What is Waterfall Project Management, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Waterfall Project Management
Waterfall Project Management is modeled after its name, in that the steps in a project flow logically from top to bottom, in a sequential, linear order like a waterfall. No phase can begin until the prior phase has been completed. It is a common project management methodology for software development because the phases must flow in a correct order for the software to function correctly.
Description of Waterfall Project Management
There are various phases in Waterfall Project Management, the most common being conceptualization and requirements determination, design, implementation, verification and maintenance. Once the project management team determines the goals of the project, team members are assigned tasks which must be completed in order to be successful.
- Requirements Analysis: This is the first step toward a successful project, in that it determines the goals and expected outcomes, taking into consideration the client’s needs and potential risks involved.
- Design: Once the goals of the project are determined, a solution is designed that will deliver on expectations. All elements of software development are considered in this phase, including security, process, and product design.
- Development: During this phase, the actual software creation begins. Based on the decisions made in phase #2, the project manager assigns tasks to the team members which will result in successful completion of the project. Often the team is divided into smaller work units, but maintaining solid communication and coordination between teams is essential if this route is chosen.
- Testing: After development is completed, relevant tests need to be performed to ensure an error-free product. At this point it is also important to refer back to step #1 to verify that the end product meets the initial design requirements.
- Implementation: After testing comes implementation, where the product is put into real-world use. During this phase, testing is continued in the new environment. It is also important to ensure that implementation is conducted in compliance with industry guidelines and regulations.
- Maintenance: Continued support for the client and daily users of the product is provided after delivery to make sure the new product performs as expected. Maintenance is usually for a specific period of time determined by prior agreement.
Waterfall Project Management methodology is not the best choice for every project, but it is a very useful tool in certain circumstances. It is best used for projects which require specific steps that are only successful when completed in chronological order. It is commonly used for software development because it is one of the most systematic project management methodologies in existence.
Tools & Templates
Microsoft Word and Excel are valuable tools used in Waterfall Project Management because of the proper documentation that is required. Various Project Management methods, including software tools, can all be used to provide insights, data and additional support.
upBOARD's Online Waterfall Project Management Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Waterfall Project Management techniques, upBOARD’s online Waterfall Project Management tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other project management best practice tools and templates including:
Action Item List, Agile Project Management, Benefits Realization Methodology, Critical Chain Project Management, Critical Path Chart, Critical Path Method, Event Chain Methodology, Extreme Project Management, Gantt Chart, Integrated Project Management, Issue Tracker, IT Roadmap, Lean Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, PMBOK Project Management, PRINCE2 Project Management, PRiSM Project Management, Process-Based Project Management, Program Management, Project Budgeting, Project Charter, Project Portfolio Management, Project Portfolio Timeline, Project Risk Management, Project Schedule, Project Scorecard, Project Timeline, Project Tracker, Requirements Breakdown Structure, SCRUM Project Management, Skills Requirement Checklist, Task List, Time Card, To Do List, Waterfall Project Management, and Work Breakdown Structure.