Waterfall vs Agile vs V-shaped project management model

Waterfall vs Agile vs V-shaped project management model

Both the terms Agile and Waterfall are ways to organize project development work. They can also be defined as ways of project management or specific approaches.

These are the two most basic project development methodologies.
I would say that both are applicable, but both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Waterfall methodology, I consider a consistent approach to development. It separates the whole process into definite stages, each of which is simultaneously connected with the next, but there is also a certain strict sequence of action.

This project development methodology, on the one hand, offers a clear agreement between the client and the service provider from the very beginning of the project life cycle. Reference: “Waterfall vs V-Model vs Scrum vs Kanban”, https://newia.info/waterfall-vs-v-model-vs-scrum-vs-kanban/

This is a prerequisite for faster work since the project is described in full in advance between the customer and the supplier-contract are all the requirements of the customer. In my opinion, however, this can be both a positive side and a negative side, because the coordination of the requirements and views of the clients in connection with the vision and development of the project is not always clean and clear.

Not every client can coordinate a vision of the desired project with the needs for its development. On the one hand, this can be a very efficient way of working, which leads to faster implementation of the project, but also customer dissatisfaction with the delivered product, because they only show a vision and can not see what will be the final product until the very end.

Agile methodology

On the other hand, the Agile methodology divides the work into stages that have a specific deadline for implementation with clearly defined objectives. In case there is a delay in any of the stages, the work is prioritized and reorganized as the ultimate goal is the delivered product and information retrieval based on process analysis for future projects. Waterfall: The Difference Between Methodologies”, 2020 BUSINESSPAD.ORG, author: Samantha Rhine, https://www.businesspad.org/agile-vs-waterfall-difference-between-methodologies/

One of the main differences with the first approach is that customers have a periodic review of the process, this allows changes in the work process to meet its needs. In my opinion, this gives the customer more peace of mind for the development of his product. Of course, this can be seen as a negative side of this method, because it can lead to delays in the work of too frequent changes in customer requirements and new proposals and desires. This can lead to the inclusion in the project of new stages and a complete reorganization of the work.
In connection with our work, I do not think it is necessary to adhere strictly to a specific method of project management. I believe that customer participation at the beginning of the process is mandatory, but it is also necessary to periodically coordinate the product. I believe that the Agile methodology is suitable for our organization because it implies faster and more efficient product production and greater customer satisfaction, which is our main goal. Reference: “Waterfall and Incremental model in project management”, (2019 Wikipedia Lab), https://wikipedia-lab.org/waterfall-and-incremental-model-in-project-management/

The waterfall model is the earliest methodology developed for project management to build software products.

The Waterfall methodology is characterized by the fact that the activities take place in a process in which the phases of software development follow a specific order, which can generally be described as follows:

Scheme of a waterfall model for the management of IT projects

  • 1. Requirements specification (Requirements analysis)
  • 2. Software design (Software architecture)
  • 3. Implementation and integration
  • 4. Testing (Validation)
  • 5. Implementation (Installation)
  • 6. Support.

The processes in the waterfall model are linear and sequential. The progress of the software project is seen as constantly flowing down (like a waterfall) phases of software implementation. This means that each of the stages in the development process begins only when the previous phase is completely completed. In strict compliance with the methodology, return to the previous phase of product modification due to a change in requirements is not allowed.

When to use Waterfall?

It is most commonly used in software development where changing requirements and scope is unlikely and not critical. Reference: “Agile vs Waterfall management methodology”, https://www.kosovatimes.net/agile-vs-waterfall-management-methodology/

Advantages of Waterfall Project Management

– the principles of operation of the model can be easily explained to the user;

– has a well-structured approach to development;

– the different stages and the activities in them are precisely defined; Reference: “Waterfall or Agile? What methodology to choose for your project?”, https://pm.mba/posts/waterfall-vs-agile/

– planning the project and its implementation on schedule is easier;

– testing at each stage ensures the early detection of errors, as well as avoiding deviations from the scope of the project due to misunderstanding of a certain part of the client’s requirements;

– concrete results can be seen in each phase.

Disadvantages of Waterfall Project Management

– based on the presumption that the system is “frozen” and the requirements and wishes of the customer will not change, which is difficult to achieve in the real world; Reference: “Agile vs Waterfall Project Management”, https://agileprojectmanagement.home.blog/2020/09/01/agile-vs-waterfall-project-management/

– it is extremely difficult to return the team to a previous stage, which has already been completed;

– there is too little flexibility in regulating the scope of the project and any change to it is time-consuming and expensive.

V-shaped project management model

V-shaped project management model for SDLC is an extended version of the Waterfall method, but instead of the software development process moving linearly downwards, after the development phase, the processes are “curved” upwards, thus the graph acquires the characteristic of the V model. -shaped shape. Reference: “Agile, Scrum and Waterfall project management”, https://ossalumni.org/agile-scrum-and-waterfall-project-management/

The V-model emphasizes the relationships between the various phases of the software development lifecycle and how they relate to testing. The horizontal axis represents the time or degree of readiness of the project (left-right), and the vertical – the levels of abstraction.

The main difference between the V-shaped and the Waterfall model is the early planning of testing in the first. Reference: http://teachers.wikidot.com/agile-versus-waterfall-project-management

Use of the V-shaped model

This software development model is used when the following conditions are met:

– known and clearly defined software requirements.

– The team is well acquainted with the technologies and tools used in software development.

Advantages and disadvantages of the V-shaped model
– The methodology is simple and easy to apply.

– After each phase, there are expectations for concrete results, which makes development easy to follow

– The software project has a better chance of success compared to the Waterfall model, which is due to the preparation of test plans at the beginning of each day during the life cycle of software development. Combined with easy-to-understand requirements, this leads to good results.


– Insufficiently flexible, similar to the Waterfall model. Reference: “Comparison of Agile, Scrum and Waterfall project management”, https://eduwiki.me/comparison-of-agile-scrum-and-waterall-project-management/

– Low flexibility leads to difficult and expensive adaptation to changes in the scope of the project.

– The software is developed during the implementation phase, which means that there is no way to produce preliminary prototypes of the software product.

– The model does not allow for quick and easy elimination of the problems found during the testing and quality analysis phases. Reference: “Waterfall vs Agile Project Management”, https://projectmanagers.joomla.com/12-waterfall-vs-agile-project-management.html


“Waterfall Project Management or Agile Methodologies: What to Choose?” 2021, https://scrummastertraining2021.wordpress.com/2021/01/18/waterfall-project-management-or-agile-methodologies-what-to-choose/

“Waterfall and Agile project management”, 2021, https://scrumandagiletraining.wordpress.com/2021/01/10/waterfall-and-agile-project-management/

“Agile methodologies” by Liam James, 2020, https://agileprojectmanagers.blogspot.com/2020/04/agile-methodologies.html


The methodology of this model, which is also known as the sequential linear life cycle model. The waterfall model follows in sequential order, so the project development team only moves on to the next phase… https://phron.org/waterfall-and-agile-project-management/


Agile Project Management includes different subjects and many Agile and Scrum practices as well, but we will discuss here several major topics… https://agileprogramming.org/agile-project-management/

A few words in conclusion

The waterfall model is a methodology in which software product development is expensive and time-consuming. On the other hand, the finished software has detailed documentation and each element of it corresponds to the client’s task and is tested in detail.

Perhaps one of the best applications of this model is the development of software for institutions and organizations that do not have major and important last-minute changes.

The V-model is an expensive and time-consuming process, which, however, begins with a detailed plan and ends with clear and complete documentation of the project and the software product.

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George Brown

George Brown is a lecturer in project management and Agile practices and is the author of the articles on this educational website.

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