Agile/ Waterfall Hybrid: The Best Methodology for Software Development
Everyone wants to build a better mousetrap. In fact, progress is hinged upon humanity’s drive to improve, invent, and inspire. As the forerunner of this innovation, the IT sector prides itself on the consistent creation of more efficient and effective tools for all industries. So, what’s the best methodology for this development? The most popular software creation strategies include Waterfall and Agile– each with their advantages and drawbacks. Waterfall can be known as too strict, while the Agile method is criticized for its lack of definition. But what would happen if we created an Agile/Waterfall hybrid model?
This is exactly what WebCreek set out to discover: how can we channel the benefits of both Waterfall and Agile, to mitigate the disadvantages of each? And, after 20+ years of implemented experience, the Agile/Waterfall Hybrid has proven to be a tried and true methodology that creates big advantages for tech solution projects.
What is Waterfall software development?
The software development methodology known as Waterfall rides on well-defined steps, each dependent upon the previous. It is also known as the linear, or sequential, model, due to its meticulously-planned and executed order of actions.
The process often starts with gathering requirements, which then allow the prototyping and designing of UI interfaces. It is important to note that, after this step, clients are not able to add requirements nor request modifications to the project. With UI prototypes created, the designs can then be implemented in development environments, then tested, deployed to the client, and finally maintained as needed.
Waterfall has the advantage of being well-ordered from the get-go, avoiding confusion and changing expectations. Similarly, deadlines are seldom missed because the entire project timeline is structured like clockwork, without missing a beat.
On the other hand, Waterfall is considered the more traditional method, hindered by its rigidity. It is also slow to provide client deliverables and unwelcoming of client feedback during the stages of development. Any necessary project changes throw off the whole development groove, resulting in slow and costly pile-ups.
There is good reason why Waterfall methodology has long prevailed in software development. But its strict and closed-door process has likewise created difficulties that have given rise to an opposite strategic approach: Agile.
What is Agile software development?
Agile software development methodology is the opposite of Waterfall: built on flexibility, rather than structure. It focuses on the end-user’s satisfaction, working via an iterative approach to development. Here, each “iteration” refers to a small goal, a micro-deliverable, that represents only a chunk of the final product. Clients are updated after (and even during) each iteration, and have the ability to provide feedback and request minor changes in requirements.
Agile also builds its strategy on high-functioning teamwork and collaboration, with daily team “stand-up” meetings and weekly meetings with the client. Likewise, iterations are delivered quickly and efficiently, so that customers and stakeholders may provide instant feedback throughout the project.
While the model is efficient and flexible, and clients enjoy the benefits of providing requests throughout development, Agile tends to lack some needed structure and documentation. Teams can be overwhelmed by new incoming requirements, and can easily lose track of progress if not highly monitored by Project Leads. Also, without an overall structure from the start, timing and project deadlines can be vague and easy to mishandle.
Agile may mitigate the pitfalls classic to Waterfall methodology, but it comes with its own disadvantages that are not to be ignored.
Why combine Waterfall and Agile?
So, if Waterfall is too rigid and Agile too loose, does there exist a methodology that finds the happy medium? WebCreek believes that an Agile/Waterfall Hybrid achieves just this purpose: balancing the drawbacks of the two models, while highlighting the advantages of both.
WebCreek’s Agile/Waterfall Hybrid software development methodology works in iterations (Agile), following a general delineated structure (Waterfall). In other words, Waterfall provides the playbook that guides every Agile iteration, enabling both step-by-step flexibility and well-documented overall direction.
Clients receive fast deliverables and are fully involved in project development, with the ability to provide feedback and request changes in requirements. At the same time, all parties have a clear game-plan and can rely on the backbone of a standardized process. The hybrid avoids the rigid steps that end in expensive changes, but doesn’t go to the extreme of losing the roadmap that has proven so successful to project completion. WebCreek’s multiple decades of experience provide evidence that the model boosts efficiency and productivity.
In the words of WebCreek Technical Lead, Efrain Astudillo, “Our Waterfall/Agile Hybrid lets us adapt to any change while still progressing with the project, while importantly not losing sight of the formal process defined from the start.” He also highlights the methodology’s “adaptability to the client’s needs,” where “both parties are committed to giving results and deliverables at the end of every iteration.”
“Our Waterfall/Agile Hybrid lets us adapt to any change while still progressing with the project, while importantly not losing sight of the formal process defined from the start.”Efrain Astudillo
All software development methodologies have the goal of creating quality products as soon as possible. Waterfall has proven the quality while Agile provides the speed; together, they merge the best of both worlds.
To learn more about custom software development services with WebCreek, contact us.