Is Waterfall Project Management Still Relevant in 2020?

With so many project management methodologies to use, you might be wondering if waterfall project management is still relevant in 2020. Since the 70s, this traditional project management has a long track record of success. So, let’s take a closer look.

What Is Waterfall Project Management?

Waterfall project management runs projects in a step-by-step, linear process. One phase follows the next. The phases are planned before the project begins, and everything is completed in a logical order.

All requirements are defined before the project starts, usually by the client. Once a phase is finished, the next stage begins. Each step leads to the next, like a waterfall.

What Are the Benefits of Using Waterfall Project Management?

The simple and logical nature of the waterfall methodology allows you to carefully plan your projects in advance. You can decide on the work that needs to be done, timelines, budgets, and more, before ever hiring any developers or giving the go-ahead to your team.

Once a project has started, you can monitor all these variables as you move through each phase. If the project isn’t going as planned, you will quickly see where the gaps are and can take action to fix them. A successful waterfall project flows through each phase to deliver a final product or service—on time and within budget.

Related Content: The Time Tested Waterfall Model and Why It's so Great

What Are the Challenges of Waterfall Project Management?

If you aren’t clear about what you want from the project, you’re more likely to encounter problems. This is because everything is planned and agreed upon in advance, so it’s difficult to make changes as the project progresses. You also won’t see any working product or software in action until some time has passed. It may be too late to make changes without impacting your timeline and budget.

If time is limited and you have a big project to run, opt for another project management method. A waterfall-based project takes longer to deliver because each phase follows the next (phases cannot run at the same time).

If something delays or stops one phase, your entire project goes on hold until you fix the issue. And running behind schedule, or racing to meet a deadline, might put undue pressure on resources to cut corners.

Should You Still Use Waterfall Project Management in 2020?

With so many project management options, should you still use a waterfall approach to run projects nowadays? The answer is yes, under certain circumstances.

You should use a waterfall project management approach when:
  • The project requirements are clearly defined and probably won’t change
  • You have set dates to begin and close the project
  • The project is simple and has a brief time frame
  • The client doesn’t want to be involved in every phase
  • Resources are available to develop the product and can be managed to meet important deadlines
  • Products are for an established and stable system, not a dynamic and changing environment

Waterfall Project Management in 2020

There are a lot of reasons why the classic waterfall stands the test of time. If you want to learn more about how you can jumpstart your project, Bydrec is the company to call. Reach out to us at 888-203-213 for more information!

Topics: waterfall approach, project management