The Risks of Waterfall Methodology

Project Management

The Risks of Waterfall Methodology

The Risks of Waterfall Methodology

On the Internet you can find many articles on Waterfall methodology risks. They describe various aspects of this important issue. However, only few of them provide the full information on Waterfall risk management. In this article, we will tell you about this important issue of software development. But before doing that, let’s remember the main features of the Waterfall methodology, because it is impossible to understand Waterfall risks without doing that.

Waterfall methodology has been popular among software developers for about 60 years. Initially it came to software development from the industry of hardware development. Hence, Waterfall was the first software development methodology. That is why it is often called traditional.

Sequential development is the main principle of Waterfall. Each Waterfall project has five or seven sequential stages. They should be passed one after another. Such a strict order is required because each stage of the project is dedicated to a certain part of the code. Additionally, there are also stages aimed at planning, designing, and testing the final product. The greatest disadvantage of Waterfall is the inability to return to previous stages of work when they have already been finished. Many Waterfall teams have to run their projects from the very beginning because of this fact.

The range of customer involvement in Waterfall projects is very low. The customer does not participate in the work on the project. He is able to see the final product only after it is finished. Waterfall teams create their software based on the documented customer demands. They are collected at the beginning of every project.


Risk in Waterfall

Now we can find the definition for risk in Waterfall. Generally, anything that can negatively affect the project or its result is considered a risk. Few people know that in software development things that can impact the project positively are also risks. However, such risks are called opportunities and the developers try to use them properly if they appear.

According to the best practices of software development, typical negative risks should be detected and mitigated. This rule applies to all software development methodologies including Waterfall. This method has a number of risks that are typical only for it. For example, in Waterfall the risk of defects in the final product is higher than in Agile methodologies. That is because of its sequential structure.

Waterfall and risk management

The risks of the Waterfall methodology are mitigated and expired with the help of Waterfall risk management. It uses a number of tools typical for Waterfall. Their main feature is the ability to create charts. The risks in Waterfall are also managed with the help of charts.

The risk chart begins when the risk is detected. After that, the managers follow its development. If the risk develops along with the project, its line in the chart goes up. In such cases the developers and managers try to find the product features that are strengthening the risk and replace them. If the risk line in the chart goes down along with the project development, the risk is considered low prioritized.

The risk charts in Waterfall are subdivided into three sections. The first of them begins when the risk is detected and ends when the developers start to search for its solution. The second phase lasts until the solution is found. The third phase is the phase of risk removal. It ends in the risk expiry date. Such a model of risk management allows Waterfall developers to avoid lots of bugs in their production and improve its quality and customer acceptance.

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