Four examples of when you should consider Waterfall over Agile
- Small web projects
- Date and milestone led
- Client and market requirements are not frequently changing
- Easier application
Before a group of business thought leaders met in a lofty ski resort in Utah, the business of project management was all Waterfalls. But, even then, it could even be said it was going down hill.
Well, hey, it was the 90s still and we had the X-Files, Grunge music and of course Scrum, the first of the Agile Frameworks developed around the early part of the decade. But it wasn't until the manifesto written in that Bond Villain hideout in the mountains of Utah years later (2001) that Agile , as we know it today, was born. And since then we have had a choice on which to use - Waterfall or Agile."I want to believe"Agile is what has given us Google and it is GREAT but what if all we want is a 10 page website for a small business? Do we need to go Agile or Scrum for such a small, low risk project?
No, in this article I will argue that Waterfall does have its place still. Before we go further let’s do the obligatory summary of what each methodology entails.
The waterfall model is a linear project management approach, where stakeholder and customer requirements are gathered at the beginning of the project, and then a sequential project plan is created to accommodate those requirements. - projectmanager.com
The old way of working. This has been the process used by companies since the 1970s. Waterfall works best with companies with structured rules, regulations and often binding and creative restrictions.
It has gates that do not allow you to move forward until the previous criteria has been met. This can result in time delays, people pinching and low team morale. Waterfall is often burdened with missed deadlines, stalled by closed gate authority procedures and high risk deliverables at the end that do not meet the customer requirements.
Also set in rules but these rules are based on the understanding that the project scope and the project outcome may not be a fixed post. That this post is moveable and flexible based on the project cycle of customer feedback and the development cycle. In fact this is a big point to make. The customer/client is PART of the team, an integrated, measured and qualitative cog of the wheel of Agile. Motivated team members collaborate with the customer to analyze, test and develop in a time frame of usually 2-4 weeks of iterative releases of the product. Teams and people over process and tools. This delivers working software over comprehensive documentation.So that is a brief overview. This article is not a review of the two methodologies. I'm assuming, if you are reading this, that you already know about Waterfall and Agile. Many articles have already been written in depth.
Here is a video from One Month, and e-learning company, to better explain:
1. Small web projects. Waterfall is great for small business website projects where the team is highly skilled and have worked in the past on such projects. These websites require little understanding of the customer and a team of web designers and ux designers should have understanding of the level of design that is required for a small website. The team would have completed many projects of similar size and requirements in the past and are highly trained and dedicated to these tools and software. Relying on history and experience, the project should be completed quickly and with little or no impediments.
2. Date and milestone led. Waterfall is a Linear Sequential Life Cycle Model. It relies on key dates or milestones that must be met in order for the next stage to begin. For teams that are accustomed to this and work to this structure, Waterfall would be a better fit.
3. Client and market requirements are not frequently changing. Waterfall is great for when the outcome is known and there are planned processes in place along with the technology to complete the project being static. In addition, it works well when the necessary tools and techniques used are stable and will not change and when all the data is known and the requirements of the customer will not change as well.
4. Finally, Agile demands business transformation. Many companies are not ready for it. They want to be Agile but they are not led or managed by Agile leaders. Agile requires a change of the way a company thinks, not just works. Waterfall is a better fit for teams that cannot commit to the Agile manifesto and methodology 100%.