Agile is one of the most widely used approaches in software development. The Waterfall method is another important and widely used method. The Waterfall model advocates a method of sequential downward progress. It also includes phases like analysis, design, development, and testing. While using the waterfall approach, extensive research is conducted on the specific topic. This aids in stopping if there is a risk of harm. As a result, the release date is more precise and predictable.
What exactly is the Waterfall Model?
The Waterfall model has been in use for over 50 years. It was first described as one of the very first formal software development process models in a 1970 paper (Dr Winston W Royce).
The waterfall is frequently referred to as a ‘linear-sequential lifecycle model’.
This means that it follows a straightforward phase structure, with the outcomes of each phase cascading down to the next level of development. In other words, instead of one large Niagara Falls, we’re looking at a series of cascading waterfalls, each with its own set of activities.
The Waterfall model Phases
The waterfall method’s phases are simple, which means they progress from top to bottom. A new phase can begin only after the previous one has finished. The names of the phases may differ from one organisation to the next, but the concept behind them remains relatively constant. The various phases are as follows:
1. Requirement Gathering and analysis
During this phase, all potential system requirements are captured and documented in a requirement specification document.
The design phase is divided into two parts: logical design and physical design. During the logical phase, brainstorming occurs, and potential solutions are considered. After thinking of solutions, they are designed to the proper specifications. This is the physical phase of the design process.
As the name implies, the acquired data from the design phase is used in the implementation phase. During this phase, codes are generated, and other technical tasks are completed.
The product is handed over to him for review during the verification phase. The customer determines whether or not the desired requirements are met. The finished product is delivered to the customer.
In the waterfall approach, the maintenance phase is of the utmost significance. This is because bugs are found during product maintenance. It may also be determined that the product’s features are insufficient for the job. At this point, the team returns to fix the problems and keep the product operational.
Similarly, there are some other well-known waterfall methodologies. PRINCE2 is one of them; it was developed by the UK government and is still widely used in the public sector.
Furthermore, Waterfall is frequently positioned at the exact opposite end of the software development spectrum from Agile software development. The waterfall demands everything to be laid out in written documentation before any code gets developed, which is one of the primary distinctions between the two methodologies. Because of this approach, it is critical that all requirements are carefully defined from the start, as it may be difficult to modify them later.
Exploring the Advantages and Disadvantages of Waterfall Development
Waterfall development has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look.
- Simple and simple to understand and apply
- As a result of the rigidity of the model, it is easy to manage. Each phase has its own set of deliverables and a review process.
- The processing and completion of each phase occur sequentially, one at a time.
- This approach is effective for smaller projects that have clearly defined requirements.
- Stages are clearly defined.
- Milestones that are well understood.
- Tasks are simple to organise.
- The process and results are well documented.
- The production of functional software is postponed until the later stages of the life cycle.
- There exists a significant amount of risk and uncertainty.
- Not suitable for complex, object-oriented projects.
- Poor model for long-term projects.
- Not recommended for projects with a moderate to high risk of changing requirements. As a result, the risk and uncertainty associated with this process model are high.
- Measuring progress within stages is difficult.
- Cannot accommodate changing needs.
- Changing the scope of a project during its life cycle can lead to its demise.
- Integration occurs as a “big bang” at the end, making it impossible to identify any technological or business bottlenecks or challenges early on.
What types of projects are best suited to Waterfall development?
During Waterfall Development, it is vital that software developers provide effective guidance and advice to clients so that problems can be avoided later. A common criticism of waterfall development is that customers don’t really know what they want.
Often, two-way interaction between developers and clients does not begin until the client sees the model in action. (In comparison, agile development allows the client to see chunks of working code developed and demonstrated throughout the process.)
If you are unsure about which development model is best for the business you run, consult with experts for the best software development services in the UK who can guide you and assist you with your unique software development service needs.