Talk about waterfall techniques and you will inevitably encounter agile development techniques at some point. The two are entirely at odds with each other, with agile development being the natural evolution of waterfall. There are a surprising number of companies still using waterfall techniques, and many of them don’t even know it.
In a study, 75% of failed software products used waterfall techniques in their development. This guide is going to show you some of the reasons why waterfall techniques are taking away from the performance of your business.
How Do Waterfall Techniques Differ from Agile Development?
To start with, waterfall techniques and agile development all refer to the same process of going from concept to testing. The difference is in how these processes are performed.
Waterfall theory sees these processes as separate processes that follow one after the other. Testing is always the final process.
Agile development, on the other hand, makes these processes continuous. At all times testing and development will be happening at the same time. This is a subtle but significant difference. If you have not yet adopted agile, you are not fulfilling your potential as a company.
Running Out of Money
The worst case scenario is that with waterfall techniques you run out of money during development. Thankfully, most companies make sure this never happens, but many of them find themselves running low on funds as they get to the testing stage.
It’s often the case where they reach the testing stage only to realize that they only have a small part of the overall budget left. This leads to scrimping on testing, or being forced to ask for more money from investors.
With agile, this could have been averted because testing is always happening and it’s easier to foresee the costs of each part of the process.
Releasing Inferior Quality Products
With most product lines, updated versions are released over time. This is standard practice, but it only ever happens for two reasons and it usually boils down to whether you are using waterfall or not.
Due to the aforementioned issues with time and budget, a product is sometimes released with flaws and deficiencies in order to avoid upsetting clients with additional delays. This is because testing happens at the end, so if there are any problems it’s necessary to go all the way back to the start.
On the other hand, with agile a product has the vast majority of its mistakes ironed out prior to the deadline coming around. The reason why additional versions appear of a product is because the new version is genuinely better.
Keeping the Customer at Arm’s Length
Customers are more intelligent than ever before. They are well aware of what they are doing and what they want. It’s shown by the fact that many companies are inviting customers to join in with the development processes. They want daily updates and they want to be able to change their minds when they please.
Agile is perfect for this because all processes are continuous. There’s an invitation to put forward opinions and make changes as and when new challenges appear.
Waterfall does the exact opposite. If you make any changes to a product or a request has to be welcomed, the whole development process has to start again. This increases the amount of money spent on an order and it increases the time taken to actually get to the testing process.
By adopting agile you are inviting your customers to play a proactive role in the process, and that’s a big attraction when competing with other businesses in your sector.
A Lack of Integration
Teams are coming together. For example, social media, sales, and SEO have combined into one in recent years because this is how to get the most out of them. Waterfall implies a lack of integration. Every team is separate and comes into the process one after the other.
The only way for agile development to work is to make sure everyone is working together at the same time. They need to collaborate or it simply can’t work.
Stuck in the Past
To conclude, waterfall techniques are a dying art. They are an example of the past. It’s no longer possible to use them and still stay ahead of the competition. It’s inefficient and agile allows customers to get a better quality of service. It’s that simple.
So how will you go about adopting agile in your company?