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Waterfall software development models: Essential Guidelines

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The Waterfall software development model was first introduced by Dr. Winston W. Royce at the Lockheed Software Technology Center in a paper in 1970. The model is a popular version of the software development life cycle.

What is the waterfall model in software engineering?

Waterfall Model in software engineering is a sequential and linear model that divides software development into pre-defined phases. 

Popular in software engineering and product development, this is the first Process Model to be introduced. It is incredibly easy to use and understand. 

In this model, there is no overlap between phases and each step must be completed before moving to the next.

5 Phases of the software development waterfall model

Waterfall software development model consists of seven stages when applied to a software development process:

  • Requirements: In this initial stage, a formal requirements document, also known as a functional specification, is created by analyzing potential requirements, deadlines, and project guidelines. Without mentioning specific procedures, this stage of project development defines and plans the project.
  • Design: Technical design requirements, such as the programming language, hardware, data sources, architecture, and services, are outlined in a design specification document.
  • Implementation: The models, logic, and requirement requirements specified in the earlier phases are used to generate the source code. The system is typically coded in smaller pieces or parts before being merged.
  • Verification: Following the testing of each unit created during the implementation phase, the entire system is merged. The entire system is tested for errors and failures after integration.
  • Maintenance: To continuously improve, update, and enhance the product and its functionality, corrective, adaptive, and perfective maintenance is carried out. Release of patch updates and new versions may fall under this category.

8 Software Development Models You Need To Know

The benefits and drawbacks of waterfall software development methodology

Advantages Disadvantages
Allows large teams to move toward a common goal No viable software is produced until late throughout the life cycle
Straightforward and simple to use Error can only be fixed during each phrase
Results and process are well documented High levels of risk and uncertainty
Suitable for smaller projects where requirements are very well defined Not suitable for large and complex projects with frequent scope changes
Quality assurance tests are performed before finishing each stage Small modifications or errors that occur in the completed product could result in a lot of issues
With minimal client involvement, the project relies entirely on the project team Teams cannot get valuable feedback from end-users or stakeholders throughout development processes

Desktop application or online, cloud-based project management software

You can select either a desktop application or online, cloud-based project management software when it comes to the Waterfall software development model. Although it might not seem like a big deal, there are significant differences between these two categories of services. That’s because the two applications differ from one another, and being aware of those distinctions can help you make a wise choice.

1. Pricing

Desktop waterfall software typically has a higher initial cost, and that cost can increase drastically if you have to pay per-user licensing fees for each team member.

On the other hand, online waterfall software is usually paid for through a subscription, and that subscription is typically a tiered payment structure depending on the number of users.

2. Security

Both choices are very secure, so don’t worry if that’s a problem. The nearly impenetrable desktop software that runs on a company intranet might provide your business a greater sense of security.

Online, cloud-based waterfall software is now much more secure thanks to developments in web security like two-factor authentication and single-sign. Additionally, since the data for online tools is stored in the cloud, a desktop crash could spell the end of your job.

3. Connectivity

Naturally, online software requires an internet connection. This means that depending on your internet service provider, your speed and dependability may change. It also implies that you are unable to work if your connectivity is lost. Desktop waterfall software never has to worry about connection failures, despite the difference being slight.

4. Accessibility

Desktops are only as good as the infrastructure of the PCs on which they are installed. If you have distributed teams or work off-site, in the field, at home, etc., that isn’t much help. As long as you have an internet connection, online software is accessible whenever and wherever you are. In addition to making it always accessible, this also provides real-time data so you can always be working on the project’s current state.

Waterfall Model vs Agile Model in Software Development

When should you use Waterfall Model

  • When requirements are clear and fixed. 
  • When the technologies used are well understood.
  • When the development tools are stable.
  • When the project is unlikely to require significant changes.
  • When the risk is low.
  • When the project is short and not complex.

In conclusion

The waterfall approach stresses the significance of signing off on each phase’s deliverables. The Agile development model and Prototype methods currently dominate most projects, with the Waterfall approach still being effective for smaller projects. The waterfall software development model will produce the greatest outcomes if the requirements are simple and testable.

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