Overview of the Waterfall Methodology

The Waterfall method (also known as “traditional”) is a rigid step-by-step approach to project management. Once you have completed each step within the project, you cannot go backwards. With waterfall, the entire project is planned at the beginning with each phase being given a fixed deadline. Each phase has a distinct goal.

The waterfall model derives its name from the cascading effect from one phase to the other as illustrated below. In this model each phase has a well defined start and end point, with identifiable deliverables from one phase being passed to the next phase before it can begin. Waterfall is a well documented method, with documentation being produced at every stage and it is also a very disciplined approach to a project. However, it is not suited to projects where the scope or product is vague and change control can be cumbersome and difficult.


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