What are Agile & Waterfall Methodologies?

The golden rule of project management? No project is the same; the way to approach each one depends on its own characteristics. Project management companies usually focus on the Agile and Waterfall methodologies: Do you know which one is best suited to your situation?

What Is the Waterfall Methodology

Like a waterfall, this very popular method moves the project step by step, without overlapping or turning back. The project therefore follows a linear direction until it reaches its objective. Popularized by the construction and automotive industry, this model works well in a context of simple, rigid and repetitive work whose phases depend on each other and where there is little interaction with the client.

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Waterfall Methodology in a Nutshell

  • The Waterfall methodology is based on specifications followed to the letter.
  • It includes six stages: requirements, analysis, design, coding, testing, and deployment.
  • Everything is planned down to the last detail.
  • There is little or no going back
  • The client receives the project when it is finished and does not intervene in the production cycle.

Benefits

  • This predictable method makes it easy to estimate the budget, time and resources required for the entire project.
  • Waterfall is easy to implement and ensures equal quality every time (unless under exceptional circumstances).
  • Its simplicity and linearity make it a good solution for product design, for example in a production line context.
  • A clear idea of ​​the final product is established from the start.

Weaknesses

  • The Waterfall model depends on a heavier administrative burden.
  • Its rigidity poses a lack of flexibility, making it challenging to adapt to changes.
  • Changing one phase of the project could affect all the others, causing delays and an increase in budget.
  • As the customer only sees the product at the end, the risks of dissatisfaction are greater than with an adaptive method like Agile.

What Is the Agile Methodology

This adaptive, iterative and incremental method is made up of short development cycles called “sprints” aimed to create functionalities. These stages promote team autonomy and require a lot of communication with the client. Agile is often found in software design.

Agile in a Nutshell

  • The Agile method begins with the creation of a backlog (a list of project functionalities which are then prioritized according to their cost in value and effort).
  • Each sprint begins with a meeting and ends after approximately fifteen days.
  • A test/QA phase takes place between each sprint.
  • The unfinished project is then delivered to the client who must approve it before the next sprint can begin.

Benefits

  • As the client is consulted regularly, the project is adapted in due time. Its priorities are reviewed and its functionalities are always optimized.
  • The teams collaborate together while enjoying more autonomy and flexibility; they have a more “intimate” relationship with the project.
  • The Agile method allows the creation of functional prototypes called MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

Weaknesses

  • Customer feedback can delay project delivery; it also involves utmost reactivity from the team, as well as tact.
  • The project manager must show leadership and be on all fronts, at all times.
  • It is difficult to predict the number of sprints that will be required, so the project delivery date can only be estimated.
  • The same goes with the budget which is likely to change as the project evolves.

If you’re still not sure which methodology is best for you or how to implement it, contact a project management company with consulting and training services! 

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