Waterfall Methodology in Project Management – Phases, Benefits
Waterfall is the one of the most common and traditional methodology used in project management. Waterfall model is commonly used in small projects where all the requirements are defined and there is no scope for change in the requirements.
What is Waterfall Project Management?
waterfall project management is a sequential, linear design process which has several discrete phases. Each of these phases are linear, as in, one phase cannot start before the previous phase is completed.
In Waterfall Project Management, the requirements are set at the beginning and cannot be modified once the lifecycle starts.
Project managers prefer to use this project management methodology when:
- There is a clear picture of what the final product should be.
- Customers won’t have possibilities to change the project’s scope once it has begun.
- There are no ambiguous requirements.
Phases of Waterfall Model
Requirements / Analysis
In this phase, design, function, purpose are understood and the requirements are recorded. Here, the specifications of the input and output or the final product are captured in products requirement specification documents (SRS)
The requirement specifications from first phase are studied in this phase and system design is prepared. System Design or Software architecture helps in specifying hardware, technology and system requirements.
Implementation / Coding
With inputs from system design, the software is split into small units. This is the coding phase where the requirements are converted into units which are integrated to create the completed product.
All the units developed in the implementation phase are integrated here to make a product. This product goes through various stages of testing to make sure there are no errors and all the requirements are complete. Testing is done so that the client does not face any problem during the installation of the software.
Deployment / Installation
Once testing is done, and the product is found to be complete with no errors, it is deployed in the customer environment or released into the market.
After Installation is completemented, modifications are made to the system or an individual component to alter attributes or improve performance. These changes are made due to request from client or any defects/error in the product which was not identified during the testing stage. Client is provided with regular maintenance and support.
Benefits of Waterfall Methodology
Easy to Follow
Waterfall requires all the requirements to be well defined and therefore they could be easily understood by anyone working on the project
In Waterfall, all the phases are liner therefore all the tasks are sequential and there is no chance for tasks to be overlapping.
All the steps, tasks, requirements as well each phases are extensively documented. This helps to audit project artefacts easily. Each phase has specific deliverables.
Easier to Measure
All the deliverables can be measured easily as there are no ambiguous requirements.
Disadvantages of Waterfall
If any phase of the project gets delayed, the next phases also get delayed as the process is sequential.
Requirements cannot be changed
As waterfall model can work only for projects with defined requirements, its very hard to change the requirments once the project execution starts.
No Customer Involvement
Unlike Agile and other methodologies, waterfall does not involve the customers/clients in the developmental and implementation processes.
Huge Responsibilities for Project Manager
In waterfall managing project scope, cost, quality, personnel, reporting status to stakeholders, managing risk, and adapting as requirements change all falls under the responsibility of a project manager.