Choose Waterfall or Agile for Project Management?

Choose Waterfall or Agile for Project Management?
How to make a choice whether to use waterfall or agile in carrying out a project management or implementation of other frameworks in order to get quality results according to customer wishes. Let's look at the difference between waterfall and agile.

The difference between waterfall and agile can be clearly reviewed based on the concept of work, focus, resources, documentation, change, business value, risk and product visibility.

1. Work Concept

Waterfall is a methodology for designing one-way sequential work processes such as the flow of a waterfall. The waterfall work process includes:
  • Requirements
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Implementation
  • Maintenance
The use of a waterfall is very effective for projects that are predictive, with only a slight change in scope.

Waterfall requires that the initial requirements are final. The waterfall project team makes a big plan at the beginning of the project which is then executed sequentially and prevents a change in the initial plan.

The success of the waterfall is measured based on the final planning the same as the initial planning including on scope, on budget and on time.

Waterfall methodology is linear and sequential. When facing change, they reactively try to resist change to keep the plan within the scope at the beginning of the project.

This is different from agile.

Agile delivers through iterations (process repetition) at the end of each sprint with a duration of less than 1 month.

Customers do not have to wait for the end of the project to be able to use the product, but only at the end of the sprint, which lasts less than 1 month.

Delivery in agile recognizes the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) approach, namely the minimum delivery of products so that customers can use them.

The benefit of MPV is that the product owner gains an understanding of customer interest in the product as quickly as possible without having to fully develop the product.

The sooner the product owner knows whether the product will attract customers, the less effort and cost for products that fail to be marketed.

In addition, the product owner will immediately receive feedback to be able to improve the product according to the latest customer needs.

2. Focus

Waterfall focuses on output while agile focuses on outcomes or values.

Waterfall is based on contract negotiations with the customer so the customer will not be able to make any changes until the contract is completed.

Agile collaborates with customers intensely during the product manufacturing process so that customer satisfaction is measured.

3. Resources

Waterfall requires sophisticated processes and tools.

Agile requires individual excellence and the ability to interact with each other so that creative ideas are often born

The ability of an agile team to respond to change rather than following a structured plan because there really isn't a structured plan. All actions are based on customer feedback and realities in the field or market.

Therefore, adaptive teams are needed in agile teams. Individual ability is more important than following a plan like in a waterfall.

4. Documentation

Waterfall emphasizes that the process of making a product is thoroughly documented in the form of a design from the start until the product is finished.

Agile delivers product prototypes more frequently

5 Changes

Waterfall does not provide room for scope changes, while agile provides space for scope changes so that products are in line with current market conditions.

6. Business Value

Waterfall can only be felt at the end of the project if market conditions have not changed.

Agile can be felt at the end of each sprint so you don't have to wait too long for the project to finish.

7. Risk

Waterfall is more risky for business because long-term planning carries the risk of missing and wrong estimates, while agile will be inspected and adapted again in sprint planning

8. Product Visibility

Waterfall, business users only get project percentage reports but don't feel the product.

Agile product visibility can be seen every sprint because each sprint has at least 1 improvement that can be felt.

Based on the 8 differences above, in terms of effectiveness, agile is more likely to be successful in this fast-paced era.

According to research by the Association for Project Management (AMP) it shows that agile enables successful projects by 42% while waterfall is only 14% but that doesn't mean waterfalls can't be used, it's just that for small teams with fast needs then using agile is more reliable.

How to use agile can be done through the agile implementation process as follows:
  • Planning: determining goal setting and values.
  • Road map creation: preparing all the needs during the sprint. Each member must fully understand all their duties because they will work alone to complete the backlog.
  • Release planning: conveying the plan to all involved stakeholders
  • Sprint planning: planning how the execution of all plans including plan completion indicators
  • Daily meetings: These are short meetings of around 15 minutes each day during the sprint timeframe
  • Sprint review: meeting with stakeholders about the sprints that have been done, evaluating which ones were successful and which ones need to be improved
Agile implementations can be successful as long as all team members can work together in a transparent manner, are critical of the work inspected and are able to adapt through experimentation with opportunities.
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