linkedin image Skip to main content
Upcoming Webinar on July 24th

CRM Contender Series: Salesforce vs. HubSpot

Learn More and Register
June 20, 2024 Business Services

Agile vs. Waterfall Frameworks: How Should My Business Plan its Next Project?

Brian Headshot
By Brian Anderson

Agile and waterfall project management methodologies are common yet intricate. On one hand, agile methodologies are an adaptive framework that provides flexibility to complex projects. On the other hand, waterfall methodologies focus on well-defined deliverables and detailed scopes of work.  

But what methodology makes the most sense for your next big business growth project? Both have their strengths and weaknesses and choosing between them can be difficult. 

This blog will explore the key differences between agile and waterfall frameworks and their advantages and disadvantages. 

Understanding Agile Frameworks

Agile methodologies are an iterative approach to project management that focuses on continuous improvement, flexibility, and collaboration.  

Some popular agile frameworks include Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming (XP). These frameworks share similar values, such as frequent communication, regular feedback, and continuous delivery of working software. 

Advantages 

  • Flexibility: Agile methodologies allow for changes throughout the project’s lifecycle. This is beneficial when requirements are not fully known or may evolve. 
  • Customer involvement: Frequent customer communication is critical to agile frameworks, ensuring their needs and expectations are met. 
  • Faster delivery: By breaking down projects into smaller iterations, agile can deliver working software quicker than waterfall methodologies. 
  • Adaptability: Agile teams can adjust and respond to changing project requirements, leading to a more adaptable and resilient approach. 
  • Collaboration: Team collaboration is highly valued in agile methodologies, promoting a shared responsibility for the project’s success. 

Disadvantages

  • Lack of documentation: Due to the focus on working software over extensive documentation, there may be a lack of thorough project documentation. 
  • Constant changes: While adaptability is advantageous, constant changes can lead to scope creep and potential delays if not managed effectively. 
  • Requires experienced team members: Agile methodologies rely heavily on self-organizing teams and may require experienced team members to implement effectively. 
  • Limited scalability: Some may say agile methodologies are best suited for smaller projects, as larger projects may become challenging to manage with frequent changes and iterations. 

Exploring Waterfall Frameworks

Waterfall methodologies follow a sequential approach, with each project phase completed before moving on to the next. It is a more traditional approach that has become popular in industries such as construction and manufacturing. 

Advantages 

  • Clear timeline and budget: With a predefined schedule and set requirements, estimating project timelines and budgets in waterfall methodologies is more manageable. 
  • Thorough documentation: Each phase must be completed before moving on to the next, ensuring thorough documentation of project requirements and deliverables. 
  • Reduced risk of scope creep: The strict sequential approach limits changes and helps keep projects on track with defined timelines and budgets. 
  • Suitable for large projects: Waterfall methodologies are scalable and can effectively manage larger projects with structured phases. 

Disadvantages 

  • Limited flexibility: Changes in project requirements or issues discovered during later stages can be challenging to implement as each phase must be completed before moving on. 
  • Lack of customer involvement: Customer involvement is limited to the first planning stage, leading to a potential gap between project expectations and deliverables. 
  • Longer delivery time: The sequential approach can result in longer delivery times than agile methodologies. 
  • Higher risk: Due to the lack of flexibility, projects may be at a higher risk of failure if initial planning is not thorough or requirements change significantly. 

Choosing the Right Framework

It’s essential to carefully consider the needs and goals of your project when choosing between agile and waterfall frameworks. Here are some points to keep in mind: 

  1. Project requirements: A waterfall method may be better if you clearly understand all project requirements from the start. However, agile may be more suitable if requirements are likely to change or evolve. 
  2. Team experience: The level of expertise and ability within your team can also play a role in choosing the suitable method. Agile methodologies require experienced team members who effectively manage constant changes and collaboration. 
  3. Customer involvement: If customer involvement is crucial for project success, agile methodologies may be better as they promote frequent communication and feedback. 
  4. Project size and complexity: Waterfall methodologies may be more effective for larger projects with defined requirements, while agile can work well for smaller, more complex projects that require adaptability. 

Which Methodology is Right for You?

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing a project. It’s essential to consider your project’s unique needs and goals carefully before deciding on a methodology. Remember that it’s always possible to combine elements of agile and waterfall frameworks to create a hybrid approach that works best for your team and project. This approach is what BrainSell excels highly at and worked with several customers on! 

Whether you choose an agile or waterfall approach, the key to successful project management is thorough planning, clear communication, and continuous improvement. You can also find guidance from the experts at BrainSell, who are well-versed in agile and waterfall project management approaches. 

Reach out today and see how BrainSell can help your business grow and scale with the right plan in place! 

Share This Post

Ready to rock? So are we!

hand gesturing 'rock on' with a silver studded leather bracelet on the wrist.

Benefits of working with BrainSell:

  • We guarantee you’ll get in touch with us on the first call.
  • We practice what we preach – business growth (since 1994).
  • You’ll get Big-Firm advice, without the sticker shock.
  • You get a partner for the long haul — your success is our success!