Agile vs Waterfall are the two most popular project management methodologies. Both are widely used in software development, but each will be suitable for different projects. When choosing between Waterfall and Agile, there are various aspects to consider. This article will make all things clear.

To assist your development team in determining when to employ Agile vs Waterfall  software development, we’ll walk you through the benefits and drawbacks of these two standard methods, as well as the situations where one may be preferable to the other.

What is Waterfall methodology? What is Agile methodology?

What is Waterfall methodology? What is Agile methodology?

Waterfall vs Agile methodology: What is Waterfall?

Waterfall project management is a conventional methodology for designing engineering solutions that were developed originally for projects in the manufacturing and construction industries.

When it comes to software development, specific activities accomplished in one phase must be examined and confirmed before going on to the next. It is a sequential and linear strategy in which stages flow downward (waterfalls) to the next.

Pros of Waterfall

Let us now look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of implementing this software development methodology.

More disciplined design:

Because each phase has distinct start and finishes points, developers must accomplish all tasks in each stage so that the project may go ahead.

Clearly defined deadlines:

Due to the Waterfall model’s static nature and predictable procedures, it is simpler to set clearly defined deadlines, estimate expenses, and develop timelines.

Well-documented approach:

The waterfall is preferred by many firms because it necessitates detailed documentation for each development step. This makes it simple to examine the rationale behind previous efforts while also providing the groundwork for future software development projects.

Clear communication:

Because development stages are well-documented and predictable, developers may provide progress updates to stakeholders, clients, or top management.

Easier learning curve:

Because the Waterfall model was the standard way for managing projects in most sectors, most teams will not require prior training or experience to begin a project utilizing this strategy. Furthermore, because clients and developers agree on project parameters early on, designing and planning are considerably more manageable.

waterfall vs agile

Waterfall methodology vs Agile

Cons of Waterfall

Gathering project requirements too early may be dangerous:

In most cases, customers and other stakeholders are unsure of what they want until they have spent time with a prototype. Because the Waterfall process entails managing all needs upfront, there is a significant chance of obtaining incorrect data, which may create several issues later in the development phases.

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Making adjustments is exceedingly expensive:

The biggest downside of the Waterfall method’s rigidity is its severely limited capacity to handle change. The testing is performed too late in the software’s life cycle, so it will be too late to make adjustments and pivot if people do not like the app you are developing.

Prolonged project delivery times:

Before developers begin coding, they must complete many developmental steps. This means that clients and stakeholders will not see a prototype or a functional outcome until the project is nearing the end of its life cycle.

The propensity to neglect to test:

It is pretty dangerous to undertake all of the rigorous tests once the project is almost finished, owing to the temptation of speeding through it, especially while working with tight deadlines. The fact is that inadequately tested products may lead to a disastrous launch, and developers will also lose important data and input that might have been used earlier in the project’s life cycle.

Waterfall development process

Waterfall development process

Waterfall development process

Each organization will generally have its own set of phases for the Waterfall model; however, the method may look something like this:

ConceptionThe conception stage is where developers decide on an idea and what they want to produce. It will progress to a cost/benefit analysis and conclude with a project estimate.
InitiationThe goal of the initiation phase is to collect and record what the project will require, including software and system requirements. When you hire team members, you broaden the scope of the assignment with purpose, deliverables, and objectives.
AnalysisThe next step is to conduct feasibility tests to develop more precise requirements specification paperwork.
DesignDuring the design phase, designers create storyboards, mockups, and wireframes to help them visualize the project. They study and assess the requirements, establish team goals, and create an action plan, resulting in defined software architecture.
Coding or ConstructionThe fundamental software development activity occurs. This step entails the coding of each component of the software. The developers begin developing the app based on the designs and techniques agreed upon earlier in the process.
TestingThe produced software is thoroughly tested to ensure no flaws. This stage often entails further coding to address any software’s source code issues. It will also feature UAT testing, in which end-users will test the software before it is released.
ImplementationThe completed product is released to the market for user use.
Maintain and UpgradeNo program is flawless, and users will almost certainly face issues as they utilize the new software. The developers must put in place a support mechanism to deal with any problems resulting from updates and bug fixes. The patches can even be utilized to introduce new functionality to stay competitive.
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Waterfall vs Agile methodology: What is Agile?

Agile methodology is a form of an incremental approach to software development based on ideas that place a greater emphasis on: people, outcomes, collaboration, and adaptability to change.

Instead of designing the entire project, it breaks it down into small parts in iterations or short time limits. Each iteration comprises all SDLC phases, resulting in a functional product at the end. A new or revised product is released after multiple revisions.

Pros of Agile


Because of the short and timely development cycles, the software development project has more flexibility to adjust to client changes as necessary.

Real-time input:

Real-time feedback throughout development guarantees that you produce products that users demand.

Test-driven software development:

By dividing the project into iterative pieces, developers have more excellent room and time to construct more detailed unit tests to assess individual functionality in the minimal viable product.

Faster and higher-quality delivery:

Because tests are performed after each iteration, you will receive higher-quality releases with fewer defects. This solid foundation helps to quicker and higher-quality software releases in subsequent iterations.

Emphasis on teamwork:

The agile technique entails regular cross-team contact pair programming and draws on all team members’ strengths.

Cons of Agile

Uncertain timelines:

The agility of Agile development may allow for some delay. Furthermore, because tasks are often produced and reprioritized with each app iteration, the entire delivery timeframe is pushed farther into the future.

Requires a high level of commitment:

Agile works best when every team member is dedicated to working on the project. This is because it requires team participation and daily meetings, which can take a significant amount of time compared to the Waterfall technique.

The possibility of increasing costs:

While Agile springs allow for better planning, particular deliverables are unlikely to be delivered on time. Creating the necessary extra sprints may thus result in higher project expenses for the customer.


Because Agile needs far higher levels of cooperation, development teams and clients will need to be in frequent touch, which might be difficult for remote work.

Agile development process

Agile development process

Agile development process

Here are a few core principles of Agile development methodology:

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Agile principlesHow it works
High AdaptabilityThe Agile methodology emphasizes the benefits of having the freedom to modify requirements, architecture, deliverables, and design during the project development process. Compared to the prior Waterfall method, it is naturally a more flexible software development technique.
Customer InvolvementBecause of the rapid changes in design and deliverables, Agile necessitates strong collaboration between developers and consumers. This entails guaranteeing high client satisfaction with the MVPs and receiving ongoing feedback.
Lean Software DevelopmentAgile development aims to make the end product as simple as feasible. This entails using the most straightforward actions to produce high-quality outcomes. As a result, the engineers decreased the complexity and bloat that may substantially impact performance. It involves identifying and deleting any aspects that bring value to the process.
TeamworkAgile recognizes the benefits of working in groups. Agile teams must collaborate and constantly assess how they might grow and become more efficient.
SustainabilityAgile development focuses on establishing a more sustainable development pace rather than pressuring developers with tighter deadlines and getting incomplete deliverables.
TestingUnlike the Waterfall approach, which has a separate testing step, Agile includes testing at all project stages. Agile’s short sprints involve continuous testing, and developers must regularly offer ongoing input on the project’s quality.

What is the difference between Waterfall and Agile?

The main distinction is that Waterfall is a linear style of working that requires the team to finish each project phase before going on to the next one. In contrast, Agile encourages the team to concurrently work on several project stages.

agile vs waterfall

Agile vs waterfall

Which is better: Agile vs Waterfall

Waterfall software development is best suited for projects with specific deadlines and deliverables. The waterfall method is generally the best strategy if your primary project limitations are fully known and documented.

Agile development is best suited for projects whose major limitations are not recognized. If your project includes creating a new product, determining the scope and timing ahead of time may be challenging. It is adaptable, allowing you to design a project in stages or “sprints” that can change as the work advances.

Agile versus Waterfall: Difference between Waterfall and Agile

Agile versus Waterfall: Difference between Waterfall and Agile

Agile vs Waterfall methodology: Conclusion

On the one hand, there is the typical Waterfall software development strategy, in which the project is handled sequentially with various events from conception through production.

On the other hand, the contemporary Agile method entails adaptable, iterative, team-centered development. While both development techniques aim to aid in the simplification of the process of managing software development jobs, they operate in quite different ways.

Both Waterfall and Agile have significant strengths and limitations, as seen above. Finally, deciding between these techniques boils down to choosing stability and adaptability. Regardless of which development model is more traditional or popular, a company’s selection on which development model to utilize must ultimately be based on specific goals, clients, teams, and project demands.

I hope this article on Agile vs Waterfall methodology helps you. If you need to find a trusted Agile team for your project, InApps is here to help.

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I am Tam, Founder & CEO of InApps Technology, ranked 1st in Vietnam and 5th in Southeast Asia in Application Development and Custom Software Development. We build a team with a people-centered culture that serves our customers with the WOW experience. I have helped hundreds of startups and brands to succeed with our robust technology solution. Besides, I have 5,000+ connections with C-Levels on LinkedIn and 10,000+ other professionals in communities. I hope to bring BIG VALUES to our right partners and customers. What I can help: – World-class software development service. – Building a dedicated talent team for only 30% of your local vendors’ cost. – Consulting tech startup solutions comprehensively and systematically. – Growth-hacking marketing solution. If you read here, don’t hesitate to contact me for further advice.

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