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Development Tools Scrum Basics What is Agile? The Waterfall Model

Dillon Lee
Dillon Lee
1,458 Points

Should we even learn "The Waterfall Method?"

There are a variety of sources I've encountered that point to the Waterfall method as being inefficient relative to alternative models of project management.

Here's just one:


Is it really a good idea to teach something like this without a disclaimer in the very first video?

Greg Kitchin
Greg Kitchin
31,138 Points


I'm doing software engineering at university, and they cover a fair bit about legacy systems, which used the waterfall method. People used it to start off with, and some still do. Understanding that Agile is better than waterfall will be clearer with understanding the waterfall's failings.

Patrick Cherry
Patrick Cherry
Full Stack JavaScript Techdegree Student 1,290 Points

I agree with Greg Kitchin. I believe that it is worth learning to better understand it's inherit strengths and weaknesses. Like history, we are doomed to repeat it if we do not know it. When I was in college (before Agile was popular or largely known) we learned about "Death Marches" that could be a big problem when planning in the waterfall method.

I would also think, understanding the Waterfall method is important when hoping to teach, coach, or implement Scrum or other Agile methods. Many big institutions still practice Waterfall and don't even know it. Better to understand it if we hope to move toward a different understanding.

1 Answer

I agree that it is important to understand the Waterfall approach to learn from the past. Teams and Scrum Masters should also understand when it is best applied. If you are working on a project or problem that is not complex and the tasks do not change then the Waterfall approach may be suitable. You just work down the list of tasks to do. However, this is typically not the case in delivering a new product or solving a complex problem. If you need flexibility to adjust and adapt as you learn more throughout the project then Agile methodology would be a better option.