There are many ways to manage a project, two of the most prominent ways are waterfall and agile. The outline below describes these two project management methods.
What is Waterfall?
The waterfall methodology is a design process, frequently used in software development, which progresses sequentially through the phases of Planning, Analysis, Design, Implementation, and Maintenance. (Diagram 1)
Advantages of Waterfall
- Time and budget estimates are more reliable
- Development processes tend to be more secure
Disadvantages of Waterfall
- Rigid and inflexible processes
- Feedback and testing are deferred until very late into the project
- Response to unanticipated problems require a substantial amount of time, effort, and sometimes money
What is Agile?
A method of rapid development that features close collaboration (often sharing work space) between self-organizing team members; recognition and acceptance of changing requirements through the development process; face-to-face communication (usually through short daily meetings); and, frequent deployment of functioning software. (Diagram 2)
Advantages of Agile
- Promotes experimental software design
- Conducive to teamwork oriented environments
- Flexible design model
- Promotes adaptive planning and evolutionary development
- Facilitates interaction and communication – collaboration
Disadvantages of Agile
- Hard to predict timelines and budgets
- Active user involvement and intense collaboration are required throughout the process
- Team turnover can be a major risk
- Lacks structure
When to use Waterfall?
Waterfall tends to be best for static projects, where it’s not likely that many changes will be made throughout the development process.
When to use Agile?
Agile is appropriate when development needs to be able to respond to changing requirements rapidly and effectively. Agile is more appropriate when the goals of projects are not clearly defined. Agile is regarded as the better option for smaller projects where changes are likely to be made during the design process.