Even though the Agile method is now being increasingly adopted by organizations worldwide, especially for software development, too many organizations still cling to waterfall. The main thing that influences the decision what methodology is used are probably the existing processes. Your organization’s current processes are likely to determine the way you run your project, regardless of its nature. But, this shouldn’t be the case. Project managers are more than able to assist their organizations and suggest how they should implement projects in the most effective and efficient way while reducing risks. For this, you need to have a deeper understanding of how each project management methodology may impact the project and its success. Choosing the right methodology can be key to successful completion of a project. So, if your organization still uses the waterfall methodology, read on and see for yourself why this needs to change.
As you know, the Waterfall method is a sequential approach, separating a project into different phases, where one phase has to be completed before starting the next one. So here are the 3 crucial flaws caused by this:
1 No Flexibility
The Waterfall method in its core puts following a predetermined set of steps, as the methodology, in its traditional form, leaves almost no room for unexpected changes or revisions. You have to be clear with all the development requirements beforehand and just keep your team always moving forward. A probable and highly undesirable scenario is that your team will carefully follow the steps nearly to the end of the project but, they may face an unforeseen obstruction that requires a change in scope or goals. Since the used methodology doesn’t welcome change, proceeding with the initial plan won’t be easy. As you’ll have already put a considerable amount of work into a project, under very specific and fixed assumptions, an unexpected change to any parameter of the project may render much of the finished work useless. This may have severe consequences and even throw off the entire timeline. Another aspect of Waterfall that reduces flexibility is that Waterfall projects are highly integrated and not an object-oriented approach.
2 Uncertain and time consuming preplanning
When using this method you must produce a detailed and thorough requirement definition in one of the earliest phases of the project. But, in such an early phase of the project, trying to define the requirements is often very difficult. Therefore, many of the requirements are subject to change throughout the project. Specifying requirements in advance means that a lot of the requirements are based on assumptions. You may come across many difficulties to validate those assumptions, since the first builds are not available until late in the development phase. Even the client has to outline all their preferences upfront, without seeing a working version. Once the first builds are available, it’s often too late to change requirements without substantial delays of the project. Also, when planning everything up front, very often you can overlook certain changes due to business plans or market influences. Since change is unwelcome and difficult to sproveduva, any new developments or changes of requirements which may occur after the initial consultation can present a significant issue.
3 Delayed Testing Period
Testing is a very important phase of a project as the results have impact on all the work that has been done. The best practice would be to integrate testing as a fundamental and continual process throughout development. This has been the case with more recent SDLC models, whereas the waterfall model largely differs, leaving the testing until quite late into the life cycle. This means quality and security issues or integration problems with existing products are typically discovered quite late in the process. Fixing such issues requires a lot of effort. What’s worse, sometimes testing may be short-changed in order to stay on schedule, and that means that bugs will be discovered by the customer only after the product is delivered. In turn, this makes fixing the code expensive and time consuming. It has been shown that a bug identified at later stage can cost up to 60 percent more to get fixed, as compared to its cost when identified at an earlier stage. Another issue related to the testing is possible appearance of careless coding practices. This may be due to the fact that testing teams often get a lesser time frame to complete test execution as more time is spent during initial stages for detailed documentation, and testing is only an afterthought so not much attention is paid.