Even though the Agile method is now being increasingly adopted by organizations worldwide, especially for software development, too many organizations still cling to waterfall. The main thing that influences the decision what methodology is used are probably the existing processes. Your organization’s current processes are likely to determine the way you run your project, regardless of its nature. But, this shouldn’t be the case. Project managers are more than able to assist their organizations and suggest how they should implement projects in the most effective and efficient way while reducing risks. For this, you need to have a deeper understanding of how each project management methodology may impact the project and its success. Choosing the right methodology can be key to successful completion of a project. So, if your organization still uses the waterfall methodology, read on and see for yourself why this needs to change.
As you know, the Waterfall method is a sequential approach, separating a project into different phases, where one phase has to be completed before starting the next one. So here are the 3 crucial flaws caused by this:
1 No Flexibility
The Waterfall method in its core puts following a predetermined set of steps, as the methodology, in its traditional form, leaves almost no room for unexpected changes or revisions. You have to be clear with all the development requirements beforehand and just keep your team always moving forward. If your team has carefully followed the steps of Waterfall nearly to the end of the project but then faces an unforeseen obstruction that requires a change in scope or goals, proceeding with it won’t be easy. You’ll have already put a considerable amount of work into a project under very specific and fixed assumptions. An abrupt change to any parameter of the project may render much of the work you’ve carried out up to that point useless, which can throw off the entire timeline.
So, in one of the earliest phases of the project, you must produce a detailed and thorough requirement definition. But, in such an early phase of the project, trying to define the requirements is often very difficult. Therefore, many of the requirements are subject to change throughout the project. Specifying requirements in advance means that a lot of the requirements are based on assumptions. You may come across many difficulties to validate those assumptions, since the first builds are not available until late in the development phase. Even the client has to outline all their preferences upfront, without seeing a working version. Once the first builds are available, it’s often too late to change requirements without substantial delays of the project. Also, when planning everything up front, some changes due to business plans or market influences may not have been taken into account. Therefore, the lack of adaptability makes any new developments or changes of requirements which may occur after the initial consultation a significant issue. Another aspect of Waterfall that reduces flexibility is that Waterfall projects are highly integrated and not an object-oriented approach.