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Scrum Vs. Waterfall: What is the Difference? by@maverickjones

Scrum Vs. Waterfall: What is the Difference?

Maverick Jones Hacker Noon profile picture

Maverick Jones

I’m a web developer. I spend my day experimenting with HTML,CSS, and JavaScript; dabbling with Python & Ruby.

In the last two decades, a lot of robust methodologies and frameworks for project management have established their roots deeply in the market. And to get effective collaboration and team management in the workplace, many Industries prefer methodologies to accomplish the project. 

However, having several methodologies as options makes the task hard, especially when each of them is unique in one way or the other. As, waterfall is well-defined with its structure, where Agile provides the best digital solution with the latest tools in various frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, Crystal, etc. 

So, based on these following factors, we have narrowed down the two utmost approachable methods for you; 1) Waterfall and 2) Scrum. 

  • Team expertise: With skilled experts working in phases to accomplish a project makes the development of the project easier 
  • Different type of application: Each phase in these models demands various latest application for the implication
  • Business needs: With proper documentation and organization, these methods fulfill all the business needs
  • Development timeframe: Because of the organized plan, you can estimate the delivery timeline of a project

In this blog post, we will explain the phases of Waterfall and Scrum software development methodologies along with the positive and negative aspects of these models and who are the users who trust these development methodologies. 

Waterfall “Traditional” Software Development Model:

The waterfall model is also known as a "Traditional model," this model is based on a linear and sequential approach to build software in the development life cycle.  

The father of Waterfall, Winston W. Royce decided to name it as Waterfall because the development of the model is systematic, where each phase has to be completed to jump in the next phase. 

This model is classified into five phases, and the output of one phase is input for another. So, the need for the first phase to be finished is necessary for proceeding the project further, also this way you'll easily dodge the overlapping, which often occurs in other methodologies.

The Sequential Phases of Waterfall:


Image Source: Wikimedia

1. Requirements: The first phase of the Waterfall requires an understanding of the elements of design, the functions, and the prime purpose to build the software. In this phase, you'll determine the outline of your final product with fundamental input.

2. Design: Once we're finished with the first phase with gathering all the requirements of the project, we can certainly jump into the second phase, where system design will take space. In this design, the specification of hardware, system requirements, and overall system architecture will be built by the professionals. 

3. Implementation: The inputs of system design will lead to creating small programs, which are known as units for the implantation of the product. These units are essential to integrate with the upcoming phase. Also, these units go through an extremely robust testing procedure to make the product more reliable. 

4. Verification: In this fourth phase, the integration of tested units in the implantation phase will take the place into the system as input. The software designed, goes through a constant software testing procedure to ascertain the flaws or errors. Verification of testing is necessary so after the completion of product clients shouldn't face any difficulties.

5. Maintenance: After going through all the phases, the waterfall takes care of maintaining the product after the installation as well. This step involves making necessary modifications to the system or a particular part of the product. The request for modification arises from the customer or the development team.

Positive Aspects of Waterfall:

  • The waterfall is the best choice for smaller projects; it works splendidly and generates the proper outcome.
  • Because one phase is completed one at a time, these phases become rigid and precise, making the task easy to maintain.
  • This methodology comprises the documentation orderly and provides access to team members for each document. 
  • This model showcases the mindset or the output of the project prior that puts the focus of team members on accomplishing the project quickly.

Negative Aspects of Waterfall:

  • The task of determining the time and cost for each phase is difficult 
  • The risk factor is higher for large projects
  • To modify into the mid-phase is impossible; you have to restart the whole process

Users of Waterfall: 

  • Construction companies
  • In the Military(the Defense)
  • Health public sector
  • Government contracting

Scrum Software Development Model: 

Scrum is a framework that helps a software development company to address complicated and adaptive problems while providing the highest gross value of a product to its clients.  

Scrum is one of the most appreciated frameworks for effective team collaboration on complicated software products. The Scrum solution consists of these factors for Scrum master to proceed with the product further:

Deciding the roles of team members

  • Organizing the Scrum Events
  • Artifacts
  • And the rules that gather all the elements 

The Phases of Scrum: 


Image Source: Diegocalvo

1. Product Backlog: To develop software using the Scrum model you need to first start with the creation of a product backlog. In Scrum, creating a product backlog defines an activity of preparing the list of features to implement through the development phases. The list is formed as per the priority of the clients, and each item on this list is a user story with a unique ID. 

2. Sprint Planning and Backlog creation: To proceed with this step, first you have to determine the Sprint duration. The ideal duration of Sprint is 2 to 4 weeks (15-30 days). It's the most popular time frame. And after that, the Sprint backlog will be created, which consists of user stories of the previous sprint.

3. Scrum Meetings: After choosing the actual user stories, the website development procedure starts. And to keep track of the working process, there are a lot of Scrum meetings. Also, in the big-cards, you can see the names of particular user stories and a package of little sticky notes with a classification of tasks for implementation of that story.

4. Testing and Product Demonstration: The prototypical result of every sprint is its working product, and the full life-cycle testing rule is necessary. For the testing and product demonstrations, you can use various ways, you can minimize the costs of the testing period. For instance, you can choose to decrease the overall amount of user stories that will minimize the possible bugs.

5. Review and Retrospect: This last phase of Scrum deals with reviewing the deliverables onward with the work accomplished to manage methods to improve the process involved in product development. It comprises these three processes:

  • Including convening Scrum of Scrums
  • Demonstrating and validating sprint
  • Retrospect sprint

Positive Aspects of Waterfall:

  • Scrum enhances productivity in complicated and innovative projects
  • With Scrum, you can do, efficient use of time and resources
  • It gives you faster completion of marketing projects compared to other models
  • Scrum processes are iterative and classified into specific work periods, which makes tasks much easier for defining functionalities

Negative Aspects of Scrum: 

  • To work on it, Scrum master requires skilled professionals
  • Sometimes the need for organizational transformation is necessary
  • Regular scrum meeting might frustrate the developers

Users of Scrum:

  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • Microsoft
  • Facebook
  • Adobe
  • Nokia, etc.

It’s time to Pick one:

Now that you know the essential factors of Waterfall and Scrum, it’s time to choose which approach is the most appropriate as per the nature of your project.

Whether it’s waterfall methodology or scrum, weighing the positive and negative aspects of both of the models you can determine the requirement of your project and —bam! You'll have the finest software development methodologies to succeed in your project.

Maverick Jones Hacker Noon profile picture
by Maverick Jones @maverickjones.I’m a web developer. I spend my day experimenting with HTML,CSS, and JavaScript; dabbling with Python & Ruby.
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