The Complete Overview of Waterfall Model

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Nov 10, 2021

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Waterfall Model: Meaning, Stages, Advantages, and More?

Several factors decide a business's survival in the modern market. It can be human resources, products, or the least expected one, software development process. Software development has become a major part of the global market, requiring every business to master the concept.

That is why program managers opt for options like a CSM certification. It exposes them to a multitude of development procedures, optimal for real-world problems. Waterfall methodology is one of the alternatives, and it has helped countless ventures garner success. The process is rooted in sequence and logic, rendering an ideal development space.

However, despite its major benefits, many businesses still wonder - what is the waterfall model? Another prevalent question amid these ventures is what are the advantages of the waterfall model?

What is Waterfall Methodology?

The waterfall methodology, also known as the waterfall model, is a sequence-based development/project management process. It unfolds like a waterfall across different project phases, such as - assessment, designing, development, testing, etc.

The methodology wraps up each stage before initiating the next one, maintaining complete order. Its success heavily relies on multiple facets, including the quality and amount of work done on the front end. It also accounts for the advanced documentation of user stories, features variations, user interface, and outcomes.

It requires the management to conduct upfront research, estimating every project requirement. The more precise the requirements are, the better the release will be. Since the methodology is not as flexible as the Agile methodology, it requires project managers to be surgically accurate.

Know the difference between agile method and waterfall method from this article - Agile vs Waterfall

That is why many project managers complete a certified scrum master certification before undertaking the role.

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Phases of the Waterfall Project Management Methodology

Before answering the question "what are the advantages and disadvantages of the waterfall model" let us understand its different phases:

The Requirements Phase

The process starts with the management gathering the project requirements. The step requires the team to fetch as many details as possible. Since every phase of the Waterfall model relies on its predecessor, the team must invest hefty forethought during every stage.

The best way to undertake the stage is by laying out detailed project planning. Most project managers who go through CSM training understand the subtleties of this step. The goal is to explain every phase in-depth, designate team members, and allocate resources. After the stage ends, the management should finalize the personnel, resources, and timeline.

The Designing Phase

The second phase takes the project management to decide aspects like user interface and programming languages. Generally, it boasts two primary sub-phases – low-level and high-level designing phases.

Any project manager who has completed certified scrum master training knows how to steer through both. The former requires the team to build specific software parts. Contrarily, the latter involves finalizing general details like software's functioning and its information gathering.

Take it like this – the low-level design phase is the organs, while the high-level design phase is the skeleton holding it.

The Implementation Phase

The third step is where the team integrates everything into action. The management initiates the development process based on the documented requirements (first step) and the finalized design (second step.)

The Testing Phase

The fourth stage is where the team hands over the project to the quality management team. As the name suggests, the team ensures the software meets every quality benchmark.

They rid the product of any error or bug before the deployment phase. The development team must properly document the previous steps to ensure the stage wraps up quickly and seamlessly.

The Deployment Phase

The fifth stage involves the deployment of the software. It is the goal of the waterfall mythology, and it ensures the product meets its end-users.

The Maintenance Phase

No software is perfect, and it is a matter of time before users discover a bug. Moreover, products need updates to keep up with the changing market settings. The sixth stage takes care of both situations by rendering timely maintenance. Generally, the team conducts this step perpetually as it ensures the software's functionality.

What are the Advantages of the Waterfall Model?

Many ventures possess the question - what are the advantages and disadvantages of the waterfall model? Thus, here is a reply to the first half:

  • It is easy to comprehend and implement.
  • Any team can manage the model due to its rigidity.
  • Every phase comes with a defined structure and goals.
  • It is ideal for small-scale projects.
  • It simplifies task arrangement and milestone achievement.
  • It keeps a document of the entire development process.

What are the Disadvantages of the Waterfall Model?

Despite proffering multiple advantages, the Waterfall methodology is not devoid of drawbacks. Here are some of its noteworthy disadvantages:

  • Its linear nature can pose issues if the team faces delays.
  • The sequence-based approach can make backtracking challenging.
  • The testing phase falls late into the process.
  • It is not ideal for long and large-scale projects.
  • It involves a high standard of risks and uncertainty.
  • Measuring progress is difficult with the process.
  • The team cannot switch scope during the latter stages.

When to Use Waterfall Methodology?

Now that you understand the answer to the question 'what is waterfall methodology,' let us understand when it can be executed.

  • When the project has a well-defined goal.
  • When there are no restrictions on time or budget.
  • When the team needs to undertake repeatable procedures.
  • When the management understands the technology completely.
  • When there is ample personnel with needed expertise.

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In Conclusion

Despite being around for several years, many businesses still possess multiple queries regarding the Waterfall methodology. While a CSM certification can answer these questions, you can go through the article to understand the fundamentals. The Waterfall methodology can render quality results as long as the project is short and concise. Moreover, a development team can opt for the process with a well-defined goal.

However, the process lacks conviction when it comes to dynamic projects, making it unfavorable in many scenarios. Nonetheless, if the model suits your project, you can acquire a seamless deployment in no time.

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