The Difference Between Agile and Waterfall
Each software development project begins with the selection of implementation methods. There are two main methods of managing projects in the modern software developing industry. First of them is called Waterfall. It can be also called the traditional method of software development. The second is the Agile method. It originated in the 2000s. The selection of a certain method depends on the project and the company that performs it. In this article, we will define the main advantages and disadvantages of each approach to software development.
The traditional Waterfall method is based on strict planning and performing the plan step by step. It is usually used by companies with the hierarchical structure. This approach to software development is subdivided into several stages that are constant in all the projects.
- The first stage is the stage of gathering information on the future project and documenting it. During the next stages of work all the actions will be conducted based on this documentation. The customer is involved in the project performance only at the first and the last stage.
- The second stage of any Waterfall software development project is its design. At this stage, the developers try to find a suitable form to meet all the customer’s requirements.
- The main task of the third stage is to test codes and unites.
- After that, the system and user acceptance are tested.
- The fifth stage is devoted to fixing the issues. And finally the sixth stage – delivery to the customer.
As you can guess, such an approach has lots of disadvantages. After the project is finished, the customer can be disappointed with its results, because all the work on a project was based on the initial documentation and the result may not meet the customer’s expectations. The fixing of failures at this stage of work will require lots of extra costs.
However, the Waterfall method has also some advantages. Strict structure of work is one of the largest of them. While using this approach to software development the work can be conducted more carefully and complete.
The main difference between Agile and Waterfall methodology is that Agile approach to software development has no strict structure. It is usually performed by a team of developers that contacts the customer constantly, so he is always involved in the process of work.
The way of document management is one more distinction among Agile and Waterfall methodology. Usually, Agile teams do not have any documents at all. There is no need for documents because the customer can see the progress of work at any time he wants.
The different way of teamwork is what we see first when we compare and contrast Agile and Waterfall. There is no strict structure in the Agile teams. All their members are interchangeable, so the work goes faster. There is also no need for project managers because the projects are managed by the whole team.
If we try to define the main factors at the Agile vs. Waterfall distinction, we will see that the Agile approach is aimed at faster implementation of any project. The work of Agile teams is subdivided into 2 – 4 week long sprints, and the customer can see its intermediate result at the end of any of them.
If we compare the advantages and disadvantages of Agile vs. Waterfall advantages and disadvantages, we will see, that most of them are related to the range of customer involvement into the project. It is sometimes too high in the Agile projects and not all the customers like it.
Why Agile and not Waterfall
Generally, the Agile approach to software development is more flexible and in most cases it meets the requirements of the customers and final users better. That is why it is more useful for most projects.