3. Waterfall Method: Pros and Cons
The waterfall method remains a very popular way to manage a project as it has significant advantages. However, there some weaknesses as well.
- The waterfall is a 'plan-first-then-do' approach. Spending time and effort at the requirements stage saves time and money overall. The waterfall method encourages this by producing comprehensive documentation for the requirements that are signed off by the customer.
- It encourages the project to be managed in a well-structured manner. Having formal milestones encourages a disciplined approach.
- Well-defined formal milestones in waterfall allows progress to be easily assessed both by the team and the customer
- Encourages extensive documentation at every stage. After the project is complete, this documentation can be reviewed. Leaders of future projects can learn from previous projects - what worked and what didn't.
- Easy for someone outside the project (for example an auditor) to understand how the project is managed and progressed.
- Suited for projects that are well understood in terms of technology risk and have clear and stable requirements.
- The biggest issue is that the clients very often do not know exactly what they want at the beginning of a project.
- Not so good for high-risk or challenging projects. It is difficult to plan ahead if the team is unfamiliar with the technology or techniques required.
- Requiring extensive documentation and tight discipline can stifle the creativity and individuality of the programmers.
- Not so suitable when the requirements are vague or constantly being changed
- Not such a good fit for companies that prefer a more informal way of running projects.
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