What’s The Difference Between Waterfall & Agile (AM) & When Do You Use Each One?


Project management is all about managing, monitoring & controlling project timelines, budgets, resources, risks, assumptions, dependencies and issues based on a justifiable business case in order to deliver a working product according to client requirements while managing the clients expectations.

When it comes to building software applications, be it web, mobile or desktop apps, project managers have to consider a number of best practise methodologies for the SDLC (software development life cycle). Two common ones stand out and are used consistently by technical project managers however they do have their benefits and draw backs. They are called the Waterfall and Agile methodology.

Here at Digital Bananas Technology, we use a hybird of the two within our Prince 2 framework and call it the WAGILE methodology.

The Waterfall methodology takes a step down approach, considering the entire development of the whole application on a stage by stage basis, giving very little room for changes. You are allowed to make changes within the agreed scope of work and only within a stage but once that stage has been completed and signed off, you cannot make any more changes as you will need to go to the next stage and implement the results of the previous stage. The method has it’s benefits and one of it being that you can easily give a final product deliverable deadline and manage clients expectations when it comes to deliverable timelines. The restrictive change control  process also allows for regulatory compliance within sectors such as banking and government based projects.

The Agile methodology however focuses on a more collaborative development process. It prefers to build in bits and bobs,  delivering on an incremental basis giving room for  feedback, responding to changes rather than being restricted in order to build a software customers actually want to use. It’s a “Let’s build it together” mindset involving cross functional teams and even end users or someone who represents both the end user and the client, sometimes called the product manager. The agile process is extremely beneficial for innovative products where it’s hard to establish business value and even value to the end users. It is better to get everyone involved and then build small bits of it in iterations, reviewing, updating and repeating the process until a working software is delivered or budget depleted. Note, this will continue while there is still value in the project.

We found this infographic from Liquid Planner that best explains this. Hope you enjoy it. Tomorrow we will discuss how we have created a hybrid of the two within our development framework. In the mean time, enjoy this lovely infographic from Liquid Planner.



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