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Agile or Waterfall? What is best for your Business?

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One of the first and foremost decisions that are made by any company before the implementation of a project is “Which development methodology should be used?” 

The two most basic and popular methodologies are Agile and Waterfall. In this piece of writing, I have discussed my thoughts on the advantages and limitations of each.

What is Agile?

Agile methodology is one of the project management frameworks which is used by teams to iteratively and incrementally complete tasks and projects. Agile has increasingly become our methodology of choice for the vast majority of projects. We now heavily favour Agile to successfully cope with loosely defined or constantly changing requirements or critical time to market demands.

Agile methodology is a convention that helps uninterrupted iteration of development and testing in the software development process. In the Agile model, development and testing activities coexist and this allows more communication between customers, developers, managers, and testers. It was found that over 90% of the organizations started using Agile methodology for bringing their business success on track. 

Advantages of the Agile Model

  • It is a client-focused process where the client is frequently involved in every stage
  • Provides a better result from the development projects
  • Assures the quality of the development
  • The client and team are always updated about the timeline of the project which reduces the risk in the development process
  • Bugs can always be fixed in the previous phase

Limitations of the Agile Model

  • It is not used for the development of small projects
  • Important decisions are only taken by the experts
  • The higher cost of implementation
  • The project can easily go off track if the project manager is not clear about the outcomes he/she wants

What is the Waterfall methodology?

The Waterfall approach is a well-defined sequential design process that is used to deliver a product on time, on budget, and with the required level of quality. This means that as each of the 6 stages (Requirement Gathering and documentation, design, programming, testing, implementation, and maintenance) are completed, the programmers move on to the development phase of the project.

In this process, once a step has been completed, programmers can’t go back to a previous step – not without scratching the whole project and starting from the beginning. At this phase there is no room for change or error, so a project outcome and an extensive plan must be set in the beginning and then followed carefully.

Advantages of the Waterfall Model:

  • It is easy to follow and can be implemented for any size of the project. It is a linear model with a disciplined approach
  • Suitable for smaller size projects where requirements are easily understandable
  • Helps in the easy and quick delivery of the project
  • The process and results in the waterfall model are well documented
  • Easily compliant method for shifting teams
  • Favorable to manage dependencies

Limitations of the Waterfall Model

  • It is not suitable for a large size project
  • A less effective method if requirements are not clear at the beginning
  • Changes are not possible to implement in the previous phase
  • Once the testing process starts after the completion of the development process, it is impossible to fix bugs found later in the development phase

KEY DIFFERENCES

AGILE METHODOLOGY WATERFALL METHODOLOGY
  • Agile is known for its flexibility
  • The waterfall is a structured software development methodology
  • Agile chases an incremental approach
  • The waterfall is a sequential design process
  • Agile percolates testing concurrently with software development 
  • Waterfall testing comes after the “Build” phase
  • Agile allows changes according to the requirements.
  • Waterfall has no scope of changes once the development phase has started

 

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