The waterfall model is used in software project management. Team members need to comprehend and perform their roles in a software project for it to be a success. Let's understand how the waterfall model helps in software development projects. 

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What Is the Waterfall Model?

The Waterfall model depicts the software development procedure in a linear and sequential flow. As a result, it is also comprehended as a linear-sequence life cycle model, signifying that any development cycle phase can begin after the initial one has been completed. The steps always finished in this ranking, with no overlap. Before proceeding to the next stage, the developer must meet the current one. The model is named a Waterfall as it progresses logically from one stage to the next.

When to Use SDLC Waterfall Model?

The Waterfall model is best suited in the following situations:

  • When the requirements are steady and do not change frequently
  • When a project is brief
  • When the environment is calm
  • When the tools and techniques utilized are consistent and do not change
  • When resources are adequately prepared and ready to use

Phases of Waterfall Model

Feasibility Study

This phase establishes whether developing the program is financially and technically possible.

The feasibility study analyzes the problem and determines the many feasible solutions. These several recognized alternatives are examined based on their benefits and downsides. The best answer is selected, and all subsequent phases follow this solution plan.

Requirements Analysis and Specification

The requirement analysis and specification phase aims to understand and accurately document the customer's requirements.

Design

This phase's purpose is to translate the requirements obtained from the SRS into a format that can be programmed. It consists of both high-level and detailed design, as well as overall software architecture. A Software Design Document employed (SDD) to document all of this work.

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Coding and Unit Testing

The software design is converted into source code using any appropriate programming language during the coding step. As a result, each designed module is coded. The unit testing step aims to determine whether or not each module is functioning correctly.

Integration and System Testing

Integration of various modules occurs after they have been coded and unit-tested. The integration of several modules is done sequentially in a series of steps. Previously planned modules get added to the partially integrated system during each integration stage, and the resulting system gets tested. Finally, the whole functional system gets obtained and tested after all modules have been adequately merged and tested.

Maintenance

The most crucial phase of a software's life cycle is maintenance. Maintenance accounts for 60% of the overall effort required to construct a complete product.

Waterfall Model – Application

Every piece of software created is unique and necessitates a unique SDLC strategy depending on internal and external considerations. The Waterfall methodology is most appropriate in the following situations:

  • The requirements get correctly stated, unambiguous, and consistent
  • The product definition is consistent
  • Technology is well understood and static
  • There are no ambiguities in the set requirements
  • Resources required to support the project must be available 
  • The project is brief. 

Advantages of Waterfall Model

For software development, the traditional Waterfall paradigm is an idealized concept. Because it is so simple, it can serve as the foundation for different software development life cycle models. Here are the benefits of SDLC model:

  1. This model is straightforward
  2. In this architecture, phases are handled one at a time
  3. The model's stages are well specified
  4. The milestones in this paradigm are very obvious and well-understood
  5. The process, actions, and outcomes are meticulously documented
  6. It encourages good behaviors such as define-before-design and design-before-code
  7. This paradigm works best for smaller projects and projects with well-defined criteria

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Disadvantages of Waterfall Model

The classical waterfall model has several flaws; thus, you can only apply it in practical projects. Instead, you utilize different software development lifecycle models based on the classical Waterfall model. The following are some of the model's key drawbacks:

  1. Software is developed late in the life cycle. 
  2. Uncertainty is constant throughout the project 
  3. Not suitable for complex, object-oriented programs
  4. Poor model for long-term projects
  5. Not ideal for projects with a moderate to high risk of changing needs. 
  6. Measuring development within stages takes a lot of work.
  7. Need to accommodate changing conditions.
  8. You cannot change the scope of the project during its life cycle. 

FAQs

1. What are the problems faced in the Waterfall model?

This traditional model has several flaws. Real-world projects can only partially implement it. The most severe issue is that you can only proceed to the following steps once the previous one is completed, which means there may be no intermediate checks. Change is difficult to accommodate. It also lacks a feedback path because there is no opportunity for error correction in between.

2. Why is the Waterfall model best?

As previously said, the Waterfall paradigm provides advantages or works best in some instances. When the requirements are well-defined and immutable, the technology is well-known and well-understood, the project is short, and the risk is either minimal or negligible, these are the scenarios to consider.

It is ideal for these situations because it is simple to understand and apply. It's easy to use. Tasks get easily organized. The procedure and outcomes are meticulously documented as part of this paradigm. This method assumes that all customer requirements can get fully and correctly established at the beginning of the project, yet customer requirements change throughout time.

3. When is Waterfall better than Agile?

Waterfall and Agile are two well-known software engineering models. Each has advantages in various situations, and the Waterfall model best suits projects with defined deadlines and deliverables. The Waterfall technique is best if your key project constraints are appropriately known and documented.

4. Can you mix Agile and Waterfall?

Yes, you can obtain the best of both worlds in the following scenarios:

  • Use the Agile technique for requirements, design, and implementation at the enterprise level, while the Waterfall method gets used for needs, design, and performance.
  • Use the Waterfall technique for projects and companies and the Agile methodology for individual teams.
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