Often times, as project managers or businesses that adopt project management methodologies and tools like Sinnaps project management software and the likes, you may become unsure as to what approach may work for you.


waterfall methodology


In part, this confusion may arise due to the plethora of strange terms often thrown around; waterfall methodology, waterfall strategy, waterfall development methodology, waterfall working model and the likes.

The best way however to satisfy your curiosity regarding what approach would be well suited for your business or project management needs would be learn how each method works, how it can simplify your daily workings by breaking down your project into a sequence of steps.

In this article, we will look at the waterfall methodology in project management, how do waterfalls work, as well as how it may be implemented to give your project an even greater chance at survival. Also, we will try to compare different methods; Agile vs waterfall project management, as well as see how the classic waterfall model in software engineering can bring improvements to software development processes.


Waterfall Methodology


In simple terms, the waterfall methodology employs a linear or sequential approach to managing projects. The waterfall methodology breaks an entire project into several discrete but interrelated phases, where each phase is dependent on the deliverables of the previous, and the next cannot begin until the preceding phase is complete. The approach requires that all customer and stakeholder requirements are collected at the start of the project to facilitate the creation of a logical and sequential waterfall workflow which will properly accommodate the project requirements.


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Waterfall Project Management


With waterfall project management, there is high specialization of tasks, as well as increased flexibility owing to the absence of iteration, allowing work flow largely in a downward direction, hence the term “waterfall”. Waterfall planning consists of phases or stages which include conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing as well as deployment and maintenance as is seen in the waterfall diagram.

The waterfall methodology examples for project management would be found in construction as well as manufacturing industries which take advantage of the terminal nature of projects in the waterfall project plan. For such a project as involving highly structured outputs, it may become very expensive to make changes in the waterfall schedule or design, as such the waterfall project management methodology is considered to have originated in the construction and manufacturing industries.


Agile Vs Waterfall Project Management


Still unsure about what method to adopt and implement; Agile vs waterfall project management approach? We have seen how the waterfall methodology works. In general, we can summarise as saying that it is a sequential process that breaks the development process into a series of project phases, in which each phase is considered to be terminal, and where the next doesn’t begin until the preceding phase is complete. Also, the absence of iteration means each stage is only carried out once.

In contrast, Agile differs from the waterfall software development methodology in that it makes use of iterative work cycles, sprints, agile meetings to define, conceptualize, build as well as deliver the deliverables of the project as promised.

Let’s consider certain differences between Agile vs waterfall project management methodologies (scrum vs waterfall approach):

  • Testing: In the waterfall methodology, testing comes towards the end of the project, while Agile allows for testing different pieces throughout the entire project. One major pitfall of testing at the tail end is the financial implications of starting a project anew, as well as time it might take.
  • Adaptability: Agile allows for much quicker response to change than waterfall. With waterfall, due to the possibility of late discoveries, changes could only be implemented by forcing the project to be carried out all over again.


Agile planning based on Critical Path Methodology:




Classical Waterfall Model in Software Engineering


The classical waterfall model in software engineering has been around for quite some time, hence the term “classical”. The sequential phases in the waterfall method of software development process make one of the most widely used, and finding application from construction, manufacturing and design to software development.

The various phases in classical waterfall model in software engineering include:

  • Requirements: This is the phase where the project needs are analysed, and different solutions brought forward for review by stakeholders.
  • Design: The design phase involves the creation of a design document from the solution chosen from the above step. The design document will include technical specifications, procedures and processes, criteria for testing, etc.
  • Implementation: This is where the design document is implemented by the project manager and the project team.
  • Testing: This phase tests the deliverable of the project against its acceptance criteria as put forward by the project owners and stakeholders. If it fails to meet their specifications, then the project team may be required to do a rework.
  • Installation: This is where the product of the project is released to the end user. The product must have passed the testing requirements
  • Maintenance: This includes providing necessary support, even after the installation process, should there be any malfunction. This phase also covers the issue of updates for such iterative waterfall model example project that may require it.

If you have determined that the waterfall methodology will be of help to your project, then by all means, try Sinnaps today, and get on the bandwagon as you join the millions of businesses and project managers who use this methodology to improve their projects.

 Easily find waterfall templates that you can customise to resonate with your business needs, as well as a whole lot of tools for an increased chance at success. 

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