Waterfall model: The Ultimate Guide to Waterfall Methodology 2021

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The Waterfall methodology in Software Development Lifecycle
Mobytelab Team

Mobytelab Team

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What is the Waterfall model in Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?

The Waterfall Model is a classic Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) model, also known as a sequential model.

In this model, the software is divided into predefined phases. When a phase completes, the project will move over to the next phase sequentially.

The Waterfall model is the earliest SDLC approach. By its simplest approach, it was used very popular at the beginning time of software development.

In the waterfall model, there are 6 phases defined and those do not overlap.

The History of the Waterfall Model

First introduced by Dr. Winston W. Royce in a paper published in 1970.

From that time, it was applied to many projects from small to complicated. But in a fast-growing environment, it seems hard to adapt to changing requirements and is not suitable for complicated projects.

6 Phases of Waterfall Model

Phase 1: Requirement Gathering

We work with customers to figure out the customer requirement and convert an idea to a feasible visualization. It will include actions below:

  • Analyze the project requirement
  • Check the feasibility
  • Check the constraints including time, budget, resources


Phase 2: Design

Including UI/UX design and System Architecture design, such as programming languages, data layers, services, etc.


Phase 3: Implementation

At this phase, the software is developed as per requirements. Implementing all models, business logic, and service integrations specified in the prior stages. It also includes the unit testing code


Phase 4: Testing

The code is then handed over to the testing team. The tester will go through the test cases either manually or by automation and validate how the function works. All errors or bugs found in this stage will be transferred back to the development team to be fixed before moving to the next phase.


Phase 5: Deployment

When the software passes the Testing phase, it’s considered qualified and then deployed to the live environment (production). Now the software is available for end-users.


Phase 6: Maintenance

Provide support and maintenance for the software, making sure it runs smoothly. If any bugs/errors are occurring at this stage, those should be fixed in a manner of time.


The Pros & The Cons of Waterfall Methodology?

While Agile or Dynamic methods often replace the Waterfall model, there are some advantages in using this model in terms of software development life cycle.

The Pros of Waterfall Methodology

  • Easy to understand and manage. Every phase’s result has been defined well.
  • Clear requirements documented.
  • The development team easily adapts and is almost familiar with.
  • Each phase can be evaluated for continuity and feasibility before moving on.
  • Forces structured, disciplined organization.
  • Clearly define the final product and the deadline.

The Cons of Waterfall Methodology

  • Low speed, one phase must finish before another can start.
  • It takes a long time to verify the market as the final product is just ready at the end of the final phase.
  • The technology used in a long-time project may become obsolete in the end.
  • It is really hard to add additional features or update a feature during the project.
  • It’s not able to receive the client feedback during the process and make changes based on changing requirements or market needs.
  • Not ideal for complex, high-risk projects.

When do we use the Waterfall methodology?

This model is good for:

  • Small projects with requirements that are clearly defined from the start.
  • Projects that do not have much change during the development phase.
  • The application is not complicated
  • The technology and tools used are stable
  • Resources are available and trained
  • Projects that do not take much time, ideally less than 6 months or 1 year.

Top Leading Waterfall project management software platforms

While the Waterfall model is not often used in complicated and long-term projects, it’s still applied in many small projects that do not take a long time and it still proves its effectiveness in that scope.

The same as the other Agile software platforms, the applications should be able to give the users the interactive Gantt charts, the drag and drop tools for easy adjustment, and a powerful report that gives an overview of what is happening, also the prediction on what’s next.

So in this modern environment, what are the top software platforms that work well for Waterfall project management?


Wrike is an American project management application service provider based in San Jose, California. It provides a solution that supports both Agile & Waterfall methodologies.

Its **Highlighted features:

  • Interactive Gantt charts
  • Kanban boards
  • Purpose-built templates
  • Time tracking

Initial Release: 2006 Developer: Wrike, Inc Platform: Web, iOS, and Android


ProjectManager’s award-winning project management system combines the powerful project planning and scheduling features with collaboration tools for the team.

Its Highlighted Features include:

  • Scheduling works with the Gantt chart
  • Real-time project dashboards
  • Web-based task management
  • Powerful reports
  • Flexible timesheets

Initial release: 2008 Developer: Projectmanager.com, Inc Platform: Web


Smartsheet is a project management software as a platform. It offers collaboration and work management. It’s used to assign tasks, track progress, etc… using a tabular interface.

Its Highlighted Features:

  • Team collaboration
  • Workflow automation
  • Content management
  • Process management
  • Governance and administration
  • Resource management
  • Interactive Gantt chart

Initial release: 2006 Developer: Smartsheet Inc Platform: Web, Android, and iOS


Monday.com, is a Cloud-based software management platform. It’s designed as a visual team management software that enables a team to quickly add members, assign tasks, customize workflow, and track the progress of their work to completion.

Its Highlighted Features:

  • Collaborate with team members seamlessly
  • Support Gantt chart to visualize project milestones and dependencies all in one place.
  • Kanban: prioritize tasks and balance demands according to capacity.
  • Enable customize automation quickly
  • Simplify decision-making with real-time data insights.

Initial release: 2012 Developer: Monday.com Ltd Platform: Web, iOS, and Android

Variation of Waterfall model

V-Shape model in Software development lifecycle

The V-Shaped SDLC model is a variation of the Waterfall model. It emphasizes the Verifications phases and Validation phases by adding process control steps in between phases. Each step in the Verification phases followed by another step in the Validation phases accordingly as “Requirement design” followed by “Acceptance Test” (UAT) and “System Design” followed by “System Test”, etc.

The Pros of V-Shaped SDLC model

  • Simple to follow
  • Resulting in high quality by following its strict discipline
  • Testing is implemented in parallel to the development phase.

The Cons of V-Shaped SDLC model

Because the V-Shaped model is a variation of the Waterfall model, it inherits all the cons from that SDLC model.

The model is good for:

  • Small projects with clear requirements.
  • Projects that do not have much change during the development phase.
  • Projects that do not take much time, ideally less than 6 months or 1 year.

The difference between the Waterfall model and the Agile model

While the Waterfall model is a sequential methodology, the Agile model is an iterative and incremental methodology.

Following the Agile methodology, your project will move through a series of cycles throughout the lifetime of the project.

Following the Waterfall methodology is a simpler process of moving tasks through the phases of defining requirements, implementation, verification, deployment, and maintenance.

To have a clear understanding of what is the difference between Agile and Waterfall methodologies, check out this blog post “Waterfall Model vs. Agile Model: What is the difference?”.


  1. Agile Model: The Ultimate Guide to the Agile Methodology 2021
  2. Waterfall Model vs. Agile Model: What is the difference?

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