Agile vs Waterfall Project Management: Which Is a Better Methodology?

Agile vs Waterfall Project Management: Which Is a Better Methodology?-feature image

Agile and Waterfall are two distinct project management methodologies that are used in the software development procedure. Waterfall methodology follows a linear approach of project management, whereas agile methodology is more flexible and supports changes at every stage of the project development. However, despite that, there are a lot of differences between the two and both are considered for different project types.

Here, in this article, we will do an in-depth analysis of waterfall model vs agile model to learn about their features, benefits, requirements, etc. This would help you to choose the right methodology for your software project development. Let’s get started!

What is Agile Methodology?

What is Agile Methodology
  • Approach: Iterative and team-based approach
  • Flexibility: Highly flexible
  • Requirement: Team collaboration and short project deadlines

Agile Methodology for project management works by creating sprints or subtasks of a single project. Businesses collaborate with stakeholders and make necessary changes at every stage of the project. The project is constantly evaluated at every level to make improvements concurrently.

Agile methodology helps in software development process by enabling developers to constantly improve the project by detecting bugs at the earliest stage.

Agile Methodology Pros & Cons

  • It offers flexibility to make changes at every stage of the project.
  • Timely delivery of the project
  • Project progress can be shared with clients and feedback is encouraged
  • Overlap of tasks might take place
  • Difficult to determine a project timeline

What is Waterfall Methodology?

What is Waterfall Methodology
  • Approach: Linear progression
  • Flexibility: Rigid
  • Requirement: Completing subprojects to move to the next stage

The waterfall methodology is a project management approach that follows the linear progression for project completion. Developers move to the next stage of development only after the previous stage is tested and verified.

Waterfall methodology is the traditional method for project development. The project under this methodology works in sequential phases. With this method, the project is completed and delivered as per the set timeline.

Waterfall Methodology Pros & Cons

  • It provides a systematic project plan from start to finish
  • Project requirements are set in advance and that saves time
  • Project workflow is more structured
  • Longer project completion time
  • No flexibility to make changes to the project

Agile vs Waterfall: Comparison Table

Factors  Waterfall Agile 
Timeline  The project timeline is fixed, and all aspects are planned out in advance The timeline of the project is not fixed, and all phases of the project are mapped out as the project progresses. 
Client Engagement  Client is not involved during the project except for its deliverance  The client is involved at every stage of the project and his feedback is incorporated in the project 
Flexibility Less flexibility as the project stages is outlined from the beginning, leaving less space for changes. Project is divided into sub tasks called sprints, making it easier to adapt changes at every stage.  
Budget Budget is fixed as all the aspects are planned at the start. Budget becomes flexible as new changes can be adapted in every stage of the project. 
Project Testing  Project testing is done only after it is completed  Project testing is performed simultaneously  
Approach  It follows an incremental approach  It follows sequential design approach  

Advantages of Agile Method

Agile vs Waterfall Comparison Table

Here are some advantages of using Agile Methodology for your software project management-

  • The client is involved at every stage of the project and his feedback is considered to make changes concurrently.
  • It ensures the project’s quality is maintained at every level of the development stage.
  • Offers the flexibility to make changes to the project at any stage.
  • The project delivery is flexible and can be changed as the project progresses at every stage.

Advantages of Waterfall Methodology

Here are some advantages of using waterfall methodology such as-

  • It promotes quicker project delivery
  • Helps create a structured workflow by outlining all the components of the project in advance.
  • Eliminates any need for confusion as all parts of the project are well-documented and shared with the team members.
  • This makes it easier to measure the project’s progress as all project steps are outlined in advance.

Disadvantages of Agile Model

Here are some disadvantages of using Agile model such as-

  • The cost of the agile model is quite expensive as compared to other methodologies.
  • The project can go off track as it does not follow a linear pattern of work.
  • Collaboration becomes difficult with the client as he cannot be present physically every time.
  • It becomes difficult to track the entire project because its division is divided into multiple departments and groups.

Disadvantages of Waterfall Model

Here are some disadvantages of using Waterfall Model, such as-

  • You cannot make changes in the previous stages of the project.
  • The bugs can only be found once the project is completed, making it difficult to fix.
  • Less flexibility for changes might not bring the expected outcomes.
  • Due to less client involvement, the project cannot be customized.
  • The project delivery gets delayed as bugs are detected and fixed at the end of the project.

Which Is a Better Methodology for Your Business?

The choice of project development methodology would depend on your project requirements. However, Agile vs Waterfall comparison would help you a lot with your decision. If your business project has a definite end goal and modifications and client’s collaboration is not required in-between project duration, then waterfall methodology is the right choice for you

However, you can go for agile methodology if your project relies on constant testing and improvement and if you want to be constantly in touch with the stakeholders throughout the project progression.

Additionally, you can also adopt the best of both agile and waterfall methodologies to work on your project effortlessly.

Related Categories: Project Management Software


  1. Can agile and waterfall work together?

    Yes, you can use both agile and waterfall in a single project to get the best out of these methodologies. With hybrid methodology, you can easily collaborate with team members, create a systematic project workflow, work on the testing part concurrently, etc.

  2. What is the difference between agile and waterfall development?

    The difference between agile and waterfall models is that in the Waterfall approach, businesses move on to the next stage of the project development only when the last stage is cis completed. However, in the agile model, the team works on the different aspects of the project concurrently.

  3. Agile vs waterfall how to choose?

    You need to learn about the difference between agile and waterfall models to choose the right one for your project. If the project needs constant improvement and evaluation, then the Agile model would be the right one for you. If the project’s objectives are planned and do not require any changes, then the waterfall model is right for you.

  4. When should you use waterfall over agile?

    You need evaluate agile vs waterfall pros and cons to choose the right model for your project. However, you can use waterfall over agile methodology in some cases such as when the project features are clearly set, and modifications are not expected at every stage. Furthermore, you can choose it when stakeholders are not involved in the project.

  5. When to use agile vs waterfall?

    You can use the agile model when your project requires constant modifications and client’s feedback is to be considered. However, the waterfall model is best suited when all the project requirements are fixed and cleared in advance.

  6. Can you use both agile and waterfall?

    Yes, you can use both agile and waterfall methodologies to work on your project. For example, project planning and designing can be done with the waterfall method, and testing and development of the project can be done with agile model by dividing the tasks into small subtasks.

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