What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Waterfall Model?
The Waterfall model, also known as linear sequential design, is a software development model. Just like the name suggests, the development flows only in one direction, which is downwards.
What does the Waterfall Model do?
According to Oxagile, this sequential development ends up releasing a new software product. The key to this Waterfall Model’s framework is that it proceeds with each requirement step by step and never goes backwards..
The linear sequential design follows a program full of activities that need to be accomplished correctly before moving on to the next one.
This won’t allow you to leave any open stages because you won’t be able to proceed to the next task. All of the phases are planned and designed beforehand.
I highly recommend you to watch this YouTube video, that goes through the basics of this development model. This will help you understand all the aspects explained in the article. It’s named “What is Waterfall Methodology?” and it is created by Project Management Software – Easy Projects.
If you are still trying to understand how this software development model works, it is essential for you to get acquainted with all the steps that you will be required to pass before reaching the final result.
The different phases of the development
The most important thing you should keep in mind while going though this software development model is to have a clear vision of the project and to understand properly what you are aiming for.
The Waterfall Model is very useful and easy to follow, only if the idea and its stages are perfectly identified. According to a Tech Republic article, the following are the phases to a successful development.
Brainstorming and Defining a Concept
One of the first steps is brainstorming and defining a concept. Investigate the target briefly to get an idea of their needs and find out the perfect product.
Define your target
Once you resolve all of those questions, you need to do an exhaustive research of the clients and customers that you will be directing to. Define your target and investigate what they need and where they are from.
Plan a Strategy
Once you have your customer’s area controlled, it is time to start designing. You will need to plan a strategy that solves each of the problems that are presented. Apart from that, you will need to program other aspects like the language.
The next step is to start constructing it. Once all the ideas are clear, you will be able to start with the next step, which is implementing the solutions to every stated problem and constructing the final product.
Once the construction part of the development is done, you should start testing it. Verify that it accomplishes all the requirements you named before. Also, check out if they are totally error-free.
There are three different types of testing that are usually put into practice. The first one is called unit testing of code modules, which makes sure that all the coding is properly set up.
Then you should proceed with the system testing and finally, the acceptance testing.
The next step is deployment. When you check and verify that everything is working properly, you will be able to install the final product. The last step is the maintenance of the software result you just created.
What are the Advantages of using the Waterfall Model?
The Waterfall Model is well known for its multiple advantages when it comes to creating and developing a new software product from scratch.
In agreement with an article of Tech Target, the first thing to note is how organized the process is. This means that every step or activity has a deadline that needs to be respected and followed strictly.
Every task has a starting and ending point that needs to be accomplished in a limited time.
Dividing the development of the software in other departments makes it easier to manage and control. The rigid model usually turns into a successful final project.
Another advantage to keep in mind is that usually this model requires a lot of beforehand strategic thinking and planning. This is why so many problems are found in the early stages and can be avoided.
The model is also popular for its simplicity. As mentioned before, the planning is so well organized that everyone is able to understand the process. Moreover, the tasks never overlap each other, so there are no confusions.
All of the processes are completed one at a time, that is why the model is strict to follow but the durability of the activities is much shorter and effective than if you use any other development model.
Does the Waterfall Model have any disadvantages?
After going through all of the advantages that this software development model has, it is fair to display some of the disadvantages.
One of the aspects that most people tend to dislike according to Armarjeet Chavan is the fact that once you complete one task, you are not able to step back and modify it.
Sometimes, there is a possibility that you might be able to change something but it will surely end up being extremely expensive and will add extra cost to your project.
That is why the Waterfall Model is only supposed to be used when the idea of the product is very clear and all of the requirements are understood beforehand.
However, it is true that due to its fast development, it makes it a little bit difficult and complicated to revise all the work, as well as to verify if it is going on the right path.
Another disadvantage is the difficulty to solve all the problems even before starting with the process. You may estimate the basic things that will get on your way but maybe not each and every one of them.
For example, you could have designed something that later turns out to cost a lot more money or it is just too difficult to produce. This is why some people state that this development model is unrealistic.
Finally, this model should only be used in short and simple projects because if you try to apply this to a complex development, the risk of needing to change any requirement is higher.
And as suggested above, this will only result in extra expenses or even a failure of the project.