Waterfall vs. agile

At the beginning of a project, the responsible people are confronted with the question: Which implementation of the project is the fastest and most effective? There are two very opposite approaches to project management that are becoming increasingly popular: the waterfall model and the agile Scrum model.

The Waterfall Model
This is a classic model of project management. It is often used especially in companies with hierarchical structures. Here, the project is divided into several stages or phases, which build on each other and are carried out one after the other. Each phase is run through only once and the results of the phase before are used as a preliminary assumption in the subsequent phase. A typical procedure is:

  1. analysis
  2. design
  3. implementation
  4. test
  5. operation

Once a phase is completed, this decision should not be reversed.

The advantage of this is planning security. There is an orderly structure through which large projects can be carried out safely. This method is not suitable for projects where flexible adjustments are necessary.

The disadvantage is that errors in the implementation only become apparent towards the end of the project, making correction more difficult and costly. Risk factors can be addressed less flexibly.

The agile model
There are numerous agile approaches to project management. One example is Scrum. What Scrum is, what roles there are and much more about Scrum can be found on our blog!
Scrum is mainly about flexibility. In contrast to the waterfall model the project is implemented within the sprints. These are short cycles (e.g. 2 weeks) in which predefined tasks are completed. The requirements of the project are discussed in advance with the product owner and adapted to the needs of the customer. The requirements are collected and prioritized. Then the team selects a number of tasks and performs them within the sprint. The team works in a self-organized way, so it can decide how many and which tasks are completed in the sprint. You can read more about Sprint Planning here on our blog.




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We are a multi-industry IT specialist for digital transformation and provide software development, IT consulting and digital analysis.

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