IT Project Methodology: Waterfall - Pros, Cons and Considerations

  • March 4, 2020

The Waterfall project delivery methodology, a staple in the traditional project management landscape, especially in the realms of software and system development, is known for its linear, sequential approach. When deciding on the approach to delivery, it's vital to consider all angles, including Waterfall’s approach, assessing its relevance and application in today’s dynamic project environments.


Pros of Waterfall

  • Streamlined Stages: Waterfall's step-by-step progression, from requirements to maintenance, offers a clear and structured path that’s easy for teams to follow and stakeholders to understand.
  • Detailed Documentation: A hallmark of Waterfall is its thorough documentation process, creating a comprehensive paper trail invaluable for long-term project maintenance and handovers.
  • Predictable Planning: With its predefined phases, Waterfall allows for straightforward planning, helping project managers forecast timelines and budget with greater confidence.


Cons of Waterfall

  • Rigid Structure: The methodology’s stringent structure makes it challenging to accommodate changes once the project is underway, potentially leading to increased costs and delayed delivery.
  • Testing Delays: In Waterfall, testing comes late in the cycle, which means any defects found can be more problematic to address, affecting the quality and time to market.
  • Adaptability Issues: In a market where agility is  critical slow response to change can be a significant drawback, especially when dealing with evolving client require.ments or market trends.


Considerations for Employing Waterfall

Waterfall isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It shines in environments where project requirements are clear-cut and set in stone. It's well-suited for smaller-scale projects where the end goal is well-defined and the risk of deviation is minimal. When employing Waterfall, meticulous resource management is essential to ensure that each phase is completed on time and teams are not left idle.