Everything changes over time. From music to clothes to cars, the list is endless. Software development has followed the same evolution. For most of its history, software development was dominated by the Waterfall methodology. There just wasn’t a better alternative.
Then Agile came into the picture, and it rocked the software development world. Today, we’re going to put these two tried-and-true software development methods against each other. Waterfall vs Agile. It’ll give you a broad overview of the major differences between them, along with their pros and cons.
Suggested read: How an agile roadmap will help your project?
The Major Differences Between Agile and Waterfall
You’ve probably already picked up on some major differences between Agile and Waterfall, but to make sure you understand nearly all of them, let’s break them down one by one.
Waterfall has a rigid structure. One stage has to cascade or “fall” like water careening over rocks into the next stage. Developers are forced to move in a sequential pattern.
Agile has no strict structure. Even the structure we gave you in the last section can and does change depending on the method used and the team deploying the method. Each project starts in small modules and receives regular feedback.
Waterfall depends upon dense documentation from the very beginning. Without it, development teams cannot proceed.
Agile has very little documentation. Agile teams gather what they need to get started and then just…start. Because sprints are done in short periods, there is a lot of review and change. Essentially, documents are built-in real-time along with the software.
Because of Waterfall’s strict structure, developers are assigned specific roles that are usually unchanging throughout the development process.
With Agile’s lack of structure, team members are interchangeable.
Waterfall prioritizes the completion of the entire project rather than individual components.
Agile prioritizes the most essential and valuable features of a software product to be developed and implemented first – reducing the risk of unusable or wasteful features.
Waterfall uses customer feedback at specified milestones in development or the very end when the product is complete.
Agile relies on customer feedback constantly, throughout the entire process, at any time they want to solicit feedback.
Basically waterfall tests software products at the very end of the software development cycle.
Agile tests software products throughout the entire development cycle, many times over, to find and remove bugs as soon as possible.
Waterfall mostly never permits for requirements to modify throughout the development process. It requires clearly defined requirements upfront.
Agile inspires modification and if requirements suddenly change during the process, Agile teams can easily adjust.
Who Wins in the Battle Between Waterfall vs Agile?
Nowadays Customers demand high-quality products that are put out faster. The competition in software development is fiercer than it’s ever been, and it’s only getting fiercer. If you want to stay ahead of your competitors and please your customers, then we recommend Agile far above Waterfall.
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The problem is…putting Agile into practice in your business won’t happen overnight. You probably know that. It takes the dedication of your team, organizational leaders, and top executives to make a new software development model work consistently for you and your clients.