Waterfall vs. Agile: Which Methodology is Right for your Project?

Waterfall vs. Agile: Which Methodology is Right for your Project?

Waterfall vs Agile Methodology Banner

‘Don’t like reading? Click to Listen’

The right methodology is essential for the successful execution of your project. Waterfall and Agile are two methodologies that are commonly used by software development companies to execute projects. At a software development company like ours, the topic that undergoes a lot of discussion during the phase of project implementation is to decide between the two methodologies.

Ever heard of these two development methodologies? Well to put them in the simplest way, they are a way adopted by a Software Development Company to organize the work of software development. Through this guide, we will give you an insight into Agile and Waterfall Methodology along with their pros and cons.

Our aim is to help you make the right choice between the two. So, let’s get started.

Waterfall vs Agile; What’s the difference?

Waterfall and Agile are the two most celebrated and known software development methodologies. Agile is a cyclic process that promotes collaboration and allows teams to work simultaneously on different aspects of a project. Compared to this Waterfall, is a methodology that follows a specific sequence. In this methodology, the work is completed in a linear manner. Each phase is dependent on the deliverables of the previous phase.

Let’s study each one of them in detail to make the best pick for the successful execution of your project.

Getting to know the waterfall methodology

The waterfall methodology is the most traditional and earliest approach adopted by any software development company. It consists of several steps. It works in a linear fashion and adopts a top-down approach. Each step is dependent on the outcomes of the previous step.

Steps of a waterfall methodology

  • Gathering of data & requirements
  • Creation of system design 
  • Implementation 
  • Integration & test for functionality
  • Fixing issues 
  • Delivering the final product 
  • Maintenance

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of Waterfall 

Pros of waterfall methodology

  • It’s simple and easier to manage
  • Doesn’t require any specialized training
  • Better suited for smaller projects 
  • All the requirements and resources are identified beforehand
  • Detailed documentation is done for every process and result
  • Progress can be easily monitored since each step is predefined
  • Little to no change in the estimated budget

Cons of waterfall methodology

  • Requirement gathering is a trivial process and requires a lot of effort and time
  • The process will be ineffective if all of the requirements are not provided in the beginning.
  • Not at all recommended for large projects
  • Testing begins after the developmental phase is complete. Thus, this makes it more prone to bugs. Fixing bugs can be costly.
  • Customers are not made a part of the process since it is an internal one. 
  • Customers might be dissatisfied with the end product as everything is based on the requirements documents.
  • Customers at times are not able to comprehend or get the exact picture of the product. As everything is based on the requirements documents.
  • Changes if required at the end, after deliverables can be costly and difficult. 

Overview of Agile Methodology 

Agile methodology happens to be the most commonly used methodology at software development companies. This is due to its attribute of regular reiteration of development and testing at every step. The best part of this methodology is that it keeps its customers on board at all times. This methodology lets a software development company divide the project into sprints. Each sprint has its own defined duration and outcomes which are shared on a regular basis with its customers. Unlike waterfall, regular demos of the deliverables allow the project team and customers to review the work.   

Stages of Agile Methodology

The stages that a software development company follows in this methodology are:

  • Inception or initiation phase 
  • Development of the plan 
  • Breaking project into sprints and deliverables 
  • Release- testing for bugs and fixes 
  • Retirement- modified version is released which is bug-free 

 Getting to know Agile better by weighing its pros and cons

Pros of Agile Methodology 

  • Highly adaptable and flexible
  • Easier to improvise according to clients’ wishes 
  • The client’s needs and demands are well-understood and worked upon
  • Transparency is guaranteed at each step of the project
  • Testing is done at each step thus making it less prone to bugs
  • High quality of deliverables
  • Business value is a priority in this model 
  • Deliverables can be prioritized according to the needs of the clients
  • Teams can work simultaneously on different aspects of a project

Cons of Agile Methodology 

  • Not well suited for smaller projects
  • Implementation of this methodology can be costly 
  • The project team should be highly skilled and trained to deal with Agile.
  • Requires a lot of commitment and discipline from the project team
  • Lacks a proper structure and thus can only be handled by professionals and experts. 

What to choose between Agile and Waterfall?

By now, you must have well-versed the pros and cons of both methodologies. Still not able to make up your mind? Let’s compare the two by keeping in view certain parameters.

Let’s see what each one of them has to offer in each category.

Development & testing of softwareA continuous reiteration process.A linear-sequential model following a top-down approach
FlexibilityA highly flexible way to build softwareNo flexibility. A structured, rigid way to build software 
CollaborationSupports and promotes high collaboration among project teams and clients.Little to no collaboration is present in this model.
Project sizeBeneficial for larger projectsBetter suited for smaller projects
ProcessThe project is divided into several sprintsThe project is divided into phases
Process of software developmentIt is an assemblage of many different projectsSoftware development is done as a single deliverable in the form of a final product.
Customer SatisfactionHighly satisfied customers as they are well-informed at every step.Customer dissatisfaction may arise as they only get the final product. They are not involved during the process.
TestingContinuous and repeated testing is done.Testing is done only after the build phase is completed
Changes/ModificationsChanges can be easily doneChanges can be difficult and costly

Waterfall Vs Agile; the final verdict!

We expect you now to stand better informed about Agile and Waterfall methodologies. The choice between the two completely depends on the nature of your project. The factors that may affect your decision include the size of the project, budget, time duration, involvement of the team, etc. 

Here at Focusteck, our custom software development services make use of both models. We analyze your needs to make the best pick for you. With our expertise of 9 years, our aim is to deliver you the best. We can proudly say that we always do it within the defined duration and budget. 

Get in touch with us for our expert advice and free consultations about your project.

Latest Blogs From Our Engineers