Agile vs. Waterfall: Which Methodology Works for Today?
Software development teams create websites and apps in many different ways. Some go in line from start to finish; some break the big heap into small chunks. Some hurry to release the MVP, and come what may.
We’ve taken the two most popular methodologies — Waterfall and Agile — briefly described each and explained which one works for us.
What’s the difference?
To be clear, a development methodology is a process of how to build your software.
For example, your dev team can go step by step, moving from collecting the requirements to designing, coding, testing, and release — strictly one by one. You can’t design and develop a piece of software, then get back to developing another one, adding something you missed, and so on.
That’s how strict and linear Waterfall works.
Or, instead of building the entire product in one Waterfall-like go, your team can divide the whole process into a few chunks (called sprints). Starting with analysis, then designing, coding, development, client review — and perhaps even launch.
That’s pure Agile in action. We love it, and we stick to it whenever possible.
In Agile, each chunk of work results in a ready functional part, like authorization or in-app search. Even if there’s nothing else inside the app but authorization, it’ll work as supposed.
The sprint usually lasts for 1-4 minutes, and at the end of each, the development team collects feedback from the clients or users and then moves on to planning the next sprint. Until all the job is done.
When to use each?
As with all things in software development, the choice of development methodology depends on your goals, the project size, budgeting, and tons of others.
Waterfall is more predictable; thus, it’s easier to budget and schedule it. If you’re into a huge enterprise-level project, it may be the right fit for you.
And still, Waterfall carries a few quite serious cons like needing exact tech requirements written for the whole project at once. It’s impossible to change something once the corresponding stage is over. For example, there’s no going back to the design stage after coding starts.
Probably the most important drawback is that it’s difficult to guess the clients’ reactions. As they don’t get to see the product stage by stage as it’s being developed. Because of its lack of flexibility, most software development companies choose Agile and other, more adaptable methodologies and frameworks.
Agile, on the contrary, offers ongoing feedback, and it’s great for on-site planning. The development team releases the software way more often, thus reducing the risk of not meeting clients’ or users’ expectations.
Agile is flexible, making it easy to introduce changes but requires careful management. It often doesn’t have a defined price tag or an end date. Besides, the clients themselves are to be involved: ready to answer questions, give feedback, and communicate with their software partners.
The Agile approach requires high involvement from the client’s side — and that corresponds with our vision and experience. We know that only by close cooperation and teamwork can we bring a great product to life.