How To Decide The Best Among Agile vs Waterfall

The success of any software development project is highly dependent on the chosen development approach. The first and foremost decision to be made when it comes to creating software is to finalize which development methodology to use from agile vs waterfall. 

When selecting a model, the two most renowned approaches are the Agile vs Waterfall methodology. 

  1. Waterfall – Mostly known as the traditional approach for project development.
  2. Agile – A newer approach compared to Waterfall but not that new; generally implemented using Scrum and help with rapid app development. 

To help your product team in assessing when to use the Waterfall vs Agile product development methodology, we will show you some of the notable information. It will aid to decide where it may be more desirable to use one over the other or even combine the two of them like agile vs waterfall. 

Waterfall methodology – Basic Information

Waterfall project management is a traditional model to build engineering systems. It is primarily based on manufacturing as well as construction projects. 

When implemented for software development, certain tasks completed in one stage need to be assessed and verified before moving ahead towards the next stage. It is a linear and sequential methodology, where each stage streams in descending order to the next. 

Agile methodology – Basic Information

Agile methodology is a software development methodology based on standards that are highly focused on the people, outcomes, cross-functional collaboration, and tailored responses to change.

Rather than planning for the entire project, it splits the development process into small iterations, or we can say short time frames. Each iteration contains all SDLC stages to deliver a working product at the end. After executing multiple iterations, a new or updated product gets released. 

Agile vs Waterfall – Differences 

Agile Methodology  Waterfall Methodology 
An incremental and iterative approach  Linear and sequential approach 
Splits project into sprints  Splits project into phases 
Simultaneously complete multiple small projects  Complete one single project at a time
Focus on customer satisfaction  Focus on successful project delivery 
Requirements are uncertain and evolving  Requirements are certain and definite 
Testing is performed concurrently  Testing is performed after the build stage 
The testing team can participate in requirement changes The testing team can not participate in requirement changes
The project team operates without a dedicated project manager The project team needs a project manager to play an important role in each stage. 

Agile Model


  • The client continuously stays engaged during each phase as it is a client-focused methodology. 
  • Deliver improved results as the teams are highly inspired and self-organized. 
  • It assures that the quality of the development is highly maintained. 
  • Learning is encouraged and adopted. 
  • The development process is based on incremental progress. 
  • The client and team are well aware of the completed and remaining tasks ultimately reducing the risks that arise in the development process.
  • It offers high flexibility.
  • Time to market gets accelerated and empowers the teams. 
  • More room for creativity. 


  • It is not suitable for small-sized development projects. 
  • It needs the presence of experts for significant decision-making during an important meeting. 
  • The results and timeline are less predictable. 
  • Implementation of agile vs waterfall methods are quite costly compared to other development approaches. 
  • Documentation in the agile approach is not deliverable. 
  • If the project manager is not clear about the desired outcome, the project can easily turn out to be an unmanaged and confusing one. 

Waterfall Model


  • It is one of the simplest models to deal with. Each phase has specific outputs and a review process. 
  • It is possible to have quicker project delivery. 
  • It is highly adaptable to shifting teams.  
  • It performs well for small-sized projects where requirements are clear. 
  • Helpful to manage dependencies. 
  • Process and outcomes are well documented. 
  • It is a well-defined approach leveraged in almost all business verticals. 


  • It is not suitable for large-sized development projects. 
  • If the requirements are not defined at the initial level, this method would be less effective. 
  • It is quite complex to return to previous stages to perform any emerging changes.  
  • Already defined requirements restrict creativity during the development. 
  • Testing will be performed after the completion of the development stage. So there are multiple chances of errors to be found later in development. It will also be quite expensive to resolve. 
  • More efforts on creating documentation rather than developing products. 

How to Choose Among Both?

Opting for the Agile development methodology is not the best choice for each project. Definitely, agile looks like a more suitable tactic for project management, but it is not always the perfect way to lead a project from beginning to end. Sometimes sticking to a more transitional model is what you can do the best for your project.  

The decision of choosing from agile vs waterfall highly different approaches depends on the nature of your project. You may consider the above-mentioned factors to decide which one to implement. 

To Conclude, 

The Agile vs Waterfall approaches are distinct forms of digital product development methodologies. Each one from agile vs waterfall are excellent in some situations and ineffective in others. 

Software development projects that have emerging or undetermined requirements need to use the agile approach. In contrast from agile vs waterfall, small-sized software development projects that have clear requirements find the waterfall approach to be the best pick.

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