Agile and traditional project management schemes both have their advantages and disadvantages. Deciding which is best will depend on the necessitated structure of the project at hand, and an initial analysis of the project should be done to determine which system is best.

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The Agile Method
The Agile methodology handles the software development and testing procedures concurrently, unlike the waterfall method. Because the development and testing procedures occur simultaneously, more communication happens between clienteles, designers, supervisors, and testers; in other words, the client is included during every step of development. Moreover, mistakes are caught quickly because the design process is based on incremental development; and both the Agile team and customer stay up to date on the development process. The test plan is often reviewed many times throughout the project, and the test team can easily be included throughout the design processes. Because of the inclusive development process, the Agile project management team usually maintains strict self-organization, and thus provide a final project that meets the customers’ demands (“Waterfall Vs. Agile: Must Know Differences,” 2019).

Because of the incremental process, the Agile method may be too much for small projects, consisting of many small projects [called sprints] on its own. Also, the Agile method necessitates the expertise of a leader who can guide meetings and help the team agree on final decisions; and if the project manager fails to communicate clearly, then the whole project can fall apart. Because of the intricate design process, the cost of an Agile project management method can be more costly than the waterfall method.

The Waterfall Method
The waterfall method is known as one of the easiest models to manage because of its step-by-step deliverability; unlike the incremental process behind the Agile method, the waterfall method follows a linear development in which all the developmental steps are completed in one cycle (MKSO75, n.d.). The method is ideal for smaller projects where the expectations are easily understood, and this method usually makes for a quick project with fast delivery; the development and outcomes are clearly recorded and works well for fluctuating teams because it is provides detailed instruction for new arrivals (“Waterfall Vs. Agile: Must Know Differences,” 2019).

The waterfall method is not ideal for large projects because of single-cycle processing, which serves as a limitation in other areas as well. The project idea must be conveyed clearly from the beginning because it is harder to go back and change developmental factors. Unlike the Agile method that has built-in checkpoints, the testing procedure in the waterfall method begins after the developmental process is done; therefore, the waterfall team is more likely to discover mistakes later in the developmental process, which can be highly expensive to fix. The focus of the waterfall methods seems less about the customer’s satisfaction with the final product and more about getting the project done; and a project manager is essential to make sure every linear step is carried out precisely as planned (“Waterfall Vs. Agile: Must Know Differences,” 2019).

Major conclusions: A closer look
It is important to note that planning does occur in the Agile project management, but as the development itself, it is a repetitive process that takes place in sprints. At the beginning of each sprint, a detailed plan is drafted for that sprint. Unlike within the waterfall method, there are no plans presented at project initiation because of the incremental process, but the amount of details presented matches each corresponding iteration. For example, only high-level information is proposed for each feature during the initial development, but detailed plans are presented during the more detailed iterations that revolve around particular features (Tarne, 2002).

Another fact to consider about the Agile project management is that it does require a project manager, but the definition imposed upon the role is vastly different than the waterfall method. For the Agile project manager, there is less focus of management actions, such as financing and preparation; more focus is put on leading the team. In other words, the project manager must emphasize the project vision, teamwork, and problem solving (Tarne, 2002).

As expected, the waterfall method is defined by its attention to detail from start-to-finish. The processes can be bundled in a project management handbook, such as A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide® ), or might be contained in a series of webpages with links to various procedures. These guidelines provide step-by-step details for how to carry out a specific duty. Such guides are very helpful to the new person and would assist them in understanding the details of an assignment, such as drafting the project schedule (Tarne, 2002).

Such information might be contained in several forms. Templates are forms used to record important material, such schedules and status reports. Project managers acquainted with the procedure can immediately consult the template if they need more information on directing the project. Checklists further assist with quality management and map out the stages of the project; these stages might be getting the sponsor’s approval of the initial scope statement or recognizing the planning team. Compared to the Agile project management team, the waterfall project management team starts with detailed well-written methodologies, and a responsibility matrix can also be utilized as a project template. The waterfall project management will obviously contain more templates than the less-detailed Agile project management. Thus, the Agile project management is more flexible; the team will discuss lessons learned throughout the process whereas the waterfall project management team only discusses lessons learned at the end of the project (Tarne, 2002).

Choosing which approach to follow is governed by several factors and determined at the beginning of the project. Some questions to ask include whether there is greater risk and the criticality of the final product. If there is a lot of risk, it can be assessed sooner in the Agile approach; but for critical projects, such as space shuttle apparatuses, the traditional approach is more appropriate because it contains more documentation than the Agile method. Further, while larger projects are better approached with the Agile method, the Agile method requires a smaller team with more expertise. The traditional approach would incorporate a larger team, though best suited for smaller projects (Tarne, 2002). In conclusion, it is vital to assess several aspects of the project before deciding which project management method to use because each has various advantages and disadvantages.

  • MKS075. (n.d.). Difference between Waterfall model and Incremental model. Retrieved from
  • Tarne, B. (2007). Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater: how to combine and use both agile and traditional project management approaches. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2007—North America, Atlanta, GA. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
  • Waterfall vs. Agile: Must Know Differences. (2019). Retrieved from