Agile vs. Waterfall. Which methodology is more effective in IT projects?

Quite often choosing a methodology of IT project management becomes a real dilemma. In most of cases it concerns two methodologies: Agile and Waterfall. However, they differ in their characteristics, which affect the way the project is implemented. Both solutions have their strengths and weaknesses.

It can be said that the Watefall methodology is a more standard approach that once was definitely used more often. The dynamic development of IT industry has led to searching for an alternative method that would further improve effectiveness of IT projects. In this way, the Agile methodology was created. Currently, both approaches have their supporters. There is a debate about which of these methodologies is more effective.

Differences between Agile and Waterfall

Let’s start with a short explanation of what Agile and Waterfall actually are. The first methodology focuses on achieving customer satisfaction through the speed of software development. Agile allows very efficient building of specific product functionalities. The development team works in so-called sprints. This means that it focuses on creating specific product features at exactly right time. This type of work is very often associated with Scrum principles. You can read more about them here.

Unlike Waterfall, Agile customer engagement is increased. It is difficult to clearly define this feature as either disadvantage or advantage. However, without a doubt, the client’s presence in development of a software positively affects efficiency of the project. In this way, for example, any risk associated with discrepancy of concepts is minimized.

Agile is often better suited for large projects. Thanks to this approach, the first results of work can be visible much faster. The development team focuses on creation of a given functionality at a specific time and then proceeds to the next one. Then the product acquires its first features from the very beginning. Agile is also appreciated for its great flexibility and ability to make changes at various stages of the project.

In contrast, Waterfall is a methodology where production of software takes place in strictly defined stages. From the very beginning, the customer expects a clear vision of the product and is not likely to be involved in working process. In this case, the entire process is planned and transparent. Thanks to this, you can easily estimate value of the project, as the specific date of completion is known. Taking into consideration large structuring of specific project stages, any changes are more difficult to implement.

What decision? Agile or Waterfall?

Currently, Agile is a methodology for IT projects that is more willingly used. It gained popularity mainly thanks to extensive projects. In their case, Agile perfectly manages working process. In addition, this methodology is considered more modern and innovative.

However, this fact does not override Waterfall. It has its followers as well. Mainly among clients, who value transparency and a clearly defined plan. So how to deal with the dilemma? It seems that the best solution is to choose a methodology based on consultation between a team of developers and a client. Both parties start exchanging with comments, experiences and also get to know each other’s expectations. On this basis, you can make the right choice.

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