Waterfall method v/s Agile methodology in Software Development

Software development industry mainly drives their project life cycles through two approaches.

1. Traditional software development approach/Waterfall method.

2. Agile methodology

Before choosing a vendor for software development or specifically for custom software development it is important to get familiar with these 2 methods to see which method is best suitable for business requirements.

Let’s start with the Traditional software method; normally these practices are broken down into different phases. The initiation starts from the set up of the requirement to see the timelines and implementation bias. After the requirements are done second step is to design the diagrams and models to provide a road map for the developers.

Further moving on after the road map is created the third phase consist of the development of the project. The development is broken into smaller task which is distributed among various teams depending on the skills. During the project execution normally testing part is done to avoid bugs in later stage. And after the project comes to completion the customer start the testing of the software and after the client is satisfied the project is delivered

Summary of Traditional Approach:

Requirement set up – Design – Development – Testing – Customer Testing – Project delivery

The main feature for implementing through tradition approach is heavy documentation, which allows you to set the timelines and project implementation requirement clearly before start. Because of this there are chances where changes in the requirement will affect the development. Although in real software development there are various problems that may arise as there might be change in the company processes or other changes during the development phase. Because the Tradition approach to software development does don’t provide changing ability to address the issues. Hence a little more flexible approach specifically for custom development is agile methodology.

In Agile method the more concentration is on the proper completion of the task through team collaboration. This phase rarely rely on the documentation part to measure the progress of the project. Hence agile development is not restricted to Functional requirement document. Agile method is followed in case of dynamic needs of the project or custom software development.

The Approach of agile development:

In Agile method the tasks are broken into small increment which is also known as iteration having short cycles which complete in 2 to 4 weeks. Further iteration follows the similar process of traditional software development which is as follows:

Requirement set up – Design & Development – Client Demo – Re- evaluation – Phase delivery

In the above if you see the customer involvement is very necessary as in every small phase the client testing is require to see if any alterations or customizations require in the development process. The Agile method involves different iteration to complete the total project requirements. Another advantage of Agile Methodology is the client receive working version of the software as the development happens in phases which decrease the risk of ROI – return on investment and provide the client with continuous feedback on the software development.

There are very less risk in Project delivery if a firm opt for agile methodology but it should be noted that with Agile development the vendor who is developing the software must be very experience to give proper timelines on the project & customization points. Another important point to be consider while applying agile methodology is that this method highly dependent on customer feedback and their involvement. If client doesn’t have time to invest then it may be difficult to do development through Agile.

From the above differentiation we can say that both waterfall and agile development methods are workable solutions with success. But to summarize in short Waterfall strategy are applied when the project requirements are very much clear and do not need customizations. And agile development is applied when the project requires flexibility and customization as per business processes.

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