Agile vs. Waterfall Methodology: The Battle For Efficiency


Agile methodology is one of the best software development methods currently in practice. Another commendable strategy is the waterfall. But if we compare the differences between agile and waterfall methodology, who wins in a battle for efficiency?

Agile vs. Waterfall Methodology The Battle For Efficiency

Let’s reach a conclusion today with a detailed discussion on agile vs. waterfall methodology, starting with their basic introductions.

What Is Agile Methodology?

The agile development method was developed as an answer to the waterfall method. The agile approach relies on the iterative process of continuous development and testing of a software product till it reaches the desired stage.

Any regular software development project can take years to complete, and a lot can change in those years. The agile method was created to make the process flexible so multiple iterations can survive and adapt to all the changes.

Benefits of Agile Methodology

  • Feedback cycles are much faster with frequent delivery
  • Better for larger-scale implementations
  • Developers can identify problems in the early stages
  • Customer satisfaction can be achieved easily
  • Time to market is reduced
  • Better visibility
  • Better accountability
  • Since the teams are dedicated, productivity is higher
  • The prioritization process is flexible
  • The priority focuses on value delivery
  • It’s a client focus process that involves the client in all development stages.
  • The team is self-organized and motivated
  • Product quality is always high from constant maintenance
  • Risk in the development process is reduced

Limitations of Agile Methodology

  • Not very useful for smaller projects
  • Requires additional expertise for important decisions
  • Relatively more expensive to implement
  • If the project manager is unsure of the outcome, the project can get sidetracked easily.
  • The learning curve has a cost
  • Has a lot of technical dependencies and engineering costs

What Is Waterfall Methodology?

This model has a more complicated name: Linear Sequential Life Cycle Model. The waterfall method is followed in sequential order. The team will only move to the next step if the previous step has been thoroughly completed.

Benefits of Waterfall Methodology

  • Relatively easier to maintain compared to other development methods
  • It is highly suitable for small-time projects
  • Project delivery is much faster
  • All distinct phases, their processes, and results are documented
  • Easily adaptable even when the team shifts
  • Highly useful for managing dependencies
  • Requires less coordination
  • Costs can be estimated after defining the requirements
  • The design phase is more methodical
  • The designs are structured before the software is written

Limitations of Waterfall Methodology

  • Not ideal for larger projects
  • The method becomes less effective if the understanding of requirements is not clear.
  • Very difficult to change work done in previous stages
  • Testing only starts after the development is complete, which makes bug fixes more expensive
  • It’s more difficult to share work between project team members because of strict phase sequences
  • Risk of time waste during phase transitions
  • Additional project requirements for specialized phase transitions
  • Extra communication overhead during phase transitions
  • Product engagement and ownership are relatively weaker

Agile Vs. Waterfall Methodology: Who Wins?

Let’s put everything we know on a table, and we’ll let you decide for yourself.

Agile MethodologyWaterfall Methodology
Divides the project into sprints that offer rapid delivery, with additional sprints planned for future needsThe whole method is divided into several stages
Reduces risk by following the concept of consistent growthFollows a sequential design process
Known for versatility and flexibilityKnown for being systematic and strict with upfront planning
The additional flexibility allows change in different stages for further progressFollows a one-way development strategy, where requirements cannot be changed once the requirements phase ends
The development process is a compilation of several outlinesThe development process is one detailed outline
The same phase may appear multiple timesEach phase appears only once, even requirements gathering
The demands can be changed or developed over timeThe initial requirements are specific and cannot be changed during later stages.
The testing and building phase continues simultaneouslyThe testing phase comes only after the building phase is complete
The entire development team focuses on customer satisfaction along with project completionThe entire team only focuses on project completion
Works better with non-fixed financesRisks can be reduced in fixed contracts
The agile implementation allows higher team cooperationDue to high specialization, team cooperation is limited, even restricted
The specifications get updated during the projectThe specifications are made before the project
The timeline isn’t fixed since it experiments with different directionsThe timeline is completely fixed
The level of customer involvement is highHas a higher lack of customer involvement along with clients until specific check-ins are required
The budget is flexible and allows unnecessary project costs to be removedThe budget is fixed, and project costs can be high in the long run

Which Methodology Should You Choose?

Even after knowing all the specifics, If you’re at a fix on which method you should go for, ask yourself these two questions:

  • What kind of work do we do?
  • Who is going to do the work?

No matter your approach, the answer to these two questions is vital to determine the right step. Know the situation of your software project and dedicated team, and then decide on the method that suits you the most.

Though projects done with the agile method have twice the chance of success, the waterfall project management approach is a traditional method you should overlook either.

To Wrap It Up

Both agile and waterfall frameworks are highly useful for development, depending on the current project type. The efficiency of these models will entirely depend on how you use them. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for software development. Some software development agencies even use a hybrid approach by using both methods simultaneously.

Are you hesitant to make a decision? Are you concerned about the future of your product and want to stick to the right method for the job? Contact Impala Intech for help!

Why is the agile method preferred?

Agile development methodology offers a wide range of flexibility in terms of development, budget, and time constraints. The easygoing nature of the method is appealing to developers.

Does the agile method cost more?

The agile method can be cheaper since it eliminates unnecessary development steps and resource costs.

Is the waterfall method more expensive?

Yes, the waterfall method can get very expensive in the long run. Especially during the bug testing phase because fixing bugs in later stages require a lot more resources.

Why are any of these methodologies required?

These two methods are the most effective for different scales of development to go through the entire development cycle efficiently.

Which method between these two should I choose?

There is no specific answer to this since not every situation is the same. Analyze your organization’s current situation, and pick the method that suits you and your team best.


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