What is Waterfall Model?

The waterfall software development life cycle is a linear and sequential approach to software development. It follows a specific sequence where each phase must be completed before the next phase begins. This model is widely used in software engineering projects as it provides structure and clarity throughout the development process.

The waterfall model is a sequential approach to system development life cycle, which emphasizes on completing each phase before moving onto the next. This methodology has been around for decades and remains one of the most used models in software engineering. Each phase in the waterfall model has unique goals and objectives that must be completed before moving onto the next.

The system development life cycle waterfall model consists of five phases:

  1. Requirements analysis: In the requirements analysis phase, the project objectives are defined and documented. Once this phase will be completed, design phase will begin.
  2. Design: The design phase involves creating a detailed plan for how the system will meet those objectives. After completion of this phase, implementation will start.
  3. Implementation: Then comes implementation where developers write code based on the design specifications.  
  4. Testing: Testing is done to ensure that all requirements have been met and there are no bugs or errors in the code.
  5. Deployment & Maintenance: Finally, during maintenance, any issues that arise after deployment can be addressed.

Advantages of Waterfall Model

  1. One advantage of using the waterfall model is that it provides structured and clear understanding of project requirements, since each stage has specific deliverables that must be met.
  2. Additionally, it requires less involvement from stakeholders since requirements are defined upfront, reducing changes during development phases.
  3. Another benefit of using this approach is its simplicity- it’s easy to understand and implement for even those with little experience in software development.
  4. One of the advantages of using the waterfall model is that it provides clear documentation throughout the project lifecycle. This makes it easier to track progress and ensure consistency across different teams involved in a large-scale project.
  5. Additionally, because each phase must be completed before moving on to the next one, stakeholders can have greater visibility into the status of a project at any given point.

Disadvantages of Waterfall Model

Despite its popularity among developers and project managers over the years, it poses some serious disadvantages.

  1. One of the main drawbacks of the waterfall system development life cycle is its rigidity. The different stages are executed sequentially with no room for flexibility or change once they have been completed. This means that if any issues arise at a later stage that require changes to be made to an earlier phase in the lifecycle; this could lead to significant rework and delays.
  2. Another disadvantage of using the waterfall model is reduced collaboration between teams. Since each phase has its own team working on it independently before handing off their work to the next team, it becomes difficult for teams to communicate effectively and ensure everyone understands what needs to be done.
  3. Finally, another significant drawback of using this method is that there is no scope for risk assessment until later stages in the project’s lifecycle which leads to increased uncertainty in terms of successfully delivering projects within time frames and budgets.

When to Use the Waterfall Model

The Waterfall model is best used when the project requirements are clearly understood and won’t change during the development cycle. It is also well-suited for projects where there is a need for a predictable timeline, such as the development of software with hard deadlines.

However, it is not recommended for projects that involve complex requirements or are subject to changing customer needs. In these cases, an Agile methodology may be more suitable.

Even though there are benefits to using this approach, it may not be suitable for all projects. For example, if requirements are likely to change frequently or if there is tight time-to-market pressure involved with delivering a product or service quickly then another methodology like Agile may be more appropriate than Waterfall.

Ultimately choosing which methodology will work best depends on factors such as team size and expertise as well as customer needs and expectations.

Waterfall vs. Iterative Process

The Waterfall model is a linear and sequential approach to software development that follows a rigid process consisting of several phases. Each phase must be completed before moving on to the next one, meaning that there is no chance for revision or changes once a phase has been completed.

On the other hand, iterative processes are less structured than Waterfall models and allow for more flexibility throughout the software development lifecycle. Iterative processes involve breaking down projects into smaller chunks called iterations or sprints that can be worked on individually. Each iteration involves planning, designing, building, testing and evaluating which may result in multiple builds being made before finalizing a product.

While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages in different contexts and situations; it’s important to understand which method will work best for your project needs. Ultimately it’s up to you as developers or tech leads to make an informed decision about what approach suits your team’s skills and strengths best!

Why Waterfall Continues to be Used

Even though the Agile Methodology has gained immense popularity due to its flexibility and adaptability to changes in requirements during the software development life cycle (SDLC), the Waterfall Model continues to be used.

One of the main reasons for this is its simplicity. The rigid structure of the Waterfall Model makes it easy to understand by both developers and stakeholders. Moreover, it provides a clear roadmap for each phase of SDLC which helps in estimating project timelines and costs accurately. Additionally, since each phase is completed before moving on to the next one, there are fewer chances of errors or miscommunication between team members.

Another reason why Waterfall continues to be used is because it is suitable for projects with well-defined requirements where change management would not be an issue. For instance, industries such as healthcare or finance that require regulatory compliance prefer using Waterfall as they need precise documentation at every stage of SDLC. In conclusion, while Agile has become increasingly popular over time due to its flexibility; however, when dealing with specific types of projects such as those requiring regulatory compliance or where changes are unlikely to occur after requirement gathering phase – then waterfall model still proves useful today!


While this method has its advantages such as clear documentation and well-defined milestones, it does have limitations as changes made after a certain phase can be costly and time-consuming to implement. Despite these limitations and drawback, many organizations still choose to use this model due to its structured approach which minimizes risk by ensuring that each step of the process is fully completed before moving on to subsequent stages.