IPM Coalition

integrated pest management

Waterfall Methodology

Much like construction and manufacturing workflows, waterfall methodology is a sequential design process. This means that as each of the eight stages (conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, implementation, and maintenance) are completed, the developers move on to the next step.
As this process is sequential, once a step has been completed, developers can’t go back to a previous step – not without scratching the whole project and starting from the beginning. There’s no room for change or error, so a project outcome and an extensive plan must be set in the beginning and then followed carefully.
Advantages of the Waterfall Methodology
1. The waterfall methodology stresses meticulous record keeping. Having such records allows for the ability to improve upon the existing program in the future.
2. With the waterfall methodology, the client knows what to expect. They’ll have an idea of the size, cost, and timeline for the project. They’ll have a definite idea of what their program will do in the end.
3. In the case of employee turnover, waterfall’s strong documentation allows for minimal project impact.
Disadvantages of the Waterfall Methodology
1. Once a step has been completed, developers can’t go back to a previous stage and make changes.
2. Waterfall methodology relies heavily on initial requirements. However, if these requirements are faulty in any manner, the project is doomed.
3. If a requirement error is found, or a change needs to be made, the project has to start from the beginning with all new code.
4. The whole product is only tested at the end. If bugs are written early, but discovered late, their existence may have affected how other code was written.
Additionally, the temptation to delay thorough testing is often very high, as these delays allow short-term wins of staying on-schedule.
5. The plan doesn’t take into account a client’s evolving needs. If the client realizes that they need more than they initially thought, and demand change, the project will come in late and impact budget.
When should you use waterfall methodology?
1. When there is a clear picture of what the final product should be.
2. When clients won’t have the ability to change the scope of the project once it has begun.
3. When definition, not speed, is key to success.

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