Product management methodologies decide how well you are prepared for piloting your product throughout its lifecycle (PLM). It is an elemental yet vital part of your planning for the launch of a product. Now we’ll look into details about each of the two product management models:
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Waterfall Model methodology is also known as Linear Sequential Life Cycle Model. This Model follows a sequential order, so the project development team only moves to the next phase of chrysalis if the previous step is completed successfully.
Some people state incorrectly that in the Waterfall model if an error is found in the later stages of a project, it will need to be scrapped and started again. Although this is not impossible, it would have to be a very significant issue to cause this level of impact. In reality, this will only occur if there is very poor control of a project. It is also not true that Waterfall projects never involve iterations or feedback — they certainly can but some project teams choose not to.
Advantages of Waterfall Model:
- It is one of the easiest models to manage. Because of its nature, each phase has specific deliverables and a review process.
- It works well for smaller size projects where requirements are easily understandable.
- On well-managed projects, waterfall may provide more confidence of what will finally be delivered earlier in the life-cycle.
- Where there are many interfaces and dependencies outside of the basic product development, waterfall projects tend to have the tools to model and manage these.
- Easily adaptable method for shifting teams.
- This project management methodology is beneficial to organize and manage dependencies.
Limitations of Waterfall Model:
- It is not an ideal model for a large size project
- If the requirement is not clear in the beginning, it is a less effective method.
- Communication can be a far higher risk — especially when there is limited early review of outputs and deliverables or when one-way methods of communication are used to convey requirements.
- The testing process starts once development is over. Hence, it has high chances of bugs to be found later in development where they are expensive to fix.
Waterfall methodology is a sequential design process and a Software development process which is divided into distinct phases. It is a structured software development methodology so most times it can be quite rigid as there is no scope of changing the requirements once the project development starts. All the project development phases like designing, development, testing, etc. are completed once in the Waterfall model.
Agile methodology is a practice that helps continuous evaluation of development and testing in the product development process. In this model, development and testing activities are concurrent, unlike the Waterfall model. This process allows more communication between customers, developers, managers, testers, and overall the whole team.
Agile encourages or requires frequent communication between developers and those who will ultimately accept and use the deliverable. This should pay major dividends when effective. For example, feedback can be incorporated into future iterations as increments are delivered and reviewed by users or a Product Owner or both. False assumptions made by developers can be recognized very early reducing impact. Agile gives us continual opportunities to learn via this feedback.
Advantages of Agile Model:
- When projects are genuinely new they usually require creativity. Requirements can then emerge as understanding matures and grows.
- The process is completely based on the incremental progress. Therefore, the client and team know exactly what is complete and what is not. This reduces risk in the development process.
- Collaboration is usually much higher with Agile. Although not guaranteed, this can result in more successful development environments, in terms of product quality (i.e. fit for purpose).
- Agile teams are extremely motivated and self-organized so they are likely to provide a better result from the development projects.
Limitations of the Agile Model:
- Agile is very intensive for both developers and users. There can be reasons that may prevent this for example if developers work on multiple projects at one time.
- In Agile there can be a great reluctance (by some) to adopt or accept deadlines. Projects don’t exist in isolation so when this happens it can be a real issue. Agile methods typically only address product development and large-scale projects can be made up of many other elements.
Agile itself is not a Product Management framework — it is a set of principles relating to product development, specifically producing software and it is not a “methodology”. We say “mainly software” as there are few types of projects outside of the software domain where the deliverable can truly be produced and accepted sequentially and incrementally or where requirements can evolve within the development phase. A phased delivery of any project does not mean it is Agile. It is simply a ‘phased delivery’.
So in a defined nutshell if we compare the pros and cons of both then we find out that, Agile methodology follows an iterative development approach because of this planning, development, prototyping and other software development phases may appear more than once. Whereas, Waterfall methodology is a sequential design process which is a structured software development methodology so most times it can be quite rigid as there is no scope of changing the requirements once the project development starts.