Agile vs. Waterfall: Which Project Management Methodology Is Best For You?

Agile vs. Waterfall: At a Glance

  • Short-term deadlines encourage productivity and efficiency
  • There is a lot of flexibility to change project direction and experiment with new directions
  • The methodology is client-facing, which means that the team shares progress and incorporates feedback into the process
  • team members are working on multiple phases at a time, there is potential for overlap or unnecessary effort spent on later stages if an early phase needs to be modified
  • Deliverables are not a requirement to progress to the following phase. It can be harder to ensure the entire team is on the same page — especially if it’s a large team with different departments. It also means that work can get lost or miscommunicated between team members, especially when people leave and join the team in the middle of the projects.
  • The project timeline is more difficult to determine from the start, and it is also more susceptible to change
  • Provides a concrete plan of the project from start to finish
  • The team establishes project requirements early on, which can save time
  • Each phase of the project requires a deliverable to progress to the next phase, making the workflow more structured
  • Because each project phase needs to be completed before progressing to the next stage, the process can take longer
  • You might not realize an issue with a phase until you have already progressed to the next one. This would mean going back through each phase and checking where the mistake or error occurred, which can be a timely process.
  • The Waterfall methodology requires that you outline the project from start to finish before you begin. This doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility or change. Additionally, it can become problematic if the stakeholders disagree on the project’s vision and don’t find out until it is executed or in a later phase.

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