Waterfall Vs. Agile: Which Is the Best Choice For the Remote Tech Team?

The Covid-19 introduced remote working in the entire world. But outsourcing tech talent for software development projects has been a standard solution even before the pandemic.

However, there is one significant difference that the pandemic has brought upon remote working environments. Even a year ago, it was easy to manage tech projects and take care of the workflow when the tech team worked remotely. It’s because the remote software engineers would still work in an office and communicate with other team members and project managers daily. The only difference is that they would work in a different location from the rest of their team.

Now, most tech specialists worldwide work from home and offshore software development becomes an even more popular working model. Working together, meeting deadlines, and managing the whole process becomes more challenging.

Well, the best way to do so would be to choose an intelligent collaboration and management method for your remote team of developers. In this article, we will compare and contrast two popular project management methodologies – Waterfall vs. Agile – that are popularly used amongst tech teams worldwide. We are also going to explore which of these methodologies is better for remote teams.

Waterfall Project Management

Although the Waterfall methodology was initially developed for hardware manufacturing, it has proven to be one of the most consistently popular methodologies for software development projects.

This method is a progress-based method that develops sequential steps to complete a particular project. By using the Waterfall method, your team will see a project to completion in several different phases – starting from the ideation phase to the implementation and maintenance.

Pros of Waterfall Project Management

  • The Waterfall method is a good option for remote teams because of its insistence on clear documentation. Since communication is one of the major challenges of remote tech teams, documentation can go a long way in ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
  • The Waterfall method is easy for remote tech teams to follow because it lays down a straightforward and logical sequence for every project that the team undertakes.
  • Every member of the remote team must provide each other with status updates and reviews at the end of each phase.
  • The predictable timelines of this project management method make it extremely simple for the remote team to stay on top of deadlines and other requirements.

Cons of Waterfall Project Management

  • One of the biggest cons of Waterfall project management is that it is relatively inflexible compared to other methods. It means that the team can’t incorporate any changes to the project that might be necessary for the future.
  • The Waterfall method also does not involve enough client participation. It usually incorporates only two meetings with the client – one at the beginning of the project and the other at the end.
  • This project management method is also much slower in terms of delivery times. The team absolutely cannot move forward to the next phase without completing the previous one.
  • Mistakes and changes can prove to be a costly affair in projects that have been developed using the Waterfall method, mainly because they require the team to go back several steps to fix the problem.

Agile Project Management

The Agile approach is a popular choice for projects that do not require you to take a “stepped” method. Agile is a highly iterative method that uses short “bursts” or “sprints” to deliver different project sections. That is why this method is usually used for projects that do not need to be completed one item at a time.

Pros of Agile Project Management

  • Since Agile requires your remote team to work in short sprints, it is an excellent method for making rapid decisions.
  • This method is highly flexible, which means that you will be able to make additions to a project or changes in the future without too much trouble.
  • The Agile approach offers a great deal of speed in terms of delivery times.
  • Agile project management eliminates the need for long email communications and painful meetings. This method encourages remote teams to work in an environment conducive to trust and autonomy, which helps increase productivity in the long run.

Cons of Agile Project Management

  • Agile is not a complete methodology on its own, which means that it needs to be used as a supplement to another methodology.
  • The Agile project management approach requires close collaboration and teamwork, making it a little unsuitable for remote working environments. However, this can be overcome by establishing the right tools for the team.

Which Project Management Methodology Is Better for the Remote Tech Team?

Based on the difference between Agile and Waterfall, Agile is a more common project management approach adopted by development teams. It is based on conducting standup meetings and check-ins, it keeps everyone in the team on the same page and makes way for efficient collaboration.

Further, Agile, as the name states, is flexible. You don’t have to wait for the entire project to finish to determine if it is on track or not. You can gauge the direction a certain project is going in before it gets too late. This is also the reason that the Agile failure rate is 8% compared to 12% of Waterfall.

Wrapping Up

It’s never easy deciding which methodology your remote tech team should adopt for its software development projects. The Waterfall and the Agile methods are two of the most popular methodologies that software development teams use in remote working environments. However, when you outsource software development or work with a remote tech team, Agile is the most suitable choice to help your team in collaborating and finish the project efficiently.

Iryna Bilyk is an expert content marketing manager who works at YouTeam – a marketplace for instant engineering team extension. She passionately discovers and writes about technology, innovations, and software development solutions.

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