The Advantages and Disadvantages of Agile and Waterfall Software Development

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Agile and Waterfall Software Development
What does come to your mind when you think about software development? Coding, right? You are not alone. Most people think about coding whenever they talk about software development. While coding is, definitely, the central factor of developing the software, people should not underestimate the impacts of other factors. Coding cannot happen overnight. It is not something you dream one night and start working on it on the very next morning. Coding requires intense analysis, planning and feasibility checks even before you write a single line for coding. Planning enables you to assess the situation and helps you scout the best way to approach the software. It is the combination of everything that enables you to create software that offers you the coveted results. If you are not sure about the approaches of software development, fret not. In the below section of this article, we have talked about the two most commonly used methods of software development; Agile and Waterfall. Take a look below to understand the advantages and disadvantages of using these two methods while developing your software.

What Is the Software Development Life Cycle?

There are multiple steps in software development. The stages are; requirement analysis, planning, designing, development, testing, and deployment. The approaches to the lifecycle of software development vary depending on the coveted end results and the projects. Among all the different approaches, Agile and Waterfall are the two most popular ones.

Waterfall Method

Also considered as a linear sequential life cycle model, the waterfall is known for its highly sequential methodology. It is one of the earliest life cycles that have been introduced for software development. The term ‘highly sequential’ indicates that the software development process always follows a strict path. In this, you can move to the next level only if the previous level is completed. This method for developing software is perfect for the projects that are not too complicated and do not have an opportunity for further development in the future. The advantages and disadvantages of using this methodology are as follows.

Advantages

 
a.Clarity
The strict method of development enables the developer to announce the deliverables and timelines of the project well in advance. It helps the managers to create an environment of clear communication with the clients and the development team.
b.Documentation
This methodology demands extensive documentation of each of the stages. This rigorous documentation eliminates or reduces the chances of misunderstandings or errors.
c.Efficient Work
If you follow this methodology, you would not be required to employ every one of your development team to complete one task. The method helps you to explain the tasks to the workers clearly, allowing each of them to concentrate on their job.
d.Hands-off approach:
The waterfall method moves the software development process in a hands-off customer approach. That means, after the planning and designing are over, the developers would not feel any presence of the customers till it is review time.

Disadvantages

 
a. Lack of Involvement of The Customers:
While the hands-off approach can help the developers to work in relative peace, it can also create a negative impact. There are some projects where the involvement of the customer is necessary. If the customers do not like the hands-off approach, then the waterfall method can create significant issues.
b.Difficulty in Making Changes:
As this method follows strict steps, it is sometimes difficult to trace back to the previous stages to make certain changes. It can become an issue if the developer faces roadblocks. As you should not expect that the customers would understand the software right from the beginning, you will need to be flexible.
c.Last Minute Testing
Developing software is a time-bound process. In the waterfall method, if the coding procedure takes up more than the allocated time, the development team is compelled to compromise on the testing phase of the software to complete the project within the stipulated time frame.

Agile Method

While the waterfall method gives stress on advance planning, the agile method is all about adaptability and involvement. The two main elements of this method are teamwork and time. This method encourages breaking the projects into different individual deliverable pieces. These deliverables are known as the sprints. Each of these deliverables is a few weeks long. Once that deliverable is complete, it goes to the clients for feedback. Depending on this feedback, the next phase of the development is planned.

Advantages

 
a.Client Involvement
One of the biggest advantages of using this method is the involvement of the clients. It makes sure that the end product always fulfils the requirements of the clients.
b.Flexibility Regarding deliverables
In this method, you can arrange the deliverables according to the importance of the tasks. For example, it allows you to release the basic version of the software even when the development process is not fully done.
c.Adaptability
Adaptability is one of the advantages of using the agile method. It helps you understand which portion of the software development is complete and where the developers still need to work. It also helps the developers to plan the sprints without facing many hassles.
d.Customer-friendly
It involves the customers in every phase of development.

Disadvantages

 
a.High Commitment Levels
It requires the full development team to commit to a single project. That can pose a huge challenge for the development team if they have to work on multiple projects.
b.High Cost and Late Deadlines
While the sprints allow the developers to plan the development process, it also enhances the chance of pushing the deliverable deadlines. If you need to concoct additional sprints for a project, then the cost of the project creeps up significantly.
c.Communication
As this method involves the customers in every phase of development, the managers need to keep in constant touch with them. That can hinder the workflow significantly. All in all, both of these factors have respective advantages and disadvantages. Which among these two methods is suitable for your project entirely depends on the type of the project. You can consult with the adept professionals of Matrix Media Solutions to come to the final solution. We will not only help you choose the right methodology, we will also make sure that your project becomes successful.
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Vedant Darji
Vedant Darji

Yes, It’s a really great point you have shared. Thanks for sharing this.

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