13 Difference Between Agile and Waterfall (With Table)

There are several methods for making applications. The advancement in technology has brought both good and harm to the software industry. 

Many software developers use both agile and waterfall methodology is creating applications. The two approaches sound the same since they help in accomplishing the same task. 

So, what is the main difference between agile and waterfall? The former separates the project lifecycle into sprints while the latter is a software development process divided into distinct phases. 

This article provides further explanations on the differences between agile and waterfall approaches with their advantages and disadvantages.  Take the time to also read the similarities between agile and waterfall. 

Comparison Table (Agile vs Waterfall)

Basic Terms Agile Methodology Waterfall Methodology
Project Scope Changes can easily be made within time and budget set Making changes can be difficult due to the contract limit.
Teamwork Require high coordination of small to medium size team Involve large teams and this reduces coordination level
End Users Customers are involved throughout the project Customers are allowed at the completion of each milestone
Key Features Features are highly prioritized and issues are easily resolved. Features are not prioritized leading to complete failure
Feasibility Highly dependent on the feasibility Not dependent on feasibility
Funding Increase funding make the methodology work well Reduced fixed funding makes the approach work well.

What is Agile?

Agile methodology is the most popular approach used during software development and it tends to follow a certain sequence to complete the task.

The method uses the ERP technique to deliver results faster at the same time preserving the integrity of the approach.

The approach uses lean thinking that involves a combination of the team and the end-user through collective collaboration.

This is the modern method whereby it facilitates adaptive learning, incremental delivery, evolutionary development, and continuous iteration.

The method is considered to be highly flexible since it provides room for making changes during the process of development to minimize the risk of future failure.

Advantages of Agile Model

  1. It is a client focus model 
  2. Provide better result from development projects
  3. Help to maintain the quality of development
  4. Reduce the risk of the development process

Disadvantages of Agile Model

  1. Not ideal for small development projects
  2. Require experts to make crucial decisions 
  3. Cost of Implementation is quite expensive 
  4. The project is prone to get off-track 

What is the Waterfall?

The waterfall approach is a traditional kind of method that relies mostly on plans by following a certain sequential design. However, it is usually quite rigid when it comes to making changes.

The method is normally divided into series from documentation to delivery of products. Here developers are only allowed to move to the next phase after completion of one phase.

The end-users are given the opportunity to approve each phase before the developers move to the next level of development.

Besides that, it becomes difficult for the developers to make changes to the codes and this tends to increase the risk of failure in the future.

The most wonderful thing is that developers can easily track the flow of their work since they strictly follow a documented plan.

Advantages of the Waterfall Approach 

  1. Super easy to manage
  2. Suitable for smaller projects 
  3. Faster delivery of project 
  4. Process and result are well documented 
  5. Easily adaptable in case of shifting teams
  6. Beneficial to manage independencies 

Disadvantages of the Waterfall Approach 

  1. Not Suitable for larger projects 
  2. Less effective 
  3. Quite difficult to move back 
  4. High chances of getting bugs while testing 

Main Differences Between Agile and Waterfall 

  1. Agile methodology separates the project into sprints while waterfall into milestones
  2. The agile approach follows an incremental methodology while the waterfall follows a sequential design process.
  3. Agile is highly flexible while the waterfall is a structured development that is usually rigid when it comes to making changes.
  4. The details of project descriptions in agile can be altered during the SDLC process but those of the waterfall approach implemented during software development.
  5. Agile methodology normally requires small teams for easy coordination while waterfall has large teams hence increase the risk of failure.
  6. Agile entails testing during software development while waterfall testing comes after the completion of a certain milestone.
  7. The test plan in the agile method can easily be reviewed while in waterfall it rarely occurs during the development process.
  8. Agile tends to follow an iterative development approach while those projects at the waterfall followed a documented plan.
  9. Agile is suitable for large projects while waterfall for small projects 
  10. The waterfall model is less effective whereas the agile model is quite effective 
  11. The cost of implementing the agile model is quite higher while that of the waterfall approach is less 
  12. The waterfall model it difficult to scale up projects while in the Agile model is quite easy to scale up projects
  13. The agile model has continuous testing while waterfall model testing is done once at the beginning. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • Which Is Better Waterfall or Agile?

The waterfall. It is suitable for projects with well-defined requirements where no changes are expected. 

  • Does Agile Really Work?

Yes, Agile can be very successful with the right organizational culture. But it can be an utter fiasco with the wrong one.

  • Why is an Agile Bad?

Not effective and has slower progress. It is not good for the enterprise and developers. 

  • Why the Waterfall Model Is Best?

It allows control and departmentalization. A schedule can be set with deadlines for each stage of development and a product can proceed through the development process model phases one by one.

  • Why Is Waterfall Model not Good?

It does not allow much revision or reflection. It is also difficult to go back when the application is in the testing stage. 

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Both agile and waterfall methodologies are good when it comes to software development. The slight differences do not affect the way they work.

Above all, the waterfall approach suits project that has a well-defined plan that does not involve any changes during the process.

On the other hand, agile methodology encourages project details alteration and this can occur concurrently during the development.

Kindly use the comment section below and share with us which methodology do you prefer during software development.

More Sources and References

Waterfall Model. Wikipedia

Agile Software Development. Wikipedia 

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