as developers move into the planning phase, they actively figure out how the software is supposed to work and which parts need to be coded. Basically, they estimate what hardware they’ll be using and what’ll be the user interface.
  4. The Coding Phase – Post the design phase, the building and coding process initiates. Developers start writing code for each part of the software and keep testing and integrating it based on the software architecture they assessed in the design phase.
  5. The Testing Phase – Once the building process falls in line, the system is put through a lot of testing. The methods include testing the whole system, testing with users, and most importantly testing for bugs. This way, it is easy to find problems and fix them.
  6. The Implementation Phase – The last step is to where to put the plan into action. We either deliver the finished output to the customer or release it to a wider user base in the system.

Also Read: Latest Software Development Models

Usefulness of Waterfall Development Methodology

Even though Agile methods are becoming more popular in product development services, you shouldn’t think of the Waterfall method as “bad” or “outdated.” On the whole, when you are implementing the waterfall project development process, you are creating documentation every step of the way.

The aforementioned project management offers considerable benefits, including:

  • A Set Framework – Firstly, it provides a clear framework. Before the project initiates, there is a thorough understanding of its timeline and deliverables. The custom software development team and customers agree upon the full scope of the project well in advance.
  • Documentation – Second, documentation plays a crucial role since every step is documented along the way. Consequently, this minimizes the likelihood of any shortcuts or misunderstandings.
  • Sharing The Load – Third, the workload is easy to share between the development team. Depending on the phase, individual team members devote their time and concentration to different aspects of their work.
  • Hands-off Policy – In the same way, the fourth benefit gives the customer a chance to do less. Once the basic design and project plan are in place, the customer only needs to be there occasionally until the review phase.

Read Further: Top 10 Software Development Trends

Drawbacks Involved in Water Development Methodology

If there are pluses, there ought to be some minuses too. There are a number of points with this methodology that make it impractical for use in all teams and all situations.

  • Minimal Customer Involvement – The hands-off nature of this method may make consumers less likely to take part. Some clients won’t like this, and they’ll want more input as the project moves forward. Customers and the development team might feel uneasy if there isn’t a way for them to take part.
  • Changes Can Be Hard – Changes are hard to make when you use the flow method. The methodology is all about following a set plan and set of rules. Once these elements are in place, it’s harder for the development team to make changes when they hit a roadblock. When making software, it’s important to be flexible because clients may not fully understand the scope of the project before work starts.
  • Favoring Last Minute Testing – When the waterfall method is in use, testing is often done at the very end. Because it is not time-bound like Agile, the waterfall method is more likely to trigger project delays. During the coding phase, you might run into the 90/10 rule, which says that the first 90% of the code takes up the first 90% of the development time. The leftover 10% of code takes up the other 90% of development time. Limited time for the final round of testing often leads to increased chances of introducing bugs during development.

Also Read: What is Software Development Process?

Agile Development Methodology

One way to sum up the key distinction between the agile and waterfall methodologies is to say that the former prioritizes planning in advance, and the latter prioritizes flexibility and stakeholder input. Simply put, agile methodology is all about delivering small pieces of software rapidly to enhance customer satisfaction.

Many different ways exist for conducting agile development, but they all share certain commonalities. Scrum and Kanban are two of the most well-known Agile systems. In fact, they both work on their own, which keeps the focus on the customer and lets them use the resources they have to track the task’s progress at each step.

Taking all factors into account, the agile process emphasizes teamwork and swift task completion. In agile software development services, a big job is broken down into smaller, easier-to-handle tasks. In agile development, we call the ‘time-boxed’ stages ‘sprints,’ and they usually have a duration of only a couple of weeks. After each iteration or sprint, we incorporate the lessons learned into the creation of the next iteration.

Agile Development Methodology | Software Development Services | Binmile

Seven Core Principles of Agile Development Methodology

  1. Adaptability: Agile development underlines how important it is to change design, architecture, requirements, and outputs along the way.
  2. Customer Involvement – This necessitates close collaboration between the customer and the development team since the design and deliverable units change.
  3. Lean development: It focuses on getting the end product as simple as possible. If two steps instead of five give the same output, agile development will build the software that way.
  4. Collaboration: As was previously noted, teamwork is key to the agile methodology. Teams should carry the responsibility to continuously assess their own performance and make adjustments to the agile project as they go. Given that two minds are always better than one, it’s no surprise that Extreme Programming encourages its writers to collaborate.
  5. Time: Time is handled differently in agile development, with work being broken down into minute-long increments. Here, we are now talking about those “time-boxed sprints” we mentioned before.
  6. Sustainability: Agile development emphasizes maintaining a sustainable pace over the course of the project, rather than prioritizing speed at the expense of completion.
  7. Testing: Agile approaches necessitate testing at each and every stage of the project, in contrast to waterfall methods where testing is done at the end.

Read More: Agile Test-driven development

Usefulness of Agile Development Methodology

The success of the project and the happiness of the client are at the heart of agile development’s advantages. Adapting to the agile method can be challenging, but for the proper development team, the effort involved may be well worth it.

  • Stakeholder Involvement – Adopting an agile methodology facilitates and promotes constant communication between the project’s development team and the client.
  • Flexibility – In an agile framework, you can change deliverables based on the goals of the stakeholders. In simpler terms, agile allows customers to utilize unfinished software versions before the release of the final, completed version.
  • Adaptability – This is one of the main benefits of rapid development that we’ve already talked about. As users learn more about what they want from the software, development can change sprint goals.
  • User-Friendly Product – When utilizing the agile method, the team tends to produce higher quality products that are easier to use because they incorporate feedback from users after each sprint.

Learn More: Smart Test Automation with Agile

Drawbacks Involved in Agile Development Methodology

Like any other development method, agile may not work well in some situations or with some teams. These extra problems can be solved with planning and a product development services team that works hard.

  • Devoted Commitment – Dedicated team members are essential to the success of an agile development project, something that isn’t the case with the waterfall method. This might be difficult for firms doing a lot of development at once. At the same time, it could be difficult for developers to work alone.
  • Potential for Longer Deadlines – Although time-boxed sprints enable planning, there is always the possibility that the team will not finish some deliverables by the deadline. It’s an obvious fact of building anything. Extending the project to accommodate additional sprints can result in increased costs for the customer.
  • Communication – Because of the emphasis on teamwork inherent in the agile development technique, open lines of communication are essential for the successful implementation of any such endeavor.

Read Further: Infuse Design Thinking in Software Development

Which is Better: Waterfall or Agile?

Waterfall Vs Agile Development Methodology | Pros and Cons | Binmile

Which way of development you choose for your enterprise software company – waterfall or agile – depends on a number of important factors. Waterfall may be appropriate when a customer can’t or won’t easily give comments all the time. Projects with a set scope, budget, and dispersed team will benefit the most from this approach.

Agile works better for bigger, more complicated projects where customer feedback is easy to get. It is ideal for projects with constantly changing requirements due to its inherent flexibility.

Irrespective of the development methodology chosen, a well-trained team that adheres to all rules is essential for ensuring a successful project. If you need assistance in determining the most profitable project management method for your business, feel free to contact us!

Ashish Aggarwal
Ashish Aggarwal
Head of Delivery

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