An Overview of the Waterfall and Extreme Programming Methodologies in Informative Technology Projects

Topics: Waterfall

Waterfall and eXtreme programming Methodologies

A methodology defines a series of steps or processes that build upon one another to reach a conclusion of some sort, whether it is implementing a major software program, updating an existing system, building and deploying a data warehouse, or performing countless IT projects. All methodologies have strengths and weaknesses that make them more suitable for some projects than others, or focus more heavily one part of the development or implementation process than another. And because no two-business situations are the same, a methodology offers options that enable the project manager to reach the desired conclusion regardless of the circumstances.

There are several methodologies that a project manager may choose to use to accomplish or reach their desired goals for their company, but the two most commonly used in today’s IT world are Waterfall and eXtreme programming. The Waterfall methodology is very powerful but the least flexible of the methodologies. It is also one the most traditional methodologies used in software development today, a lot of companies base their success on this methodology.

The Waterfall methodology is done in several phases, the analysis phase, the design phase, the implementation phase, and the testing phase. A project manager may deligate a group or team to perform a specific phase of the project. The Waterfal methodolgy requires each phase of a project to be completed before the next phase can begin. That’s how it gets it’s name; because each phase flows naturally into the next phase like water over the falls.

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It also requires analysis and planing before actions are taken. Thus, forcing the analysis team to precisely define their requirements. It is much easier to build a project if it is known what that project Many times an programming team has built some code to find out that it was not needed or will be of little use to the end product. This type of methodology leaves little room for revision based on feedback, changes in the enviroment, technology, or user needs. Another popular software development methodology is eXtreme programming or XP for short. The XP methodology is a very flexible methodology and is sally chosen in cases where a group of users will have significant input to the system.

XP allows the user to get involved in every phase of the software development. Project managers, users and developers are all part of a team, working together, sharing ideas and skills to produce a quality software package. Teamwork is essential to the success of an XP development project. It also strives itself on customer satisfaction, delivering what the customer needs in a timely manner. XP allows for the developer to rewrite and improve code, constantly. This give XP an excellent productivity rate in carparison to other methodologies. Project managers like to use XP because it has a low risk of failer and has high success rate. Both XP and Waterfall use the same techniques when it comes to the development of software. Both methods address planning, analysis, design, and implementation of the software package. As these phases are implemented, it becomes apparent that they are very different in their approach to software development. The planning stage in the Waterfall method is typically done once at the beginning and that’s it. This is different from the XP approach of planning. XP allows for the rewriting of code or requirements during each phase, as well as incorporating any changes or suggests made by the customer. In the Waterfall approach, the changes may not be made as needed until after implementation.

Also in the Waterfall method the cost and effort estimations are done in the planning phase, and are used to track progress and effectiveness throughout the remainder of the project. The difference between analysis phase in XP and the analysis phase in the Waterfall approach is timing. Analysis done using the Waterfall approach is done once again in the planning phase of the project. Because the analysis will be important to the remainder of the project, much of the customer interaction takes place in this phase. This makes the analysis phase of the Waterfall approach very extensive and comprehensive. In the XP methodology the analysis phase is much simpler, the analysis is done in intervals and continues throughout the development cycle. In the Waterfall method, the design of the software falls into the same sort of approach as the analysis phase. This means that the range of the design must include every part of the finished product. In contrast the XP model applies design techniques only to the part that is in the current phase of development.

During the implementation phase of the Waterfall project the completed product is installed and put into production. This may result in the cut back of user training. In the Waterfall project the customer has little input or communication with project manages or developers during the coding and testing phases. In contrast the XP project the customer is involved throughout the whole project. Each of the aspects of the Waterfall method has a corresponding element in XP. The XP approach has taken the approach of the Waterfall method and cut them into smaller pieces, then put them back together in a different order so that the process occurs over and over to construct a different way to produce software systems. These differences allow more flexibility and control for the Project manager, the customer and the developer throughout the development of the software.


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  2. The Agile Alliance Retrieved September 1, 2002 (Online) Available:

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An Overview of the Waterfall and Extreme Programming Methodologies in Informative Technology Projects. (2023, May 16). Retrieved from

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