Difference Between Agile vs Waterfall Project Management
The world has become very competitive today. It is mostly because corporates are complete project-driven nowadays. One has to be skilled and competitive, both at the same time, to get a project and if one is not, then s/he has to be a part of the bench-strength and also stands a high chance of losing his/her job. A project is nothing but a set of operations executed in an orderly manner to achieve the pre-determined success criteria. As project forms an important aspect of any job, project management is the most crucial aspect of a job. It is not just a skill set but also a practice. Managing a project and its phases of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing a project are called project management. The first objective that guarantees the success of a project is achieving all the goals of a project. There are many methodologies/techniques that guide us through the success of a project. They act as a blueprint that helps a project succeed. These methodologies are classified into two broad categories. They are Agile and Waterfall Project Management.
Agile management iterative methodology that guides the success of a project. Iterative means it is completed in small sections or single development cycles. Each iteration is analyzed by the team members and the various stakeholders involved, and the further direction of the project is decided upon. The main advantage of Agile Project Management is that it catches up with hindrances in the path of the project much in advance and makes necessary changes to the project at the right time to save resources and finishes the project on time within the prescribed budget. On the other hand, waterfall project management is a sequential process of project management. It consists of many distinct phases. No phase begins until the previous phase is complete, and the completion of each phase is terminal. The only way to revisit a phase is to start over at phase one. Therefore, there are considerable differences between Agile vs Waterfall Project Management.
Head To Head Comparison Between Agile vs Waterfall Project Management (Infographics)
Below is the top 6 difference between Agile vs Waterfall Project Management.
Key Differences Between Agile vs Waterfall Project Management
The key differences between Agile vs Waterfall Project Management can be highlighted as follows:
- The development process is not separated into discrete sections and is sequentially completed in the Waterfall model, while the Agile methodology divides the project into single development cycles called sprints.
- The waterfall is a structured and rigid methodology, whereas the Agile methodology is popular for its flexibility.
- Waterfall management does not allow any changes in between the process; in case there is a mistake, then the project has to start from scratch, while Agile management allows intermittent changes during the ongoing process.
- All the project phases are completed at once in chronological order in the Waterfall model, while in the Agile methodology, an iterative development approach is followed.
- In the Waterfall model, the testing is done after developing the project, while in the Agile methodology, testing is performed simultaneously with programming or in the same iteration as programming.
- While Waterfall methodology requires customer participation only at milestones, the Agile Project management customer is available throughout the process and gives regular feedback.
- The Waterfall model is the best fit for projects which have well-explained requirements, and change is not expected anywhere while Agile development supports projects in which the requirements are expected to evolve.
- The Waterfall model is very time-consuming for the kind of groundwork it requires, but Agile management is comparatively less time-consuming as it does not require any prior knowledge regarding a project.
Agile vs Waterfall Project Management Comparison Table
Below is the topmost comparison between Agile vs Waterfall Project Management
|Traits||Agile Management||Waterfall Management|
|Customer Availability||Prefers customers to be available throughout the project.||Requires customer availability only at milestones.|
|Scope||Changes can be made well in advance with time in hand and within the given budget. Works well when a scope is not known in advance.||Works well when the scope is known in advance and contract terms limit changes.|
|Feature Prioritization||Features of a project are prioritized, and issues are resolved on a priority basis, increasing funding efficiency and allowing partial success by evading complete failure.||Features are not prioritized, which leads to either complete success or complete failure by maximizing the risk of failure.|
|Team||Prefers small and dedicated teams with high coordination.||Prefers large teams that decreases co-ordination among team members.|
|Funding||Works extremely well by increasing funding efficiency.||Works well by reducing fixed funding through up-front contracts.|
|Feasibility||Agile is better when it is feasible.||Working on waterfall management does not depend on its feasibility.|
Advantages and Disadvantages of Agile Project Management
Agile management is iterative in nature and is completed in sections. So, it has many advantages of its own:
- Short iterations increase the adaptability of the project, and changes are feasible and cost-friendly.
- The process is not time-consuming and can be easily tracked, giving regular feedback to the customer and the management.
- The customer is always available and works very closely with the team. It helps in both individual and business development.
Whenever there are advantages, they are followed by certain disadvantages:
- For example, agile prefers a working application based and not documentation based. This can be beneficial depending on a project and its complexity, but proper co-ordination between coding and documentation is preferred.
- This methodology is made for small teams. Therefore, each team member must be proficient in their roles and self-dependent.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Waterfall Model
The Waterfall model is traditional in nature but can be advantageous in many ways.
- A predictable and static workflow exclusively allows the team to calculate the budget of the project appropriately and gives a picture of the deadline.
- Since the process requires documentation, one has physical evidence of each phase of the project. Reference to prior projects also helps in doing the much-needed groundwork better.
- The team requires no prior knowledge to embark upon the Waterfall management model.
However, the cons are there as well:
- Any major changes can be costly for both the customer and the firm since the entire project and its phases are terminal in nature.
- The requirements of various project phases take a lot of time before the actual view is presented to the customer.
This has been a guide to Agile vs Waterfall Project Management. Here we also discuss the Agile vs Waterfall Project Management key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –