Disadvantages of Waterfall

The biggest drawback of Waterfall is how it handles change. Because Waterfall is a linear, sequential model, you can’t bounce between phases, even if unexpected changes occur. Once you’re done with a phase, that’s it.

Here’s more information on the disadvantages of Waterfall:

  • Changes can’t be easily accommodated: Once the team completes a phase, they can’t go back. If they reach the testing phase and realize that a feature was missing from the requirements phase, it is very difficult and expensive to go back and fix it.
  • Software isn’t delivered until late: The project has to complete two to four phases before the coding actually begins. As a result, stakeholders won’t see working software until late in the life cycle.
  • Gathering accurate requirements can be challenging: One of the first phases in a Waterfall project is to talk to customers and stakeholders and identify their requirements. However, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what they want this early in the project. Often times, customers don’t know what they want early on and instead, learn and identify requirements as the project progresses.