When you’re going into a software development project, you usually have two choices when it comes to managing the project. You can choose to manage the project using a traditional methodology like Waterfall, or you can choose to use Agile methodology.
What are these methodologies and how do you know which is right for you?
In Omni's recent webinar, Project Manager and Scrum Master Paul Rasmussen explains both methodologies, gets into the pros and cons and helps you understand how to choose the right approach for your latest software development project.
What is Waterfall?
Waterfall methodology is sometimes also called “traditional” methodology because it has been around since the 1950s. It is a linear, sequential approach to application development. Its name, “waterfall,” refers to the way the process works — it flows in just one direction, through clearly-defined phases: requirements, design, implementation, verification and maintenance.
With Waterfall, all the planning happens before the project gets started — requirements, documentation and resources are set up ahead of time, so when the project is ready to go, all that information is right there at the developers’ fingertips. Because Waterfall uses a big team of developers, there is an added set of benefits — everyone on a Waterfall team is an expert in their area and they’re not exclusive to that project. Experts — like business analysts — come in and work on their part of the project and are then free to go back to any other projects they’re working on. And when the project is done, it’s done — at the end of a Waterfall project, the team produces a complete application, with all features intact.
The downside of Waterfall is that once the project gets rolling, it can’t really change. The developers must stick to the plans they made at the start of the project. If there’s a problem, it’s very hard to change direction or respond to that problem. Also, Waterfall projects tend to take a long time — the comprehensive planning process at the start of the project, the need to coordinate a large team and the work that goes into producing a large, complete piece of software are all time-consumers.
What is Agile?
Agile methodology is a newer philosophy, introduced in 2001. Agile is an approach to software development that values adaptive planning, iteration, continuous improvement and collaboration between developers, clients and the end user of a project. In other words, teams that use Agile can react to problems quickly and adapt to new requirements or situations.
In Agile, a small, self-directed team works in short sprints to push out software quickly. They may not produce a complete application with all the bells and whistles immediately, but the team will create a minimum viable product (MVP) in a short time frame and add features to it in future sprints.
While Agile is quick and adaptable; however, it does rely on customer involvement and busy clients may not always see the value in attending meetings or providing input. Also, the team of developers on an Agile team are only on that one team. They can’t work on any other projects.
Which software development methodology should you choose?
Don’t know if Waterfall or Agile is right for your project? The methodology you choose will depend a lot on your organization and circumstances, but Omni generally uses Agile because of its quick turnaround times and dedicated teams.
Need help with implementing Agile or need to modify the Agile process to fit your budget and schedule? Omni’s consultants have deep experience in Agile and the methodologies that fall under the Agile umbrella, like Scrum and Kanban. They can explain more about how each system works for you and help you get started. Contact us today.
Watch the webinar to get started.