Project management methodologies: Agile vs Waterfall


Agile methodology is based on four principles Agile Manifesto. Agile methodology is based on iterative development where requirements and solutions evolve through collaborative efforts between self-organized and functional teams. Agile is created in response of waterfall and is more adaptive, flexible, collaborative and speedy.

Agile allows to process upstream as it is more flexible and adaptive. To satisfy various needs, there are various agile methodologies and testing are in place for example the most popular agile methodologies are

  • Methodologies
  1. Scrum
  2. Kanban
  3. XP
  • Testing Methods
  1. Behavior Driven Development (BDD)
  2. Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD)
  3. Exploratory Testing
  4. Session Based Testing


  1. Flexibility: There is a room for change and you can go downstream and upstream. The slight modification or change doesn’t need to change the entire process or steps.
  2. Lower risk to customers: The customers inputs feedbacks at every step and therefore project failure risk reduces. The final draft is also presented at the end to customer.
  3. Less Documentation: There is less documentation as lot of requirements and analysis is not needed.


  1. No time frame and budget: The methodology is collaborative and subject to changes, therefore there Is no specific time frame and budget.
  2. Costly: The cost is high as there are changes to the project and resources are also changing.
  3. No fixed plan: There is no fixed plan as you have only general idea therefore resource management is difficult.
  4. Collaboration demanded: There is more and more collaboration needed at every step and stakeholders and sponsors delivers feedback and changes so more collaboration and agreement are required at every step.


Waterfall technology is the oldest methodology and as name suggests the cascade method is followed in this methodology. It is the conservative approach and demand clear precision. There is no way of correction and everything needs to be perfectly done at each step. The team moves one by one step and produces a lot of documentation in the process. The cascade model follows the following steps

  • Requirement
  • Analysis
  • conception
  • Design (timeframe and budget)
  • Implementation
  • Verification

These all steps are in pre-defined sequential manner and on must follow them in downstream as there is no upstream processing allowed. The method is very rigid but produces the best possible final product as it follows logical and sequential pattern. In addition, the customer can only see the final outcome of the project.


  1. Ease of use: As methodology is pre-defined and is in a sequential pattern it is easy to adapt, and one doesn’t need any prior experience to work on it.
  2. Rigid: The whole process is rigid and structured which makes it accurate and organized. It also allows the project to complete on time with best estimate time frame.
  3. Documentation and Budget: The process has lot of documentation and the budget is rightly calculated with time estimation.


  1. Downstream only: There is only downstream processing and no change can be done, there is no room for changes and the process is not flexible.
  2. Costly to add things: If someone wants to modify or add to its plan, all things and its aspects need to be change.
  3. Risky: The process is risky for customers as only outcome is only available to customer.

Both methodologies are useful in their own paradigm, the mix of both hybrid methodology is also a useful and these all methodologies can be learnt through online courses and learning.

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