The software development life cycle is approached differently by different organizations. It may appear weird, but there will always be a contest between proponents of waterfall and agile methodologies. Although agile is sweeping the business, there are a few advantages to waterfall.
As a manager, you may find yourself asking, “Which method should I take — waterfall or agile?”
A choice with a lot of consequences
You could wish to adopt agile and change your waterfall company into agile if you’re overwhelmed by its popularity.
There are various steps you may take to move from a waterfall to an agile development methodology. However, because old habits die hard, you can keep the waterfall strategy and simply do agile work within your waterfall company.
If you don’t want to entirely switch to one strategy and abandon the other, preserving the best of both approaches is a sensible decision. There are a number of ways to make waterfall and agile work together.
These ‘hybrid’ techniques follow similar ideas, incorporating the benefits of both waterfall and agile methodologies into a single approach.
In this essay, I’ll compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks of agile and waterfall techniques. Finally, we’ll look at the hybrid techniques for software development that allow waterfall and agile methodologies to work together.
Why make Waterfall and Agile methodology get along?
For any test manager or test lead in a start-up, small business, or enterprise, the most difficult component of starting a new project is planning it.
Waterfall approach, according to traditionalists, is a well-established practice that relies on meticulous documentation and strict control. Agile, on the other hand, has made significant inroads in modern teams because it is more adaptive to changes, which sometimes make deliveries unpredictable.
A single methodology cannot be the sole hammer with which to pound all of the solutions together. The Agile-Waterfall Hybrid is frequently regarded as a sensible way to adopt both approaches without making too many compromises, essentially combining the best of both worlds.
The hybrid methodology’s major goal is to allow teams to specify needs and adapt to changing requirements via continuous feedback and delivery. The hybrid technique keeps the waterfall method’s clarity and monitoring system while embracing agile adaptation and flexibility.
“A single methodology cannot be the only hammer with which to hammer all of the solutions together.”
Let’s take a look at how each of the agile and waterfall models work separately before moving on to how they work together.
During the development of a new software product, Agile methodology employs an iterative approach in which all teams participate and the client provides feedback.
A big quantity of work is broken into smaller parts called’ sprints in an agile methodology. In parallel, a sprint is being developed and tested. This means that testing is not a distinct step in the development process, but rather an integrated component of it. The testing team’s major goal is to identify faults, flaws, and defects as soon as possible.
The key advantage of agile methodology is that the product is provided to the client in less time.
Advantages of Agile methodology
- The client is involved throughout the project and can provide comments to help fine-tune the product and its features to meet the needs of the company and the client. The client verifies the product at the conclusion of each iteration to ensure that there are no gaps between requirements and implementation.
- Each sprint is tested as it is in progress, which makes it more efficient. Each feature is thoroughly tested and incorporated into the whole system, and regression testing is performed automatically as new features are implemented.
- Change requests are easier to implement since the agile methodology uses an adaptive planning method that allows for ample of room for change requests as they arise.
- Agile does not devote time to lengthy documentation that becomes outdated and burdensome to the team, allowing you to devote more time to designing and executing test cases. This is not to say that no documentation is required; rather, agile encourages the use of minimal but needed documentation.
- Agile enables for frequent customer monitoring, which might lead to requirement revisions, which would only serve to exacerbate scope creep by drastically increasing out-of-scope features.
Disadvantages of Agile methodology
- Agile is all about flexibility to frequent changes, which necessitates experience and the ability to make quick decisions to accept some changes while deferring others until the next sprint.
- If the client or team does not comprehend agile approach and cannot keep up with the fast-paced environment, the agile technique will fail. For a team with little expertise, Agile is seen as a risk.
Waterfall is a typical project management style that emphasizes the sequential movement of a project and is divided into defined phases, each of which must be evaluated and validated before moving on to the next.
An independent quality assurance team creates test cases to determine whether the product meets the requirements completely or partially. The test team is in charge of carrying out these test cases and validating the final product or software.
Advantages of Waterfall methodology
- If the project’s requirements are well-defined, the waterfall methodology is the best option. It follows a strict methodology in which each phase concludes with a high-quality deliverable that is then rigorously examined.
- Some of the best practices in waterfall technique include well-documented requirements, functional specifications, technical specifications, and a technical architecture.
- The QA team is given adequate time to comprehend the requirements and develop detailed test cases. QA can perform the test case accurately without any ambiguity thanks to thorough test cases.
- When team members are spread in different places, the waterfall approach can help with effective knowledge transfer by devoting time and effort to understanding requirements and documentation.
- If a major bug is discovered after the system has been fully developed and tested, the entire system must be rebuilt, and the testing team must wait until the bug is fixed.
Disadvantages of Waterfall methodology
- Testing teams are frequently given a shorter time frame to finish test execution since more time is spent on extensive documentation during the first phases.
- If the needs are not apparent at the start of the project, as is the situation in most larger projects, there will be unforeseen delays. Initially, only a sketch of the requirement would be available, and some requirements can only be established by trial and error.
- When a bug is discovered later in the development process, it can cost up to 60% more to remedy than if it is discovered earlier.
Using hybrid models, you can avoid unnecessary drama and delays.
After weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each technique, most people begin to contemplate a solution that combines the best of both, depending on the project’s requirements.
Waterfall technique might adopt agile methodology’s flexibility, whereas agile would undoubtedly benefit from a systematic approach like waterfall methodology.
In the software business, there are two popular hybrid approaches.
The Water-scrum-fall paradigm is one approach that brings waterfall and agile together.
The development and testing teams use agile methodologies in a limited way, whereas the business analysis and release management teams use classic waterfall approaches.
The standard waterfall methodology is used for planning, obtaining requirements, budgeting, and documenting the project’s progress in the water-scrum-fall method. When the team has enough information to start working on the project, they convert to a timed, iterative version of Scrum.
In day-to-day product development activities, this strategy employs agile concepts and scrum communication techniques.
When organizations need specifics in the planning phase so they may create realistic budget estimates, they employ the water-scrum-fall model. If the beginning phase of a project is carried out in a planned manner, it is more likely to persuade management of the concept and give them confidence when giving cash.
Another argument for using the water-scrum-fall model is developers’ and testers’ natural desire to use agile approaches during development. This occurs because agile techniques empower them and provide them with opportunities to collaborate when the project’s constraints dictate.
At the Vancouver Digital Project Managers Meetup Group, the Agifall concept was first presented. By introducing agile into a loose waterfall process, it blends the benefits of both worlds.
Agifall’s goal is to improve quality while increasing speed and lowering costs. Agifall takes a user-centric approach to planning and employs rapid prototyping technologies. It implements waterfall planning and requirements in an agile manner by breaking them down into user stories and prioritizing them in the sprint.
In the Agifall approach, you don’t wait for one step to finish before moving on to the next; instead, you go on to the next phase as soon as possible. This implies you can start developing some modules or components independently while the planning phase is still ongoing. The development phase adheres to the agile principles as a whole.
Graphic design and testing should be done concurrently with the development process, according to the Agifall model.
Hybrid can go right or wrong:
The agile-waterfall hybrid approach isn’t ideal, but it’s a good start. In a single agile sprint, the detailed documenting and fulfilment of each phase required by waterfall approach would be a significant load.
One of the clearest instances of effective hybrid model adoption is the growth of approaches such as backlog management instead of detailed documentation. The hybrid model is suitable for projects that require the team to deliver continually changing requirements in a short amount of time.
The best way to proceed when a test team manager or lead has to adopt a particular method during the planning phase is to choose the method that best meets the project needs. Furthermore, the team must have a thorough comprehension of the hybrid model and implementation technique; otherwise, there’s a good chance it may sabotage the project and reap no benefits.
It’s not always easy to rely just on one strategy. The test team manager or lead must select the technique that best meets the project’s requirements, which necessitates knowledge of the benefits and drawbacks of the many methodologies available.
There are several hybrid models for the software development life cycle, and I discussed two of them in this article. Traditional ways are used for the water-scrum-fall model, planning, budgeting, and production, whereas agile concepts are used for analysis, design, development, and testing. Agifall, on the other hand, takes an agile and user-centric approach to waterfall technique.
The entire project can be a success by combining the best practices of both disciplines and incorporating the appropriate hybrid techniques. Adopting a hybrid strategy to execute complicated projects with frequently changing needs may often be a very effective option as long as there is strong communication and effective cooperation amongst team members.
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