Agile vs Waterfall Development: Pros and Cons to Consider
When a new software development project starts, the first issue to solve is which approach should it be based upon. There are two basic development approaches in the modern software industry. They are called Waterfall and Agile. Both of them are not new. Developers all over the world use them successfully during recent years. The choice between the Agile and Waterfall development approach is the first thing that every company does before the project is run. In this article, we will describe the main features of Agile and Waterfall development life cycles, and give you advice on how to choose the right approach to your project.
First of all, let us describe the main features of the Waterfall approach.
This approach to software development can also be called traditional because it originated earlier than the Agile approach.
- Sequence is the main principle of Waterfall methodology. The work on a project is subdivided into strict stages from the very beginning. The work on these stages is performed successively, one stage after another. There is no chance of coming back to a certain stage if it is already finished.
- All Waterfall projects are based on a strict schedule. It is done before the work on a project starts. All the stages of the project have their terms that must be met.
- In the Waterfall projects, all the work is based on the initial documentation. The wishes of the customer are documented at the very beginning of the work, and then the team has no contacts with the customer until the final product is ready. Waterfall methodology involves users only at the final stage of software development.
- The product is tested only after all the work is finished. This may cause some problems. For example, a bug that occurred at the early stages of work may be found only in the process of testing, but it will be hard to remove it after all the work is completed.
The Agile method of software development is based on the different principles.
- It does not require sequence. The work on a project is subdivided into smaller segments that are called sprints.
- The developers contact the customer after each sprint and make all the necessary product adjustments.
- The Agile methodology also involves testing the product after every sprint. That is why the bugs are usually found at the beginning of the project, so they have no influence on the final product.
- The Agile process, unlike the process of Waterfall software development, is not based on a strict plan and documentation. Instead of that, it has a flexible plan that can be changed during the work on a project.
Agile vs. Waterfall development
After describing the main features of two most popular software development methods we can compare their advantages and disadvantages. Agile and Waterfall development environments are very different. One is based on strict plans and schedules, and the other is much more flexible. The main advantage of the Waterfall methodology is its predictability. It allows the customer to know what to expect from the final project. The sequence of Waterfall method is one of its disadvantages. It makes the changes in previous stages of work impossible if they are already finished.
Flexibility is the main advantage of the Agile method. On the other hand, the initial expectations and the final product can be different due to the changes that occurred during the work on a project.
The conclusion is simple: if you have a clear vision of your project from the very beginning – it is better to use Waterfall methodology, and if there is no clear picture of the final product – you should use Agile.