Before beginning a new project, selecting the right development methodology is crucial.
In the project management space, two of the most popular methodologies are Agile and Waterfall. A key aspect of software development is understanding which methodology best supports your team in delivering the best results.
Both methodologies have the same stages, and both have their pros and cons. So, how do you know which one to choose?
Considered by many as a traditional project management approach, the waterfall methodology is a linear and sequential design process. This means, when a step in the development stage is complete, the developers move on the next step.
So, why is it called “waterfall” ?
Picture a waterfall in nature. Once the water falls, it cannot go back up. The same can be true with waterfall development, once a phase of development is completed, it’s difficult to turn back.
- The rigidity of the model makes it easy to manage. Each phase has specific deliverables and a review process.
- Works well for small projects with well-defined requirements.
- Processes and results are well-documented.
- Fully functional software is not produced until later in the software life cycle, causing risk and uncertainty.
- Not ideal for long, complex, or on-going projects.
- Doesn’t allow much room for flexibility, reflection, or revision.
The Agile methodology was developed to escape the limitations of traditional project management approaches. This method focuses on rapid delivery and reducing the risks of software development. Agile is based on an incremental, iterative approach where the initial planning and analysis are kept at a very high level. In fact, initial planning is typically just enough to outline the scope of the development project. Each element of the project is taken from start to finish within an iteration, with the goal to produce a working product.
- Agile provides a degree of flexibility not available with the Waterfall approach.
- Initial product prototypes can be developed and demonstrated rapidly, allowing for subsequent changes to be made at the client request (suitable for environments with steady change).
- Working solutions are delivered frequently allowing for changes even in late phases.
- Project deadlines and cost projection are tentative at best. Changes to the project requirements may occur throughout the development process, make it less than ideal for budget-sensitive clients.
- Depends heavily on customer interaction. If the customer is not clear, the team can be driven in the wrong direction.
- Transfers of technology and knowledge to new team members may be challenging due to the lack of documentation.
Is there a methodology located somewhere in between?
Luckily, there is, and some software and marketing services providers use it.
Instead of strictly adhering to one methodology, we determine what method will work best based on the individual client’s needs.
Companies which have completed hundreds of software projects have learned a thing or two about this approach. Adjusting the software development methodology based on client’s requirements it’s their earned expertise.
Want to try the Scopic method? Let’s work together on your next project!