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Agile Vs Waterfall

Learn the Difference Between Two Techniques

If you work in the software industry or project management, you're probably familiar with the terminology agile and waterfall. These approaches are the backbone of any software project. At the start of each software project, teams and organizations decide which approach to follow. Software projects use a technique known as the SDLC to ensure that the final output is of excellent quality. An SDLC defines stages and the organized flow of information from one phase to the next. There are typically six to seven steps in SDLC. Agile and waterfall are two well-known SDLC approaches, although they are completely different.

Dr. Winstn Royce is widely regarded as the founder of the waterfall technique. Moreover, he emphasized the fundamentals of software and system development. If we talk about Agile history, Agile's background was presented clearly when the group of 17 programmers met in Snowbird, Utah. They planned to build on their efforts and arrive at a more tangible answer to the key development concerns of the moment at this summit. The manifesto for agile development was completed.

Agile Vs Waterfall

Before going deep into the differences between the two processes, it is important to understand the basics of Agile and Waterfall techniques.

What is Waterfall Methodology?

The term "waterfall" refers to a sequential method to development. The conventional approach depends on strict planning and execution of the project's strategy. It enables the completion of projects more quickly.
According to this technique, the following series of events occurs:

Requirements, Gathering, and Documentation

All succeeding stages of development must adhere to this documentation. The client communicates with the team on the project's execution solely at the beginning and end.


At this step, the developers attempt to create a form that satisfies all of the customer's needs.

Coding and unit testing

This stage's primary objective is to validate codes and unites. Then we evaluate system and user approval.

Handing over the finalized product

Each of these occurrences occurs at a unique level of software development in a typical development project. Typically, each step must complete before the next may begin. Additionally, each has a stage-gate. For instance, before design can begin, a customer must evaluate and accept specifications.

What is Agile Methodology?

An Agile Methodology is a new approach to problem-solving. This iterative development method stresses the speedy delivery of a fully working application. Sprints divide the time spent into manageable chunks. Every sprint has a set time and a continuous list of deliverables.

Difference between Agile and Waterfall Approach

Both techniques may aid in the production of high-quality software by a development team. Knowing the difference between agile and waterfall development may help a team identify the best processes and methodologies for delivering a successful software project, depending on the individual project requirements. Several notable distinctions include the following:

Waterfall Agile comparison
  • Agile is a method that is incremental and iterative; Waterfall is a linear and sequential method.
  • Agile projects divide into sprints, while Waterfall projects divide into phases.
  • Agile enables the completion of several small projects; However, Waterfall enables the completion of a single large project.
  • Agile fosters a product-oriented perspective with a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction; Waterfall fosters a project-oriented mentality with a strong emphasis on effective project delivery.
  • In Agile, we specify requirements daily, while in Waterfall, we specify requirements only once we start the project.
  • Agile allows requirement modification at any point throughout the project's execution; Waterfall prohibits scope modifications once the project begins.
  • In Agile, testing occurs simultaneously with development; in Waterfall, testing occurs after the build process.
  • Agile allows the whole team to manage the project without a single project manager; Waterfall needs a professional project manager to oversee each step.

Which approach should you follow? Agile or Waterfall

The question arises that which technique you should follow. It is highly dependent on a number of critical aspects. The waterfall approach is the best option when there is no access to a consumer to offer continuous feedback. Agile is suitable for big and complex projects. Moreover, Agile approaches are suitable for projects with continually changing needs due to their flexibility.

Agile development exceeds waterfall development as the approach for product development in recent years, being employed by most development firms. However, according to our TrustRadiussurvey, only 19% of respondents said their organization is more agile than waterfall.
According to respondents' experiences, the worst aspects of the waterfall methodology are wasted time, difficulty managing requirements, difficulty adapting to changing needs, the fact that it can be costly and difficult to manage, and ultimately, the fact that it can be less satisfying for both the developers working on the project and the customers receiving the finished product.

Industry example of Agile and Waterfall

Agile + Input: Given their expertise in gathering feedback, it's natural that SurveyMonkey's product development is agile. Agile techniques place a high value on continuous feedback. Phone conversations, collaborative tools, online conferences, and, of course, surveys may all be used to support this input. Qualitative feedback enables you to develop the authenticity necessary for market success.
When a waterfall function effectively? : While agile enterprises often claim cost reductions as a primary reason for selecting their approach, other experts advise small businesses, particularly startups, that waterfall may be the more financially advantageous alternative. According to technology expert Eric Boersma, waterfall may be a good fit for organizations who know precisely what their product is and what it needs and cannot afford to waste time trying. If your firm places a premium on planning and is usually risk cautious, the waterfall technique's score-first approach may be optimal.