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Are there any alternatives to Agile software delivery?

Why of course!

Before the Agile framework came about, companies used more traditional methods to manage their projects. These days, although it is almost uncommon for software development companies or any IT related companies to not use the Agile methodology, there are still groups and organisations that use either the traditional method or some other project management techniques and tools to achieve the utmost productivity and eventually, success in their projects.

And although Agile has been one of the leading project management techniques over the last few decades, it might not always work for a team or an organization for a variety of reasons. This leads to organisations to venture into other methods of project management that will suit their needs best.

In this article, we will discuss our two best Agile alternatives.

Spiral Development

The Spiral Model is one of the most used methods lately. It is actually a combination of both the waterfall method and the iterative method. Each period in the spiral model starts with a design objective and ends with the client assessing the progress. The spiral model or method was first cited by Barry Boehm in his 1986 paper, a few years before the Agile framework took the world by storm in the early 90’s.

The Spiral model development team usually starts with a small set of requirements and goes through each development period for those set of requirements. The software engineering department or team then adds the functionality for the additional requirement in every developing spiral up until the application is perfectly ready for the production period.

When to use Spiral Methodology

The Spiral model is best used when the project is large, when it requires frequent releases, when it is applicable to create a prototype or when the risk and costs evaluation is of utmost importance.

It can also be used when the requirements are complex and unclear, when a project requires constant changes at any time, and when a long-term project is not feasible because of changes in terms of economic priorities.

Advantages of Spiral Development
  • Extra functionality or further changes can be done at a much later stage in the project.
  • The prototype building is usually done in smaller fragments, so it is cost-efficient.
  • Due to its unceasing or repeated development, it can help the team in risk management.
  • Additionally, since the development flow is quick, features are added in an orderly way.
  • Spiral development always leaves ample space for customer feedback.
Disadvantages of Spiral Development
  • There are risks of not meeting the schedule or exceeding the budget.
  • It demands risk assessment expertise since it works best for large projects only.
  • The Spiral model protocol needs to be strictly followed for a smoother development operation.
  • Since it has intermediate periods, it requires more documentation.
  • It will cost smaller projects a lot more than it would cost a bigger project.


Waterfall Method

The Waterfall Method is one of the most well-known project management methods next to Agile. The Waterfall method for project management is simply a chronological, direct process of project management. It consists of numerous distinct periods where no period begins until the previous period is completed. Additionally, each period’s completion is fatal—the waterfall method of project management does not really allow a team to return to a previous period. In fact, the only way to go back to a certain period is to start over again down at the very first period.

It may sound very strict, but that is because the entire system’s history demands it to be as such. The waterfall project management method is actually rooted from non-software industries such as manufacturing and construction as opposed to Agile. Due to this, the waterfall method rose out of inevitability.

In the mentioned fields, project periods must occur consecutively. One cannot simply put up a drywall if one has not previously framed a house, right? Similarly, it is almost impossible to revisit a certain period in the project.

In this case, as you can imagine, the waterfall method strictly requires proper and clear planning. Having said that, the project’s requirements must always be clear from the very beginning. Additionally, everyone who is involved in a project must also be well-aware of those requirements. Each member of the team should also be able to understand what their specific role will be in the project, and what exactly that role entails.

When to use the waterfall model?

The waterfall method is only used when the requirements are very well-established, clear, and fixed. Additionally, the product description should also be stable, and the technology is well-understood. In the waterfall method, there should be no ambiguous or vague requirements, and there should always be ample resources along with required expertise.

You team or organisation can also make use of the waterfall method if it is only for a short project. Additionally, in the waterfall model, there will be less customer interaction involved during the product development. It is only when the product is ready that it can be shown and demonstrated to the end users.

Advantages of waterfall model
  • Compared to other methods, the waterfall model is far simpler and easier to understand and use.
  • It is also easier to manage because of the inflexibility of the model – each period has a specific set of deliverables and a separate evaluation process.
  • In the waterfall model, periods are administered and completed one at a time. Periods do not overlap at all.
  • The waterfall model works really well for much smaller projects where the set of requirements are clearly defined and are very well understood by the rest of the team.
Disadvantages of waterfall model
  • Due to its strictness and simplicity, there are no do-overs. It is very difficult to go back to other periods once an application is already in the testing stage.
  • There will be no working software to be produced until in the latter part of the project cycle.
  • There are high amounts of risks and uncertainties.
  • It is not really a good model to use for intricate and object-oriented projects.

It is not exactly suitable for projects wherein the requirements are constantly changing.

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