Guide For Waterfall Method in System Development Life Cycle

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The software industry has never been so easy. As a custom software development firm, we daily complete multiple projects. Although we are using an agile approach, we should not underestimate the power of the Waterfall technique in the system development life cycle (SDLC).

What Is a Waterfall Technique?

The Waterfall method is a linear way to develop software, a system, or a program. It is also known as the linear-sequential life cycle model. This is the earliest model since the 1970s. There are seven key phases of the Waterfall method, and none of them will overlap. In other words, you have to complete the first phase before moving to the next one.

Here are some examples of projects where the waterfall methodology may be a good fit:

  • Developing a new software product
  • Building a new website
  • Constructing a new building
  • Launching a new marketing campaign

7 Stages of System Development Life Cycle Used in Waterfall

Phase 1: Requirements Gathering and Analysis

Initially, we connect with our clients, project stakeholders, and end-users to know their requirements for the project. After documenting all the requirements for the system, we move to the next phase.

Phase 2: System Design

Now, the gathered documents and requirements will be discussed by the developing team, system architects, and designers. System design is the whole skeleton of the project. It helps to start the developing project in an organized or structured way to meet deadlines. It also involves defining the system’s architecture, data structures, user interfaces, and other technical specifications.

Phase 3: Implementation (Coding)

In this phase, developers write the actual code for the system based on the design specifications. It’s the stage where the software or system is developed and tested module by module.

Phase 4: Testing

After doing all the coding, it’s time to test the system with rigorous testing. Testing can include unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and user acceptance testing (UAT). Testing helps us to detect issues and bugs so we can fix them before launch.

Phase 5: Integration 

After the quality assurance of each system module, it will be integrated into the complete system. It’s also important to check if all the modules are able to communicate or not.

Phase 6: Deployment (Installation)

After thorough testing and approval, it is deployed. Here, the system is installed on the target hardware and making it available for end-users.

Phase 7: Maintenance and Support

In the final stage, the system is in active use by end-users. Maintenance involves fixing any issues that arise in the production environment, addressing user feedback, and making necessary updates and enhancements as required.

Advantages Of Using Waterfall Methods

  1. It is easy to understand and apply. Each phase has clear objectives, and there is a distinct sequence of activities.
  2. Early planning prevents misunderstandings and errors.
  3. Projects are objected to being completed within the deadline.
  4. It requires less maintenance, post-modification, or upgrades once the system has been deployed.
  5. As the phases are completed one by one, you don’t need to work on all phases at once.
  6. The testing phase gives high assurance of software quality and reliability.
  7. Waterfall is often seen as more predictable than some other development methodologies.
  8. Waterfall can be effective for small and well-understood projects.

Disadvantages Of Waterfall method

Despite the effectiveness and ease of use, the waterfall method isn’t a much preferred or popular choice. The main reason is the time consumption and the inflexibility of this method. If we start a huge project with a waterfall approach, it will take several months to years. In such a case, we won’t be able to provide the solution on time for the end users.

There are other disadvantages of the waterfall method:

  • As each phase is meant to be completed before the next phase can begin, you won’t be able to make changes once the project has started.
  • If any requirements are missed or changed, it can have a great impact on the schedule and budget of the project.
  • As the product is not delivered to the end user until it is complete, you will be late to get feedback. Also, it can be hard to fix the issue if the product fails to meet the user’s requirements.

Alternatives to the waterfall method

  • Agile for delivering working software early and often.
  • Kanban for visualizing the flow of work and limiting work in progress
  • Scrum for delivering a working product increment at the end of every sprint (typically two weeks)
  • Lean for eliminating waste and delivering value to the customer as quickly as possible.

Bottom Line

In recent years, the waterfall method has been falling out of favor in many industries, but it has its own worthy benefits as well. However, many teams are now using more agile methodologies, which is a modified version of the waterfall method in the system development life cycle.  

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