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Agile vs Waterfall Methodology

Nov 15, 2021
Agile vs Waterfall Methodology

Agile Vs Waterfall Methods

Agile and Waterfall Methodologies are ways that help development teams to produce high-quality software. The method chosen by the software developer is determined by the aims and specifications of the project. Outlined below are some of the differences between the two methods. 

  • Agile methods are incremental and iterative, but waterfall methods are linear and sequential.
  • With Agile a project is separated into Sprints, with Waterfall its Phases. 
  • You can complete many small projects with Agile, but Waterfall completes a single project.
  • Agile is focused on customer satisfaction, whereas Waterfall is focused on successful product delivery.


What is Agile?

The Agile method takes a team-based approach to development projects. There is an emphasis on rapid deployment and deliverables that are time-centered. There is also a particular focus on customer satisfaction. It begins with a time box called a Sprint which is defined across a period of two weeks. 

At the beginning of the sprint, the aims and deliverables are listed and prioritized. At the end of the sprint, customer feedback is onboarded and changes are made to optimize the product. This method is based on general principles rather than specific methods.

Pros and Cons of Agile

Like the Waterfall method, the Agile method has some very clear pros and cons. The advantages of using this method are a faster development and lifecycle for the product, good for startups that want to bring products to market sooner. There is also a structure and predictability to the Agile method, something you can rely on. 

But it’s not all rosy, there are some disadvantages to the Agile method as well. One is that the Agile method demands a high level of customer input, this isn’t always something customers are willing to offer. The method also assumes that teams working on the project are equally dedicated and that time markers are suitable.    

What is the Waterfall Method?

The waterfall method is somewhat slower and more controlled than the Agile method. Here, you have a sequential approach to the project which is divided up into phases. These phases might look something like requirements gathering, analysis and design, coding and unit testing, user testing, and deployment. Each phase must be completed before the next can begin. 

Unlike the Agile Method which is time-centered, the Waterfall Method has strict requirements around the completion of each phase. The deliverables must be fully met for each stage, satisfied, and signed off before the next phase can begin. Each phase must be completed only once.

The Pros and Cons of Waterfall

As with the Agile Method, there are pros and cons to the Waterfall Method. On the plus side, there is straightforward planning with the Waterfall Method, and it is much easier to cost. Because the project is approached holistically it is easier to measure progress and define team roles. 


There are also some disadvantages, these are a limited structure that does facilitate changes easily, such as rigidly defined roles. There is also limited customer engagement at any stage of the process meaning that projects might not be suitably optimized in the way they are with the Agile Method.

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