WaterFall Method

The waterfall model is a sequential design process, often used in software development processes, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of Conception, Initiation, Analysis, Design, Construction, Testing and Maintenance.

The waterfall development model originates in the manufacturing and construction industries: highly structured physical environments in which after-the-fact changes are prohibitively costly, if not impossible. Since no formal software development methodologies existed at the time, this hardware-oriented model was simply adapted for software development.

Many argue the waterfall model is a bad idea in practice—believing it impossible for any non-trivial project to finish a phase of a software product’s lifecycle perfectly before moving to the next phases and learning from them. For example, clients may not know exactly what requirements they need before reviewing a working prototype and commenting on it. They may change their requirements constantly. Designers and programmers may have little control over this. If clients change their requirements after the design is finalized, the design must be modified to accommodate the new requirements. This effectively means invalidating a good deal of working hours, which means increased cost, especially if a large amount of the project’s resources has already been invested in big design up front.

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~ by tltrinity on May 11, 2011.

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