A Guide on Waterfall Methodology


Waterfall Methodology: Is It As Smooth As Water? waterfall methodology

There are multiple methodologies in practice in the modern software development world. The waterfall methodology is still one of the oldest and most efficient methods used in traditional software development.

Today, we’ll discuss everything you should know about waterfall methodology and find out how efficient it can be for your next project.

What Is The Waterfall Methodology?

Waterfall methodology is a linear process of software project management. The methodology has several discrete phases; one phase doesn’t begin until the previous one is completed.

Waterfall methodology has originated from the roots of manufacturing and construction, and that’s where the strictness in the operation comes from. In these fields, all operations happen in one big sequence, and one step doesn’t commence until the previous one is finished.

As a result, this methodology requires strict planning for each step to smoothly transition into the next one.

Benefits of Software Development In Waterfall Methodology

1. The Training Method Is Simple

The waterfall method emphasizes documentation, and it’s easy to add new teammates by using this documentation as references without spending excessive time on training.

A new programmer on the team doesn’t have to dig through the files to understand what the previous developer was up to. They can look at the documentation to update themselves on the situation.

2. The Progress Is Visible

The waterfall method is a great way of making all progress transparent. The first phase clearly describes all the milestones the developers want to achieve with the project, so it’s pretty easy to determine how close a project is to completion.

Since waterfall doesn’t allow to go back to previous steps, the progress of the current step gives product owners a better idea about the current progress of the overall project.

3. Projects Become Easier To Manage

Due to its linear nature, the waterfall methodology makes projects very easy to manage. At any given time, you know exactly where the project is. That way, you and your team aren’t constantly scrambling to reach a certain stage of progress.

Also, in case of any kind of professional delay, developers can refer to the documentation anytime and catch up to the delays.

4. Saves A Lot of Development Time and Resources

When the project steps are so detailed, and the documentation is so insightful, there’s no denying that the waterfall method is a great way to save development time and resources.

Since every step is thoroughly planned before the development steps begin, it’s all optimized and streamlined.

5. Uses A Clear Structure

The structure of the entire project management methodology is very simple compared to how it may sound:

  • Requirement gathering and documentation
  • System design
  • Implementation
  • Testing
  • Delivery/deployment
  • Maintenance

Phases of The Waterfall Model

1. Requirement Gathering & Documentation

Start by gathering comprehensive information on what the project requires. You can do so in multiple ways, from interviews to long brainstorming sessions. By the time the phase ends, you’ll have a clear requirement for the project in your hands.

Once done, create detailed documentation for requirements that all of your team members should receive.

2. System Design

With the established requirements, the team can now create a system design. During this phase, no coding is taking place, but the team gets to establish programming languages that they will need later or specific hardware requirements.

3. Implementation

This is the phase where the developers start coding on the infrastructure. Each developer takes notes from the previous stages and writes active code over the basic infrastructure to create functional codes and features.

4. Testing

Once all coding is complete, the testing phase begins. This phase is, of course, testing out the codes to figure out possible bugs or glitches in the code that can render the application or its features unusable.

After extensive testing, all bugs and glitches are then removed for improvement.

5. Delivery/ Deployment

The phase is simple. Once the testing and the basic product are complete, it’s time to deploy the final app for public usage.

6. Maintenance

The responsibilities of the developers don’t just end there. Once the app is published, the developers continuously monitor user feedback to implement changes and updates according to said feedback.

Challenges Regarding Waterfall Methodology

1. Changes Are Very Difficult To Make

In the waterfall method, every development phase is a one-and-done process, meaning you cannot go back to previous stages even if you want to. This means making changes to the software at any point is highly difficult and expensive.

2. Excludes End-Users From The Process

The waterfall method is exclusive to developers only and doesn’t allow any kind of collaboration with end users or other external stakeholders. While this can mean that the developers can work on their projects uninterrupted, the team still loses out on valuable user feedback that can be used to improve the project.

3. The Testing Is Delayed until the Completion

In waterfall, the testing only comes after the whole development is complete. The human error element is very natural, and there can be a great deal of bugs that can take longer time to fix during the testing phase.

When Is the Waterfall Method The Best Fit For You?

Waterfall project is great for projects where:

  • Intense human review is required
  • The project benefits from higher reliability
  • The final result must be as accurate as possible
  • The project cannot waste time on revisions
  • The project is so intense that failure can result in serious losses

To Wrap It Up

The waterfall method may seem archaic from initial viewing, but it’s still considered one of the most efficient and straightforward methods for smaller project management.

Are you unsure whether you can succeed with the waterfall methodology? Why not partner with Impala Intech? Our in-house developers specialize in waterfall methodology, along with agile and DevOps.


How Does the Waterfall Methodology Handle Scope Changes?

Scope changes can be difficult to incorporate, often requiring adjustments from the beginning of the project.

Can the Waterfall Methodology Work in Fast-Paced Industries?

The waterfall methodology might not be well-suited for fast-paced industries due to its sequential nature.

Is the Waterfall Methodology Still Relevant in Modern Software Development?

While newer methodologies exist, the waterfall approach can still be relevant for certain projects with stable requirements.

How Does the Waterfall Methodology Handle Quality Assurance?

Quality assurance is emphasized through testing and validation phases to ensure the final product meets requirements.

Can the Waterfall Methodology Ensure Early Deliverables?

No, the waterfall methodology typically produces deliverables only towards the end of the project, after each phase is complete.