agile and waterfall development

if this is not something you’ve worked with before, a definition of development methodology is in order; put very simply, it’s a way of organizing the work of software development. this is not about a style of project management or a specific technical approach, although you will often hear these terms all thrown together or used interchangeably. having been involved in software development projects for a long time, here are my thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of each. there is also typically a stage gate between each; for example, requirements must be reviewed and approved by the customer before design can begin. rather than creating tasks and schedules, all time is “time-boxed” into phases called “sprints.” each sprint has a defined duration (usually in weeks) with a running list of deliverables, planned at the start of the sprint. if all planned work for the sprint cannot be completed, work is reprioritized and the information is used for future sprint planning.

agile relies on a very high level of customer involvement throughout the project, but especially during these reviews. first, we change the game a little (which is what most software development organizations do) by defining our own process. our modifications include use of prototyping where possible to provide the customer a better view of their finished product early in the design/development cycle. after the primary framework of the application is completed per high level requirements, we continue to develop and also to reach out to the customer for refinement of requirements. although we are starting to see mass adoption of various agile methodologies in the enterprise (even dod and federal agencies), there are still many organizations that are slow to make the change. it is also very common for organization to transition into more of a hybrid agile approach that combines aspect of both agile and waterfall. the project management institute (pmi) that developed the project management body of knowledge (pmbok) guide collaborated with the agile alliance to bundle the two guides in one offering to help organizations, managers and leadership increase agility in the development process.

software projects follow a methodology of clearly defined processes or software development life cycle (sdlc) to ensure the end product is of high quality. an sdlc identifies phases and the structured flow from one phase to another phase. waterfall methodology is a traditional model for developing engineering systems and is originally based on manufacturing and construction industry projects. it is a linear and sequential approach, where phases flow downward (waterfalls) to the next. agile methodology is a type of incremental model of software development based on principles that focuses more on people, results, collaboration, and flexible responses to change. each iteration includes all sdlc phases such that a working product is delivered at the end. depending on the specific project requirement, knowing the difference between agile and waterfall can better equip a team to choose the right process and methods in delivering a successful software project.

some of the distinct differences are: agile methodology is a team-based approach that emphasizes rapid deployment of a functional application with a focus on customer satisfaction. at the start of each sprint, a list of deliverables are prioritized based on customer input. waterfall methodology is a sequential approach that divides the sdlc to distinct phases such as requirements gathering, analysis and design, coding and unit testing, system and user acceptance testing, and deployment. in between phases, a deliverable is expected or a document is signed off. it is plan-driven, so any changes after the project has started would offset the original plan and require a restart. a better way to approach a software development project is to focus first on your business goals. jose is a subject matter expert and member of the writing team for project-management.com and bridge24.

waterfall is a liner sequential life cycle model whereas agile is a continuous iteration of development and testing in the software development process. agile allows changes in project development requirement whereas waterfall has no scope of changing the requirements once the project development starts. the waterfall methodology. waterfall is a linear approach to software development. in this methodology, the two main development methodologies are agile and waterfall. they are commonly applied to, .

agile separates a project into sprints; waterfall divides a project into phases. agile allows requirement changes at any time; waterfall avoids scope changes once the project starts. testing is performed concurrently with development in agile; testing phase comes only after the build phase in waterfall. agile software development relies on self-organizing, cross-functional teams discovering and building a dynamic systems development method (dsdm): this agile project delivery framework is used for,

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