What Is Waterfall Methodology?

Waterfall Methodology

Waterfall project management is a method that organizes a project into clear, consecutive steps, moving to the next phase only after the current one is completed. This approach is known for its simplicity and linear progression towards a predetermined goal, with each team member playing a specific role and minimal expectation for change throughout the project's lifecycle.

This method is particularly suited for projects that are well-defined from the start and can follow a single, unchanging timeline. It's ideal for projects that benefit from detailed planning and where changes are rare and potentially expensive to implement.

Waterfall Project Management Phases

  • Requirements: Gathering and analyzing all necessary project requirements and documentation;
  • System design: Creating a detailed design for the project’s workflow;
  • Implementation: Executing the plan, where the team actively works on the project;
  • Testing: Verifying that every part of the project meets the initial requirements and works as intended;
  • Deployment/delivery: Officially launching the product or service;
  • Maintenance: Conducting ongoing support and updates to the product or service.

The Pros and Cons of Waterfall Project Management

Despite its straightforward approach, Waterfall project management has its drawbacks. The method's linear nature makes it rigid and inflexible to changes. Any alterations in the project's scope or stakeholder priorities could necessitate significant adjustments or a completely new project plan.

While not the best fit for projects requiring adaptability—like many in software development—Waterfall's structure allows for easy replication on similar future projects, offering a clear template for planning and execution.

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