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Advantages and limitations of the Waterfall Model

Advantages of Waterfall Life Cycle Models

  1. Easy to explain to the user

  2. Stages and activities are well defined

  3. Helps to plan and schedule the project

  4. Verification at each stage ensures early detection of errors / misunderstanding

Limitations of the Waterfall Life Cycle Model

The waterfall model assumes that the requirements of a system can be frozen (i.e. basedline) before the design begins. This is possible for systems designed to automate an existing manual system. But for absolutely new system, determining the requirements is difficult, as the user himself does not know the requirements. Therefore, having unchanging (or changing only a few) requirements is unrealistic for such project.

Freezing the requirements usually requires choosing the hardware (since it forms a part of the requirement specification). A large project might take a few years to complete. If the hardware is selected early, then due to the speed at which hardware technology is changing, it is quite likely that the final software will employ a hardware technology that is on the verge of becoming obsolete. This is clearly not desirable for such expensive software.

The waterfall model stipulates that the requirements should be completely specified before the rest of the development can proceed. In some situations it might be desirable to first develop a part of the system completely, an then later enhance the system in phase. This is often done for software products that are developed not necessarily for a client (where the client plays an important role in requirement specification), but for general marketing, in which the requirements are likely to be determined largely by developers.

Other Software/System Development Life Cycles

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