Waterfall and Agile are well known approaches in software development. They are two unique methodologies providing different directions for various types of projects.
Agile Software Development – a type of development framework that expects the need for flexibility and applies a level of efficiency to the delivery of the finished product through consistent deliverables & communication.
- Frequent meetings
- Works well in conjunction with MVP
- High flexibility
- Short term deadlines – quick deliverables
- Collaboration between parties
- Reduced risk
- Cost effective
This graph shows the flow of an agile timeline. There is constantly a new deliverable and after each deliverable, there is communication between parties to review what is working and what needs to shift in order to continue improving the product. The time between each deliverable is typically two to four weeks, although it can be shorter. Due to consistent communication between parties, agile is more cost effective because the project can shift easily and frequently.
Waterfall Software Development – With a waterfall methodology, the scope and requirements of the project are defined upfront. The client receives large batch deliverables at the end of each development phase.
- Goals set from the beginning
- Requirements are clear and fixed
- Infrequent meetings
- Complete deliverables before moving onto next phase
- Low flexibility
- Higher cost
Looking at the graph to the right, you’ll see that Waterfall project timelines are longer than Agile. While working on a Waterfall project, there is often less communication as the requirements are less flexible in the beginning phases of the project. Due to this, there is more risk associated because of less flexibility to change the product. In Waterfall, each stage of the project needs to be completed before moving on to the next step.
Agile is more commonly used today because of the flexibility, cost efficiency, and reduced risk associated with this methodology.