Application Development Environment — Agile And Waterfall
The approach and strategy you adopt or follow in developing an application make a significant impact on the success and outcome of the application. In an application development environment, some things work best for some projects whereas some not. Considering all the aspect of developing an app here becomes crucial.
Among many strategies and methodologies to follow for application development, a debate among Agile and Waterfall always pop-ups.
Let’s talk about the professional tips which could help create better products, faster.
Did you know the Agile method exist over the last 20 years? Agile came to rescue developers from Waterfall models, that’s existed since 1970 and, that was not supporting to develop evolving needs of a digital world. Agile then interred into the picture with the new methods and tools and made it easier for developers to innovate rapidly.
The agile method follows a process to provide the product to the users. It involves continues feedback, iteration, collaboration, and adaptability.
Every another article or blog published on ‘world-wide-web’ just conclude at the end that Agile is the best method to chose for the application development and project management. Whereas the comparison is just inaccurate and misleading.
However, on Q&A platform ‘Quora’, you can find the rational answers.
Let’s dig some more inches and understand the real picture why “Agile” and “Waterfall” project management methods exists?
What Does ‘Waterfall’ Really Mean?
Dr. Winston Royce in 1970 designed initially ‘waterfall.’ He stated in his document and described a model that follows a sequence of phases where outputs on one phase flow into the next phase. He described the model something like this:
As a result of one phase flow into the next phase like cascading, it is called ‘waterfall.’
How Development Happened Earlier To ‘Waterfall’?
To know ‘waterfall’ better, it is helpful to comprehend what was the life of the developers before Waterfall and what issues it endeavored to describe. What went before ‘waterfall’ was a great deal of inadequately-organized development process with next to zero structure, control, and planning. The biggest trouble developers were facing with that approach were:
- When projects expand in terms of scope and complexity, and potentially the development team grew due to it, it called a more planned and strategic move to get the desired outcomes from the expanded team
- A second biggest issue was that there it was tough to predict the costs and schedules of software projects. There were a very frequent and significant cost and schedule overruns, and stakeholders demand some level of predictability for cost and delivery time.
Waterfall model when originally defined, it brought a significant push up to development method from practically no methodology available earlier. “Waterfall” provided a very well-defined process:
- A “road-map” was available that facilitate the coordination between multiple developers. When integration of new work with a fresh resource required, the module also presented the scope of that
- It presented a mechanism that offered some control over the scope of software projects towards predictability of costs and schedules.
As we are in the 21st century with enough frameworks, programming languages and SDLC models, we can’t criticize and downgrade Waterfall for not meeting up to today’s expectations.
Where The Waterfall Approach Lacks?
Besides several benefits, there was a pendulum effect in the Waterfall approach. The methodology put over-correction in many development cases. From almost no control and disciple to very rigid control and discipline in projects was happening.
On the other hands, the waterfall process was originally a very document-intensive and over-controlled process. It wouldn’t let you exit a phase until the documentation shows that the work of that phase had been completed, reviewed and approved.
That was a very painful process and had a number of serious problems, such as:
- The end user of the software couldn’t see the software quickly. Developers only released the software until all the development, and testing gets completed. And by the time software get released, it was difficult to go back and make any changes
- As uncertainty is inevitable in software development, the rigorous control of the waterfall approach on the scope of work made the process very inflexible to perform any change required to meet user needs and business goals.
Resulting, there were projects which met the cost and schedule goals as desired but failed in offering a sufficient level of business value. A heavy emphasis on documentation and other overhead required for reviews and approvals made the whole process bureaucratic and not very cost efficient.
How Did ‘Waterfall’ Emerge To Work On The Problems?
It was not just Agile that pop up from nowhere right after Waterfall. There are many variations based on the original Waterfall model and came to rescue developers. More of them were developed on iterative models and received and practiced to solve some of the problems in the original Waterfall approach. RUP (Rational Unified Process) and EUP (Enterprise Unified process) among the popular software development approach in late 1990' and early 2000s.
Over the period of two decades, there has been a growth of several models and processes and people today categorize all of them as “waterfall,” and that is not the case.
Is There Any Better Way To Describe ‘Agile’ Versus ‘Waterfall’?
The shared factor of the considerable number of techniques that individuals freely call ‘Waterfall’ is that they underline some dimension of upfront planning and control to attempt to accomplish predictability over project scope, investment, and schedules. Thus the more appropriate and objective description we can give to Waterfall approach is ‘plan-driven.”
The word ‘Agile’ is likewise loosely utilized. We as a whole realize that ‘Agile’ is certainly not a particular strategy although numerous individuals compare ‘Agile’ with ‘Scrum.’
- Scrum isn’t generally a specific strategy. It is a framework that is expected to be adaptable to a wide scope of circumstances
- Agile is proportionate to Scrum. There are other Agile methodologies, for example, Kanban
It’s entirely simple to see that the word ‘Agile’ is likewise utilized all around freely to imply a particular and well-defined strategy when that isn’t the case. The shared factor of approaches that individuals call ‘Agile’ is that they are adaptable and versatile and stress innovativeness and development in an uncertain environment as opposed to stressing planning and control to produce consistency with a lower level of certainty. Therefore, we can use the word “Adaptive” rather than the word ‘Agile’ when comparing it to “Waterfall (plan-driven).”
Now We Should Compare “Plan-driven” and “Adaptive”
Let’s understand why a comparison of “adaptive” and “plan-driven” is accurate and objective rather than ‘Agile’ versus ‘Waterfall.’
It’s more accurate — “plan-driven” doesn’t suggest a particular strategy — understand that is a characteristic of a broad range of techniques/methodologies that people are discussing as “Waterfall” approach.
It’s more objective — ‘Waterfall’ has loads of antagonistic meanings related to it that return to the first ‘Waterfall’ model that was characterized in 1970. What individuals call ‘Waterfall’ today may have little similarity to the first “Waterfall standard that was designated in 1970. “Plan-driven” doesn’t convey any of those negative things.
When developers and project managers communicate and convey when compare ‘Agile’ and ‘Waterfall,’ it is more often that Agile is good to go whereas Waterfall is a cumbersome and do not help in acquiring the desired results.
It is something not accurate and objective. Agile and Waterfall shares a completely different environment. “Agile is better than Waterfall” is like “ A car is better than a boat” which makes no sense since both have their benefits, but it disadvantages depends on the environment where you are standing. So, we can say.
- A plan-driven methodology is best for projects that require a low level of uncertainty and require some level of predictability
- A adaptive methodology works best in projects that involve a significant level of uncertainty and put weight on innovation and development to locate an optimum solution instead of stressing on planning and control to accomplish predictability
Though content available over search engines just manipulate the thinking of the readers especially of the ones who just decided to come on board of the technology world. Agile vs. Waterfall is widely used as is it easy to describe something that is so much complex. But here we have decided to throw some more light to Agile and Waterfall, there advantage with start-up project and well-established system and best frameworks to choose for influence desired results.