Waterfall Development Methodology

Project Management

A Brief Introduction to Waterfall Development Methodology

A Brief Introduction to Waterfall Development Methodology

Most modern programmers think they know Waterfall development methodology very well, partially due to its popularity. Software development teams and companies all over the world use Waterfall methodology to run their projects. However, there are still lots of things in Waterfall development process that should be described in detail. In this article, we will tell you about Waterfall development and its main features.

Waterfall is often called the traditional method of software development. That is because of the fact that it was the first software development methodology. In the 1950s a typical hardware development model was applied to software development industry. That was the beginning of Waterfall. It has been the only software development methodology till recent years. In the early 2000s a group of software developers invented a new methodology called Agile.

Waterfall methodology is based on three principles: low degree of customer involvement, strong documentation, and sequential structure of project realization.

The customer does not participate in Waterfall projects. The team conducts only two meetings with him during every project. The first meeting takes place before the work starts. It is aimed at learning the client’s demands and documenting them. The next meeting is conducted only after the final product is ready to be delivered. Modern specialists consider this approach to software development a great disadvantage of Waterfall methodology because it may lead to low customer acceptance of the final product.

Strong documentation is required because Waterfall teams do not involve their customers in the process of project realization. That is why they have to base all their activities on documentation. Strong documentation is often called an advantage of Waterfall methodology. However, it requires lots of time to handle all documents.

Typical Waterfall projects have 5 or 7 sequential stages. Each team should pass all of them without changing their order to create the final product. The developers cannot return to the previous stage of work even if something in it went wrong. That feature is often called the greatest disadvantage of Waterfall. Many teams have to run their project from the very beginning because of this rule. It has a negative influence on  the terms of product delivery and the budget of the project.

Waterfall development team

While describing the traditional methodology of software development, it is necessary to say a few words about Waterfall team. Waterfall teams are large. They usually include more than 15 people. Their hierarchical structure is their main distinctive feature. A project manager is the key person in every Waterfall team. He is responsible for the quality of the final product and terms of its delivery. Waterfall teams usually have lots of roles. They include testers, programmers, analysts, managers, and other people responsible for certain stages of work.

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