What is the downside of using the traditional waterfall approach? (2023)

agile and waterfallare two well-known project management approaches. While both are very popular in the software development industry, each is more effective for a specific type of project.

There are several differences between the two, but the main one is that while Agile encourages the team to work on multiple project phases simultaneously, traditional waterfall is a linear work style that requires the team to complete each phase of the project before moving on. for the next.

This blog focuses on why the Agile methodology is gaining popularity and why it is preferred over the traditional waterfall approach. We'll discuss what Agile and Waterfall methodology is, the difference between the two, and much more. Let's start.

What is the agile methodology?

AgileIt is a technique that encourages continuous testing and development throughout the project's software development lifecycle. Development and testing processes coexist in the agile software testing approach.

Agile project management techniquesBreak projects down into iterations or smaller components that don't directly involve long-term planning. Project requirements and scope are defined early in the development phase.

  • Approach: Frequent interaction with stakeholders
  • Flexibility: High
  • Requirements: Team initiative and tight deadlines

The Agile technique was developed in response to Waterfall's more rigorous framework. As a result, it is a much more flexible project management technique.

It was conceived as an approach that accepts incorporating changes of direction, even at the end of the process, and takes into account stakeholder comments at all times.

(Video) Waterfall model definition and example

In Agile, the team works simultaneously on several phases of the project, often with tight deadlines. Also, the team determines the direction of the project, not a project manager. It enables the team to be more motivated and productive, but it also requires a more self-directed team.

What is the traditional waterfall method?

The waterfall method is a project management strategy that emphasizes a straight line from the beginning of a project to its completion.

As the waterfall model is applied sequentially, the project development team cannot proceed to the next phase of development or testing until the previous phase has been successfully completed.

This strategy places a high value on careful planning, thorough documentation, and systematic implementation.

  • Approach: predetermined goals and results
  • Flexibility: Low
  • Requirements: Completion of deliverables to move to the next phase

The linear approach to project management, also known as the waterfall method, is best suited for tasks where the desired outcome is known from the outset. The requirements for moving to the next phase are outlined in the clear expectations for the project and the outcomes of each phase.

The amount and scope of work done upfront, including documenting all features, variations, user stories, and user interfaces, determines the performance of the waterfall process.

Due to its low flexibility, agile methodology is preferred over waterfall methodology to allow easy customization, encourage experimentation and be able to work on changes even in later stages of the project.

(Video) Waterfall Model for Software Development | Waterfall Model Advantages Disadvantages

Difference between agile and waterfall methodology

Now let's see the difference between agile and waterfall models:



The project development lifecycle is divided into sprints.There are different phases of the software development process.
It takes a step-by-step approach.Using the waterfall method, the design process is sequential.
Agile methods are known for their flexibility.Because waterfall is an organized approach to software development, it can be quite inflexible at times.
Agile can be seen as a collection of numerous unique efforts.It will be completed as a single project.
Agile is a highly adaptable strategy that allows for changes in project development requirements even after pre-planning is complete.Once the project development starts, there is no room to change the requirements.
Planning, development, prototyping and other phases of software development can be repeated as a result of agile methodology iterationdevelopment strategy.In the waterfall paradigm, each phase of project development - including planning, development, testing, etc. - is completed in one go.
It can be assumed that the requirements will change and develop further.The approach works for projects with pre-planned requirements and expected developments.
Agile represents a product mindset in which the software product meets the needs of its end users and evolves as needed to meet those needs.This model has a project mindset and focuses its attention entirely on completing the project.
Prefers small, focused teams that are highly coordinated and synchronized.Team coordination/synchronization is very limited.

Above are some important differences between agile and waterfall models.

In short, the waterfall method is suitable for projects with a clear end goal. Due to its extremely limited flexibility, it does not allow for much creativity and new developments.

Agile offers a lot of flexibility for adjustments and course corrections as the project progresses. It is suitable for projects whose results may require additional research or testing.

What is the downside of using the traditional waterfall approach? (1)

Advantages of agile methodology

Agile methodology is gaining more and more popularity for several reasons. let's discuss someAdvantages of Agilemodel that makes him better known.

(Video) Handling Unclear Requirements in Agile vs Traditional Waterfall Project Management

  • Software is delivered continuously using the agile process.
  • Customers are happy because working software features are delivered to them after every sprint.
  • Customer suggestions or feature changes may be incorporated into the current product version.
  • Value is placed on excellent product design.
  • Changes are also tolerated in later stages of development.
  • By eliminating boundaries between departments and promoting a culture of trust and collaboration around common goals, an Agile/Scrum methodology can improve organizational synergies.

Most organizations are shifting from waterfall methods to agile methods to get better and faster solutions. You will understand better by reading the disadvantages of using the waterfall approach.

FAQ- What are the disadvantages of the traditional waterfall approach?

Following are some disadvantages of the traditional waterfall method:

  • With this historical approach as opposed to an iterative one like the Agile method, projects can take longer – it also makes changes more difficult to implement.
  • Customers often don't quite understand what they want, leaving room for revisions and requests for additional features later in the process, when they are more difficult to satisfy.
  • The design and implementation phases exclude customers.
  • Deadline delay occurs when one phase of the process is delayed, causing all subsequent phases to be delayed as well.

final result

In summary, agile and waterfall models are two different project management techniques best suited to different types of projects - but we are sure that the motto of this article is fulfilled - which is a disadvantage of using the traditional waterfall approach.

In the past, all IT assignments were handled through the waterfall method. However, the agile revolution followed.

Customers now value speed and agility in a changing world. You can no longer be locked into lengthy IT initiatives that, once launched, cannot be changed or tweaked.

Alternatively, Agile is best suited for teams that want to move quickly, experiment with a direction, and start without knowing exactly how the project is going to turn out.

Agile is adaptable and requires a collaborative, self-directed team, as well as regular updates on progress from stakeholders and business owners.

(Video) Agile vs Waterfall Methodology | Difference between Agile and Waterfall | What to choose?

In short, Agile provides transparency, adaptability, accountability, and value early in the process, while reducing risk throughout the project when used as a foundation for development.

Find our next training

BeginnerIn betweenProgressive
Scrum Master Training (PSM)Leading SAFe® 5.1 training with SAFe® Agilist certificationImplementation of SAFe® 5.1 training with SPC certification
Product Owner Training (PSPO)Certified Training in Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC)Agility in the Company (ICP-ENT) Training
Professional Scrum Training with Kanban™ (PSK)Advanced Scrum Master Training (PSM-II)Treinamento SAFe® Lean Portfolio Management (LPM)
Agile Grundlagen Bootcamp (ICP) trainingAdvanced Product Owner Training (PSPO-A)Treinamento SAFe® Agile Product Management (APM)

Authors Biography

(Video) What is Waterfall Project Management?

Businesses transform when they realize that current ways of working can no longer meet rapidly changing market dynamics and rising user expectations.branch mania,a small group of consultants and trainers passionate about Lean Agile DevOps, is the most trusted digital transformation brand in South and Southeast Asia.


1. Project Management: Waterfall, Agile, & Hybrid Approaches
(Kandis Porter)
2. Classical Waterfall Model in Software Engineering | Traditional waterfall model | SDLC Models |
(Prof.Ankita Agarwal)
3. Traditional waterfall SDLC
(Badahunlang Thangkhiew)
4. A comparison of data prototyping and traditional waterfall development approaches
5. Waterfall Project Management [Your Guide to Waterfall PM]
(Adriana Girdler)
6. 7. Don Reinertsen: Agile vs. Waterfall - is traditional Project Management still useful?
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kareem Mueller DO

Last Updated: 01/05/2023

Views: 6274

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kareem Mueller DO

Birthday: 1997-01-04

Address: Apt. 156 12935 Runolfsdottir Mission, Greenfort, MN 74384-6749

Phone: +16704982844747

Job: Corporate Administration Planner

Hobby: Mountain biking, Jewelry making, Stone skipping, Lacemaking, Knife making, Scrapbooking, Letterboxing

Introduction: My name is Kareem Mueller DO, I am a vivacious, super, thoughtful, excited, handsome, beautiful, combative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.