Waterfall Model in Project Management: An Introductory Guide

In the world of project management, the Waterfall Model or Waterfall Project Management is a well-known way to do things. It brings together creativity and order, as well as new ideas and organization. This method has a good reputation for being stable and following the way things have always been done.

There are many different ways to handle a project that project managers can use. You can use iterative methods like Agile project management, Kanban project management, Scrum, and many more.

But what if you need a more linear method for your project? The waterfall method is a linear way to manage a project. It can help you and your team reach your goals one job or milestone at a time.

Let’s dive in and find out what this interesting method can do!

What is waterfall model in project management?

Waterfall is a way for managing projects in which a project is broken up into separate stages. Each step doesn’t start until the one before it is done. 

This way of managing projects came from the building and manufacturing industries, where each step needs to be finished before the next one can be started. For instance, you can’t build a house’s walls until the base is poured. 

Even though it started in manufacturing, waterfall project management has changed over time to fit the needs of many different businesses, including software development.

Here’s an example of how a waterfall job might look:

waterfall model

People often use flow charts or Gantt charts to show how the waterfall process works. The name “waterfall” comes from the way each job flows into the next one.

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6 phases of waterfall project management methodology

Requirement Phase:

During this first step of planning, the team gets as much information as possible to make sure the project goes well. Because jobs in the waterfall method depend on the steps that came before them, it takes a lot of planning. The planning process is a very important part of the waterfall model, so most of the time spent on a project is usually spent planning.

Make a detailed project plan that goes over each step of the job to make this method work for you. This includes everything from what resources are needed to which team members are working on the job. People often call this document a “project requirements document.” 

System design phase in Waterfall Model:

During the design part of the software development process, the project team decides what hardware it will use and other details like programming languages and the user interface. 

The high-level design phase and the low-level design phase are both parts of the system design phase. In the high-level design phase, the team builds the framework for how the software will work and how information will be viewed. The team makes the more specific parts of the software during the low-level design phase. The high-level design phase is like the skeleton of the project, while the low-level design phase is like the organs. 

When using the waterfall method, team members should write down each step so that the team can look back at what was done as the project goes on.

Implementation Phase:

At this point, everything is put into action. Based on the requirements paper from step one and the system design process from step two, the team starts the full development process to build the software according to both the requirements phase and the system design phase.

Testing phase:

At this point, the team working on the project hands it over to the team checking to make sure it’s good. QA testers look for bugs and mistakes that need to be fixed before a project can be put into action. 

All of the problems that testers find should be written down in a clear way. If another worker runs into the same bug, they can look at old documentation to help them fix the problem.

Deployment Phase: 

At this step of a development project, the software is sent to the end user. In other businesses, this is when the final product goes on sale and is sent to the end customer.

Maintenance Phase in waterfall model:

Once a project is up and running, there may be times when a new bug is found or software needs to be updated. This is called the maintenance phase, and it’s normal for software developers to keep working on it.

When to use the Waterfall model in project management?

Stable Requirements: The Waterfall Model is good for straight execution when the project requirements are well-defined and aren’t likely to change much during the project’s lifecycle.

Predictable Processes: Because the Waterfall Model is linear, it works well with projects that have well-established, predictable processes where the steps and relationships are clear.

Clear Milestones and Deadlines: The phased approach of the Waterfall Model makes it easier to track and manage progress when the project needs clear milestones and tight deadlines.


In this blog, we have discussed the waterfall model in project management and different stages in the waterfall model. The Waterfall Model in project management is an organized, linear method that gives a clear plan for how to carry out a project. It works well for projects with clear goals, stable requirements, and predictable methods. The focus on writing things down and going in a certain order can make sure that things are clear and that people are held accountable. But it has some problems, such as restricted flexibility, late problem detection, and less client participation.

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