Waterfall vs the Scrum Method


When you’re looking to improve your company’s development process in order to increase speed and communication across teams, you have a number of options available. From Agile Methods to Waterfall methodology, each option will benefit your business in different ways. Today, we’ll take a look at the differences between Waterfall and Scrum methods.


What is Waterfall?

Waterfall is the most commonly utilized methodology for most software development projects. The linear cycle moves from one stage to the next, from the analysis of the project’s parameters to the release of a finished software program. The process is fixed; once one step is completed, the team cannot move back to a different step without starting the process over from the beginning. At each stage, the customer must review the product’s progress to determine if the team can move on to the next stage.


With Waterfall, each department acts independently. The developers finish working on the product before passing it to the program testers, and so on. This cuts down on the interdepartmental communication and places the emphasis on extensive documentation at each step of the development stage. Each department works to complete their own tasks before passing the product onto the next stage.


The Downsides of Waterfall

  • Changes cannot be made easily throughout the process. If a problem is discovered during the final testing phase, the entire process must start over from the beginning. This can significantly push the release date back.
  • Waterfall relies on communicating with the customer to get accurate parameters and requirements for the project. If the customer changes their mind, the process must start over again.


How is Scrum Different?

Scrum methodology adapts to change far more efficiently than the Waterfall method. Rather than following a linear process of software development, Scrum relies on communication between departments and breaks the development process down into smaller stages. At the end of each stage or Scrum Sprint, the program is considered releasable, at least in some form. While further Sprints will build upon the development of a more cohesive program, the customer is better able to see how their product is progressing after each stage.


Scrum methodology allows for changes to be made on the fly as requirements shift or are deemed unnecessary. Rather than relying on communication across teams and departments, each team is composed of individuals with different skill sets, allowing the production process to go faster without shifting a project back to a different department when problems arise. The open lines of communication in each team allow for faster work performance and reduces the amount of delays in the product release schedule.


The Downsides of Scrum

  • Since Scrum methodology is relatively new in software development projects, it can be difficult to implement. Often, teams are hesitant to try something new when they’ve settled into the same linear routine that’s worked for decades. Convincing them that they’ll benefit from a new workflow can be tricky, but it will pay off in the end.
  • Successful implementation of Scrum is best done when key managers are certified in their positions. The certification process is simple and takes only two days at Agile Strategic Solutions, but it is a step that shouldn’t be skipped.


Agile Strategic Solutions can help your business implement Scrum methods to improve your production schedule and work quality. Become a Certified Scrum Professional in our next session! Register today!