Difference Between Agile And Waterfall Method

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Before moving ahead with any project, the project managers and respective teams at IT outsourcing Los Angeles get together to determine which project management methodology will be used for the project. The two most popular methodologies are none other than the Agile and Waterfall development methods. Both methodologies come with their own sets of pros and cons. Therefore, it is close to impossible for one to pick one over the other and in most cases, the decision is made after thorough consideration of the project’s requirements.

Waterfall methodology is the one that is mostly used for construction and production based projects. It is a traditional project management strategy that involves developing the project into different phases. A set target is agreed upon for each phase and it is only upon the completion of the first phase that the team moves on to the next one. Other than the completion, the review and testing of the phase also has to be completed before jumping on to the next one.

From the requirements gathering to the testing, every phase is completed from start to finish and a deliverable is produced at the end. Once a phase is marked complete, no change can be made and therefore, proper planning and phase division has to be ensured at the beginning of the project.

Perks of Waterfall Development:

  • A holistic project management approach.
  • Costing and budgeting is easier.
  • Tasks and targets are divided into clear and distinct phases.
  • Easier to keep track of progress.
  • Every team has its own set of goals.

Cons of Waterfall Development:

  • Accommodating change after the completion of a phase is difficult.
  • Uncertainty and deviation from the original plan become hard to accommodate.
  • Is not an ideal approach for IT consulting LA large scope projects.
  • The entire product cannot be tested at once.

As indicated by the name itself, agile methodology is a faster project management methodology in which the project is divided into sprints. Each sprint is nothing but a time frame. The team is assigned goals and roles that have to be accomplished within the sprint cycle. The division of the project tasks is not rigid, therefore, the development team can easily go back and forth between the different tasks of the project.

At the start of the sprint cycle, the team is assigned tasks based on the priority of the work. The highest priority tasks are handled first while the ones that are not that significant are left for the later sprint cycles. The customer is asked to review the performance and the product at the end of each sprint and the feedback is incorporated in the next sprint cycle tasks. This development methodology is also known as Scrum development.

Perks of Agile Development:

  • Faster product development.
  • Customer feedback is involved throughout the project development cycle.
  • Customer focused development approach ensures customer satisfaction.
  • Changes can easily be accommodated.
  • Budgeting, requirement gathering, documentation and testing does not have to be repeated separately for each sprint cycle.

Disadvantages of Agile Development:

  • Not suitable for projects where the customer involvement and participation cannot be ensured consistently.
  • Requires a dedicated team of workers.
  • Deliverables are identified by time frames rather than goal or task benchmarks.
  • Budgeting is not consistent therefore there is a risk of going over the set budget.
  • Resource management has to be taken care of and organized properly.

The end result of both development methodologies is the same i.e. a high-quality software that is developed according to the needs, requirements and constraints of the client. But AllSafe IT team does need to choose the right development approach to organize the development process in a streamlined manner.

While the waterfall method is rigid in terms of the structure and linear in nature, the agile methodology is incremental and iterative. Another prominent difference between the two is the division of the project phases. Waterfall method divides the tasks into phases whereas in case of agile development, the tasks are allocated to their respective sprint cycles.

The extent of customer involvement also differs based on the development methodology that is chosen. In case of agile development, the software team works very closely with the clients and the client feedback is requested throughout the sprint cycle. While in waterfall development, the customer reviews the development at the end of the phase and provides feedback at once.

Last but not least, in agile development, each sprint can be considered a mini-project. From the budgeting to requirements gathering, every step is repeated for the sprint cycle separately. But in the waterfall method, the project is divided into clear phases in the beginning. The requirements, cost and goals for the phases are predefined and the team gets to work on the phases with a clear target in mind.

Waterfall or agile, which approach is the absolute best? This is a question that most managed IT services in Los Angeles put forward. But in reality, there is no fixed answer to this question The requirements of each project are different and the team has to evaluate the needs of the customer and most importantly, his availability and preferences to determine which methodology would be the best for any given project.

Moreover, it is not essential for the team to stick to any one development methodology, you can also make a hybrid of them both and customize a development methodology that allows the project to be handled in the most efficient manner.