Every software development project presents its own set of requirements and unique challenges. In order to set your team up for success, it is crucial that you choose the correct development methodology that will satisfy the needs of your client as well as your internal team of designers and developers.

A development methodology is the process by which your team will organize and implement tasks for the duration of a project.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of the two main methodologies used by software development companies: Agile and Waterfall. Both methods can produce high quality results in an efficient way. Choosing which methodology would suit your team best is dependent on the specific project type and requirements.

The Agile method focuses on rapid development through an iterative approach, where work is typically completed in two week increments, called “sprints”. Each sprint has its own list of tasks and deliverables that is decided on and prioritized by the client. At the end of each sprint, the teams solicit client feedback in order to determine the tasks and priorities for the next sprint.    

Waterfall methodology, sometimes also referred to as “Traditional”, is a much more sequential approach, where the work is divided into phases with predetermined deliverables. Each phase is done only once, and must be successfully completed before the team can advance to the next phase. Waterfall methodology is based heavily in the planning stage, as any mid-project updates or changes would abruptly halt and disrupt the project. This could potentially cause long delays or, in some cases, a complete project restart.  

Agile Method

Pros

  • Two week sprints allow for project modifications and scope changes while still keeping a predictable schedule
  • Development typically occurs at a faster rate, with heavy focus on client’s needs and priorities
  • Ideal for projects with flexible or non-fixed funding
  • Teams consistently communicate with each other on every step of the sprint, which may alleviate the need for a higher level project manager

Cons

  • Too many scope changes can result in additional sprints, which may cause the project to go over budget
  • The client is required to be heavily involved in every sprint, which may not be feasible or desirable for the client
  • Efficient communication may not be possible with teams that are not centrally located

Waterfall Method

Pros

  • The scope of work is clearly defined for all teams before beginning any tasks
  • Deliverables are agreed upon at the start of the project and progress is tracked with completion of each phase 
  • Ideal for projects with a fixed budget
  • Aside from the initial design and planning, Client input will not be needed until the project enters the “review” phase

Cons

  • Predetermined structure does not allow for scope changes or modifications
  • Limited client feedback during development may not be ideal for larger projects with longer timelines
  • Testing occurs only after the project is completed, which could result in lengthy delays or a complete project restart

Take into consideration your client’s needs and your team’s capabilities when choosing which methodology to use. Many development teams choose to use a hybrid model, by combining certain aspects of each methodology.

At the end of the day, client satisfaction and efficient production is the goal. 

 Here at Bean Machine, we work with you to provide a custom tailored project plan to produce high quality work at your desired pace and within your budget.  Click here to bring your project to life!