Agile vs. Waterfall: What's the Difference?
Agile methodology and Waterfall methodology are two of the most important methodologies in software development. While Agile has become the more popular choice in recent years, Waterfall is still widely used, especially in older and larger organizations. In fact, “Research shows that 51% of organizations still use Waterfall, based on a 2017 report from the Project Management Institute.” So what’s the difference between these two approaches, and why should your organization consider making the switch to Agile?
Agile vs. Waterfall: Understanding Waterfall Methodology
Waterfall methodology is a linear approach to software development. This means that each phase of the project must be completed before moving on to the next.This process, which is frequently employed by engineers, is front-loaded in order to rely on meticulous planning, thorough documentation, and continuing execution.
While waterfall methodology is often criticized for being inflexible, it does have some advantages. Because Waterfall requires all phases to be completed before moving on, it can help ensure that a project stays on track and on budget. It can also be easier to manage risks in a Waterfall environment because potential problems are identified early on and addressed before they become actual issues.
The Waterfall methodology is made up of six distinct phases:
- Conception: This is the idea stage where developers decide what they want to design and why.
- Initiation and Analysis: This stage involves gathering and documenting what the Software project will require, including system and software requirements for the product or project. It is also a phase known for requirement gathering.
- Design: In this stage, developers determine how they want their software to work and determine which code or programming language to use for the product.
- Construction and coding: With inputs taken from system design, the system is first developed in small programs called units, which are integrated into the next phase. Each unit is set and tested for its functionality which is referred to as Unit Testing.
- Testing: This involves testing the software system-wide; it may include user testing, bug testing and going back to fix specified issues. This phase is continuous until the product passes the test.
- Implementation: This phase entails delivering the finished product or outcome to the customer or rolling out the comprehensive system software.
Agile vs. Waterfall The Disadvantages of Waterfall
Despite its advantages, the Waterfall methodology also has some significant disadvantages. One of the biggest problems with Waterfall is that it doesn’t allow for much flexibility. Once a project is underway, it can be very difficult to make changes without disrupting the entire process. This can lead to frustration among team members, clients, and stakeholders.
Another issue with Waterfall is that it can be difficult to predict how long a project will take. This is because the documentation and planning phases can be very time-consuming. In addition, if there are any problems during execution, it can take a long time to fix them since each phase must be completed before moving on.
This can lead to delays, missed deadlines, and overages. Finally, because Waterfall relies on documentation, it can be difficult to make changes quickly. This can be a problem when working in a fast-paced environment or with rapidly changing requirements. This is where Agile comes in.
Agile vs. Waterfall: Understanding Agile Methodology
Agile methodology is a flexible approach to software development that allows for changes and updates throughout the project. This means that team members can respond to feedback and make changes on the fly, without disrupting the entire process. Agile also emphasizes collaboration between team members, which can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. Cross-functional teams of 5-11 members work in sprints, or time-limited iterations, to complete a set of tasks. These teams typically include a product owner, who is responsible for the product vision and roadmap; a scrum master, who keeps the team on track; and developers, testers, and designers.
The Agile Process Flow:
- Concept: This phase is when projects are envisioned and prioritized
- Inception: This phase majorly consists of identifying team members, ensuring funds, initial environment and requirements
- Iteration/Construction: The agile development team works to deliver working software based on sprints requirements and feedback
- Release: Quality Assurance testing, internal and external training, documentation development, and final out of the sprints into production
- Production: Ongoing support of the software
- Retirement: This phase includes End-of-life activities, including customer notification and migration
Each sprint includes this outlined flow, and this process is designed to be flexible and allow for changes, which can help avoid disruptions and delays.
Advantages of Agile
There are many advantages to using the Agile methodology. One of the biggest advantages is that it allows for more flexibility than Waterfall. This means that team members can respond to feedback and make changes on the fly, without disrupting the entire process.
Agile methodology also emphasizes collaboration between team members, which can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. This can lead to more productive teams and better results. In addition, because Agile relies on sprints, or time-limited iterations, it can be easier to predict how long a project will take. This is because each sprint has a specific goal, and the team can track their progress and estimate how long it will take to complete the project.
Disadvantages of Agile Methodology
Despite its advantages, Agile methodology also has some disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages is that it can be difficult to manage long-term projects. This is because each sprint has a specific goal, and the team can track their progress and estimate how long it will take to complete the project.
Additionally because of the level of collaboration required, it can be challenging to maintain. This is especially true for large projects with multiple teams.
Key Takeaways of Agile vs. Waterfall Methodologies
- Waterfall is a linear approach to software development that is based on a sequential process.
- Agile is a flexible approach to software development that allows for changes and updates throughout the project.
- Agile emphasizes collaboration between team members, which can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.
- The Agile process flow includes sprints, or time-limited iterations, to complete a set of tasks.
In today’s rapidly changing business environment, Agile has become the preferred approach for many organizations. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, consider implementing an Agile approach. Not only will it enable you to be more flexible and responsive to change, but it will allow you to stay relevant and competitive in today’s ever-changing marketplace.
Get in touch with us today to reap the benefits of Agile at email@example.com.