Software application development methodologies ~ Agile vs Waterfall model

Agile method and waterfall model both are distinct from one another. One of the initial decision every software developers have to face is that, which model to go for developing the software projects. Software development requires well planned guidance through the scratch till end of the process of the user acceptance and maintenance. When it comes to the software development, for selecting any kind of methodology the success of your project is decided before your work is commenced. Of course that is obvious it begins with planning and choosing the most effective framework for your project. For your guidance, we have put some points forth to help you decide, which methodology of software application development should be adopted.

Waterfall model

The waterfall model is the old traditional development framework that was used in 1970’s. It is a linear sequential model where the output of each phase acts as an input of the following phase. Here the development flows from scratch to end like a waterfall as the name suggest. Waterfall was discovered by none, rather it was inherited from the enterprise resource software developers where once the production of first phase is completed it is impossible to go back to the previous phase. It is impractical and very much costly to manage. Here the coding is done after the requirements and designs are final out. In general terms, waterfall model deals with startup phase, planning phase, execution phase and closing phase. And as it is difficult to go back to the previous phase, requirements must be reviewed and approved by the customer. There is no room to update the error without scratching from the first, so a proper extensive planned should be made from beginning and executed carefully.


  • As waterfall model is a sequential model, it is easy to understand and well manageable. Team doesn’t need any training or a knowledge for developing waterfall model.
  • With this model, clients have much clear ideas of what to expect from this model i.e it’s cost, size, time frame.
  • The process is properly documented since this method places high emphasis on requirements and design documentation.
  • Its progress is more easily measured, as whole work is measured in advance.


  • The main con for this development model is, once the first phase is completed, one can’t checkout the previous phase. Incase if any errors occur in testing, than it becomes dam expensive and difficult to modify the changes.
  • In the first phase of the waterfall model, clients must identify their project requirements. However it is tough for them to identify what they want in the early stage of the project.
  • If the customer is dissatisfied about its delivered software project, it is difficult to make changes, as all the deliverables are based on the documentation and customer will only be able to see their outcome at the end of the project.

Agile Model

Agile is the solution for the cons faced in waterfall model. In agile development model, incremental approach is followed instead of sequential one. In this approach design process is broken into individual model. Agile in terms of development is defined as a communication and flexibility of the project. Agile development tool uses variety of method in order to produce efficient result. This category is more adaptable than waterfall model as it has a good timeframe to work when requirement keeps on changing. Here you also get the flexibility to catch out the bugs found during the development as well as if you encounter any bug in testing, you can go back to the previous phase for its recovery. The sole aim for the each iteration is to produce the product which can to shown to the customer. And then feedbacks are given for the future iterations.


  • In agile model, changes can be done at any time during the project development. And you can always, go back to the backlogs for any modifications.
  • For the real time development, it gives the chance to improve at every phase.
  • As the products are tested thoroughly at every sprints it is easy to deliver at the end of any cycle.
  • As it allows you to add features as and when require, you can always add extra functionalities to keep your product to the industry standards.


  • Generally Agile teams are very small, so team members of the agile must be highly skilled in the varieties of areas.
  • Agile also depends on the capabilities of project manager. It can turn out into list of code sprint, if project manager is not careful about it. As a result your project may take more time and it can become expensive too.
  • Here if the any team member leaves the project in between the development, it can be highly be a catastrophic which is unlikely in waterfall as it is document based.

Which is better? Waterfall or Agile?

Both Agile and Waterfall have their own approaches, advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, waterfall model is generally used for the static projects; it is not likely to make many changes throughout the project. In contrast agile is preferable for the smaller project where you can make infinite changes whenever you wish. As agile is more flexible than waterfall, you can meet the customer requirements more easily. If you think that, your requirements will be changing as per the industry standards than choose agile. If you know your requirements, exactly what you need than waterfall model is much better option. It’s obvious that when it comes for selecting the methodology between two, there is no correct or incorrect choice. You need to understand your requirements and choose it which is suitable for you.



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