What is Waterfall Method?

Definition - What is waterfall method?

The waterfall method was the first process method to be introduced. In waterfall method the development process is structured as cascade of phases which is carried out linearly. In this method output of one phase is given to the next phase. Each phase contains a set of activities that can be carried out by different people simultaneously.

Phases in the waterfall method

SDLC Waterfall method

Here are the phases used in waterfall method

1. Communication

I. Initiation:

This is the first stage of the system development the business objectives are identified and major features and functions are defined.

II. Requirements Gathering:

In this stage the content functional requirements are identified and also the interaction scenarios for various users are defined.

2. Planning

This phase includes three activities namely estimation, scheduling and tracking.

I. Estimation:

In this activity the development team estimated how much money, resources, time and team efforts the project will take. Feasibility study is used for estimation.

II. Scheduling:

Here the team must build project schedule which will include various final delivery date along with various milestone dates. A rough project schedule is a must for tracking purpose as the project development progresses.

III. Tracking:

Here the project manager checks the current status of the project and compares it with the schedule, if the progress is behind the schedule necessary decisions are taken to complete the task. To track the progress, to know the current problems the development team is facing periodic meetings are taken.

3. Modeling

In this phase the overall data and program structure is established. Here the intend is to convert the design method into operational method. This can be done with the help of analysis and design of the software.

4. Construction

Here actual development of the software is done by coding and testing the software.

5. Deployment

Deployment phase of the software consists of three activities namely delivery, feedback and support.

I. Delivery:

The software developed is installed in the users or customers environment.

I. Support:

Development team provides support to the users by giving them training about how to handle the system and make most out of it.

I. Feedback:

Feedback from the users is taken for evaluation. This activity tries to find out strengths and weaknesses of the system developed.

Advantages of Waterfall method

  1. Phases are completed one at a time.
  2. Process and results are documented.
  3. Waterfall method is good for smaller projects where the objectives are very well understood and are fixed.
  4. It is very simple, easy to understand and easy to use.

Disadvantages of Waterfall method

  1. High risks of mistakes and uncertainty.
  2. Working software is produced at the end.
  3. One cannot change requirements in the middle of development.
  4. Not recommended method for complex projects.