BSPOKE Software | Digital Transformation Partners

Custom software: agile vs. waterfall method

When planning your upcoming custom software project with our team, you might be wondering whether the agile or waterfall method would be best for the work. While agile is a good option for an hourly rate based project, waterfall is a good choice for a fixed quote project. So, in this article, we discuss agile vs. waterfall methodologies to help you understand which would be the best solution for your business.

What are the main differences between agile and waterfall?

Agile takes an incremental approach to your upcoming project, whereas waterfall follows a more linear approach. When we work on an agile project, it will be split into sprints. On the other hand, waterfall is split into phases. We generally find that agile is good for an hourly rate project, and it helps to complete small projects. For one large project, we’ll generally opt for waterfall when you are working with a fixed price and budget. Waterfall focuses on the successful delivery of your project, whereas agile wants to ensure we satisfy your customers with the end results. We’ll prepare the requirements at the very start of a waterfall project, whereas with agile, we prepare every day ahead of the work.

The good thing is that Agile allows you to make more changes as you go along. With waterfall, it can be much harder to make changes once the project begins. When discussing the methodology we are using, one area to consider is testing. Testing is performed concurrently alongside development within agile, but testing will take place after the build with waterfall. Agile doesn’t necessarily require a project manager, but you’ll find that waterfall is much more successful with this guidance. As you can see, the two methodologies work in different ways, which is why they are suitable for different projects. When a company approaches us with an idea for a project, we’ll work with them to choose the right option for their work.

What are the benefits of agile?

There are many benefits when it comes to agile. Generally, we find this is a faster life cycle option. It’s very predictable with its schedule, thanks to the sprints that each project is split into. You’ll find that customer satisfaction is typically much higher with this methodology. It focuses on their needs and is more flexible in making changes based on feedback and concerns from your customers. Our team usually feels incredibly empowered when working with agile. It encourages good communication between our team and yours and is ideal for projects which don’t have fixed funding. We can work with an hourly pay option to ensure that we stay on budget and with the proposed plans for your work.

What are the drawbacks of agile?

Of course, both of these options have some drawbacks, and agile is no exception to this. We find that agile requires more involvement from your team, which we understand not everyone has the time for. We’ll try to understand the requirements to the best of our ability at the start of the project, and that will help us to progress quickly through the work. When we require self-management from a team, it can also be more challenging to work with agile. You’ll find that there are sometimes delays without a strong project manager role. When changes do take place, you’ll see that this can sometimes increase the cost of agile. However, working with the hourly project rate, you’ll find that you have more control over this when comparing agile vs. waterfall.

What are the benefits of waterfall?

Now that we’ve discovered the pros and cons of agile, it’s time to review how waterfall can help you with your project. Waterfall offers a very simple approach to planning and design. We’ll agree on the deliverables at the beginning of the work. It uses a whole-system approach that will give us a clear idea of the scope of the work from day one. This makes it easier to give you a clear fixed price budget. Your company will be able to plan ahead for this expense and ensure it is aligned with your expectations.

When it comes to measuring progress, there are very clear measurements of success in waterfall. Our team has defined roles and will report back to you with progress as needed. We have all of the resources that are needed to ensure we are successful with your work. You’ll find this is a great option for a single, large project which requires months of work from our team.

What are the drawbacks of waterfall?

Waterfall brings with it a few drawbacks as well. It has quite a rigid structure, which means it can be more challenging to allow changes. There’s no chance of uncertainty in this project, so we will need to work with you to have a good idea of the work at the start of the project. One thing to consider is that sometimes waterfall involves less customer engagement. This can result in poor customer satisfaction, but we’ll do our best to overcome this issue. If the project has an end result that’s a long time away, this approach is not always the top option. With the testing at the very end of the project, you’ll find that when comparing agile vs. waterfall, this is one of the biggest weaknesses of this methodology.

Final Thoughts on Agile vs Waterfall Methodologies

As you can see, there’s a lot to keep in mind when considering agile vs. waterfall and which would be best for your company. We recommend discussing with BSPOKE Software the requirements of your project. We often pick a methodology based on whether you are using a fixed rate or hourly model. You’ll find that custom software is an incredible addition to any business, and we’ll find the best way to create this for you this year. Contact us today for more information about agile vs. waterfall and how they will work in your next project. We’ll be happy to share with you how custom software can help your business to grow and thrive.

BSPOKE Software - Graphic showing bespoke software developers discussing whether agile vs waterfall for a custom software project
BSPOKE Software - Graphic showing bespoke software developers discussing whether agile vs waterfall for a custom software project

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