Development Strategy Comparison between Waterfall and Agile Methods


DevelopmentStrategy: Comparison between Waterfall and Agile Methods

DevelopmentStrategy Comparison

Thesoftware development life cycle (SDLC) involves a systematic seriesof actions and procedures which are utilized especially duringsoftware development. In essence, the SDLC is made up of acomprehensive plan which describes in detail the development,maintenance, substitutions and changes that further improve thequality of that particular question. The life cycle describes themethodology that is implemented in order to oversee the developmentas well as ensure the quality of the product. There are variousmodels that can be used in the development of software and theselection of the best methodology is entirely dependent on theobjectives and goals of the project (Shivaiah,2015).In this paper, the comparisons between the waterfall and agile modelswill be discussed.

Comparisonbetween Waterfall and Agile Methods

Thewaterfall model generally uses a linear approach whereby the seriesof events flow sequentially from the beginning to the end in asystematic manner. This flow is characterized by several importantsteps including the analysis, design, implementation, testing,deployment and the subsequent maintenance. The Agile method on theother hand proceeds in an approach that is based on the ability toadapt to the changing requirements that may arise as time progresses.This phenomenon therefore places the agile methodology at a greateradvantage. In other words it is easier to develop changes after thecompletion of the process in the agile methodology while thewaterfall may pose a setback with regard to changes after completion.(Choudhury,2012).

Inthe waterfall approach, the fact that the development team can sitdown and agree with the respective clients before the process begins,the designing and planning is put into a more straightforward waythat the developers completely understand the clients requirements.In addition, the rate of procession can be adequately monitoredespecially because the final outcome has already been determined(Lotz,2013).In contrast, the agile methodology is based on the principle that thecustomers or clients can be able to make frequent changes to theproduct at several points throughout the developmental stages of theproject. Furthermore, the client is actively engaged with thedevelopment team directly which ensures that a sense of ownership hasbeen inflicted unlike the waterfall model where the customers do nothave to be involved in the process except for progress meetings andreviews or approvals (Lotz,2013).

Accuraterecord keeping is also one of the characteristics of the waterfallmethod which in the long run allows for the opportunity to improvethe program in the days to come. The progress in which the projectundergoes are also well documented as well as the results of thefinal product this means that it takes longer to achieve the endproduct while following the plans and protocols strictly. On thecontrary, the agile approach doesn’t require too much planningtherefore the least number of rules are required and thedocumentation can be easily put into use. This facilitates theprocess to be faster and as mentioned beforehand, any iterations canbe made frequently and consistently as the development continues(Bowes,2014).

Someof the major features of the waterfall is the presence of definedmilestones with the expected outcomes. This feature allows for thestabilization of the necessary resources and requirements as well asthe proper time management in a way that the client can have an ideaof when the project outcomes will be ready and also the developershave adequate time and resources to carry out the process. Thisfeatures differ significantly from the agile whereby the testing canbe consolidated from the beginning to the end and this going back totest and make changes can lead to a never ending project problem andit would take much more time to fully reach completion. Thistherefore translates to the input of more time and commitment by thedevelopment team for achievements to be realized (Chan,2013).

Oneof the greatest problems encountered during development of thevarious software is the inability to foresee all the possibleproblems and challenges that are likely to occur after the softwaredeveloped has been put into use. This problem cannot be easilyalleviated by the use of the waterfall method due to the fact that itwould mean a change in the control protocols and procedures would beinevitable. This problem however can be well tackled by the agilemethod which allows for changes even at the late stages ofdevelopment which is facilitated by the collaborations that arepresent between the developers’ clients and stakeholders thusensuring even more successful and relevant outcomes that fulfill theneeds of the clients. This flexibility increases the speed in whichthe software reaches the market and also improves risk management ofthe project (Bowes,2014).

Oneof the issues that are related to the application of agile method insoftware development is the complexity of the method. In most cases,the methodology may not be easy to understand especially during theearly stages of design. This therefore means that transfer of thetechnology to an entire new team may prove to be a serious challenge.In addition to this, client-developer interaction that is not clearmight lead to software development in the wrong direction. Incontrast, the waterfall technology is quite easy to understand andtherefore offers a sense of reassurance especially in cases ofemployee turnovers, the process can still continue as plannedbeforehand. Furthermore, since the processes, timelines as well asthe costs had already been determined, then there can be no othermisleading aspects in the wrong direction hence everything will stillrun smoothly as planned and documented (Bowes,2014).

Boththese two methodologies have their strengths and weaknesses asanalyzed in this paper. However, it is in the developers’ bestinterest to choose the desired methodology based on the specificcontext of the project at hand. Under certain conditions for examplein cases whereby the project is expected to be rapidly and constantlychanging as well as the quick launching of the project and thecontinuous testing and changing various aspect according to theclients’ needs, then the agile method can be sufficientlyimplemented to ensure that the quality, objectives and the goals ofthe project have been achieved satisfactorily. The flexibility andtransparency will be facilitated by the agile method. However, in thecases where the exact requirements for development of a particularsoftware are clear and known, then it is imperative that thewaterfall method be used since any issues or possible problems can beironed out during the designing stage and in addition this mayfacilitate the development of a better software without the presenceof the piecemeal effect. The key is to assess the situation andselect the best suited methodology(Matt, 2015).It is also suggested that the aspects of these two methodologies canbe combined so as to come up with a more suitable, and most probablythe best project development process.


Bowes,J. (2014, July 17). Agilevs Waterfall: Comparing project management methods.Retrieved from Manifesto:

Chan,K. (2013, January 31). Waterfallvs. Agile.Retrieved from OneDesk:

Choudhury,A. (2012, March 12). AgileVs Waterfall.Retrieved from SDLC Tutorials:

Lotz,M. (2013, July 5). Waterfallvs. Agile: Which is the Right Development Methodology for YourProject?Retrieved from Segue Technologies:

Matt.(2015, October 19). SoftwareDevelopment Lifecycle: Waterfall vs. Agile.Retrieved from Covalent Marketing:

Shivaiah,M. (2015, September 14). SDLCModels and Comparison between Waterfall Vs Agile Models.Retrieved from WinWire Technologies: