As a methodology, project management is an essential element to ensure end products are produced as planned. It keeps the budget in check and ensures it doesn’t blow out or runs behind schedule.
To keep the project flow the way it’s supposed to be, waterfall project management is a well-recognized methodology that adds intense rigour and structure to the disciple. By implementing the methodology, processes can be improved and replicated for future prospects.
Below we have charted out the entire Waterfall Project Management methodology so that you can formulate when to use and avoid the methodology.
What Is The Waterfall Approach?
Waterfall management follows a continuing trajectory methodology that completes a project in sequential steps. You create a detailed project plan that includes the requirements, expectations and other elements before proceeding further to a defining phase.
Waterfall methodology has a huge documentation process to be followed which can at times become a task in itself. But being prepared at a task cost no risk and that’s exactly what this methodology does. The methodology is agile, flexible with an iterative approach that develops a project in stages. To help you understand, consider the following approaches:
Lean: This approach cuts waste and inefficiencies by choosing the most valuable features for the software.
Kanban: This flexible approach promotes continuous collaboration and emphasizes work visualization through boards and cards.
Waterfall methodology projects
The waterfall approach is considered in play for limited projects these days. Below we have pointed out a few of the project types that utilize this approach to create a seamless project phase.
- Payment gateways
- Stock trading
- Examination portals
- E-Commerce supply chains
- Anti-virus software
- Flight controls
- Manufacturing plants
- Construction zones
- Healthcare – Pharmaceuticals development
- Government projects
The waterfall model of project management has five distinctive phases which must be planned and executed carefully as each phase is a prerequisite for the next. Let’s get a walkthrough on what to expect in each phase.
The first phase prepares your project for the subsequent phases. Here, you assemble important information on the project through brainstorming sessions and interactive conversations.
The planning phase identifies specific deliverables needed throughout the project’s life and what it will take to produce them.
These should be queued up as the project proceeds throughout the phase. This allows the team to have a clear idea of which deliverables they’ll need to work on.
As this being the first step, make sure to put a sizable amount of time and effort to ensure you stay on the course and not go back on the drawing board.
The second phase establishes project specifications. Here is where you plan every action taken to deliver the project scope. This is also where you chalk out documents expected for the project timeline, budgets, etc.
Design is all about compressing the ideas and documenting the decisions from the first phase. It’s more of building a solid structure on the plan you laid out.
In this phase, you execute the plan and document. A bulk of the time will be spent in this phase. Similar to the last phase, document your activities. Keeping records for external and internal use is imperative as it can be of any use in future.
This phase is you looking for problems in the deliverable. From the minute detail left to major changes, this is the phase where you can filter out the entire task you just completed. If your original plan was intended well, you will face little to no buffer in this phase.
This phase focuses on the maintenance to tie up loose strings, issues or defects. You can optimize the process. This phase is also a learning phase for organizations as they can utilize the knowledge of what can be done and what can be avoided in future projects.
The nature of waterfall methodology may seem inflexible due to it being sequential. But these are the characteristics that provide charm to the project flow.
a) Speeds training time
New team members can utilize the documented listicles to speed up the learning process and hop on the project at the earliest. The documents can become an asset as they can answer any questions the newcomers may have to ask.
b) Retain knowledge within the organization
Documentation comes in handy with employee turnover. When experienced employees exit the organization, their knowledge is well documented so that the new batch can learn from it.
c) Easy project management
Waterfall methodology is straightforward, linear. The process is such that at any point during the project, you know exactly who is working on it and how much of it is completed.
d) Reduces time to complete projects
Every project you finish using the agile methodology further refines your project management process. This allows you to find a more convenient and easier way to finish similar tasks.
e) Makes project progress simple to measure
The methodology ensures all the elements of the project are well defined. You always know where you are in a project and how much you have covered up. This allows you to determine the path and go right back on the path.
f) Easy project vizualization
Clear measurements mean clear way pathing. And clear way pathing means quick manoeuvre of the project. Gnatt charts are frequently used to show the project status.
At times, waterfall methodology may sound restrictive for certain projects. It nonetheless can be a great way to keep a well-defined, predictable project from exceeding time and budget. Thus this methodology is widely used and beneficial to smaller and concise projects with specific budgets and timelines.