Examples of the waterfall model (2023)

Anjali works at a technology company where she has been given the task of leading a team to deliver a sophisticated software program within a very tight schedule. First, Anjali tries to coordinate with her employees and create her own model. But as the pressure mounts, their model breaks down and the entire team is a mess.

Anjali spends a few days looking for solutions and discovers the waterfall model. She goes through the waterfall model in detail and distributes responsibilities for the project across multiple departments based on the different phases of the model.

Since the project requires extreme stability, Anjali creates a draft and timeline that are not subject to change and feeds them into the waterfall model. After that, the model takes care of everything. With a strict delivery schedule and all department roles properly assigned, the waterfall model gets the project to completion a week ahead and as smoothly as possible.

Anjali's success becomes another excellent example of the waterfall model doing what it does best.

  1. What is the waterfall model?

  2. When is the waterfall model used?

  3. How to explain the waterfall model using examples

  4. Solutions at the push of a button

What is the waterfall model?

Before we continue to explain the waterfall model with examples, let's go over the basics of the waterfall model and what exactly it aims to achieve.

The waterfall model was one of the first models introduced in project management. Being a linear or sequential model, the waterfall model has a series of phases, each of which must be completed before moving on to the next. For this reason, the model is called a waterfall model because it moves downwards from one phase to another, similar to a waterfall.

In order to work properly, the waterfall model uses the output of one phase as input for the next phase. At the end of each phase, it should be checked whether the project is on the right track or whether it needs to be discarded and restarted.

The term "waterfall" was first used in a 1976 paper by Thomas Bell and Thomas Thayer to describe their model. However, the first formal and detailed diagram of the model was published as early as 1970 in an article by Winston Royce. Royce's article was broadly critical of the waterfall model, particularly in relation to the fact that testing of the model could only be done at the end of the process.

The waterfall model that you are likely to come across today has seven phases, listed as follows:

The waterfall model is one of several models commonly used for project management today. Other models include iterative and agile models, which are much more flexible compared to the waterfall approach.

When is the waterfall model used?

To understand the real-world example of the waterfall model, let's get acquainted with situations where the waterfall model is typically used:

  • When the project requirements are set at the beginning and remain more or less fixed throughout the process

  • When the product definition is stable and a lot of information is required before completing each phase

  • In cases where a strict schedule needs to be established and adhered to, with no changes

  • In areas of engineering design and software development, which typically require large-scale project management

  • In the manufacturing and construction industries, where design changes are typically very costly

How to explain the waterfall model using examples

In the last decades of the 20th century, the waterfall model was mainly used to develop business applications such as Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS), Supply Chain Management Systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Inventory Management Systems, Point of Sales (POS). ) systems for retail chains, etc. The model was also very popular in software development.

As the technology evolved, there were instances where large enterprise systems were developed with the waterfall model as the default choice over a two to three year period, but became redundant by the time they were completed. Slowly, these enterprise systems were transitioned to more flexible and cost-effective models, but the waterfall model continued to be favored in systems where:

  • A human life is at stake and a system failure could result in fatalities

  • Money and time are secondary factors and more important is the security and stability of a project

  • Military and aircraft programs where requirements are declared early and remain constant

  • Projects with an extremely high level of oversight and/or accountability, such as B. in the areas of banking, health care and control systems for nuclear facilities

Now that you have covered the different sectors where the waterfall model has been and is still used, here is a real-life example of the waterfall model working.

Here the waterfall model is used to manufacture a tractor, with each of its phases outlining the work to be carried out. However, before moving on to the phases, the organization making the tractor would need to conduct a feasibility study, including planning the budget and adding new features to the tractor that would put it ahead of other tractors in the market.

After that, the following phases take over (only the most important ones included):

  1. Analyse:

This phase of the waterfall model determines the speed, mileage, engine specifications, color, and seat requirements of the tractor to be manufactured.

  1. Design:

This phase deals with the development and design of the frame material, the external and internal body quality and materials, and the tire quality for the tractor.

  1. Implementation:

This phase brings the two previous phases together by combining all the pre-established characteristics and actually making the tractor.

  1. To test:

This phase is all about trying out the tractor in different circumstances and conditions, from evaluating its performance on different road types and weather conditions to checking its durability, fuel consumption and heat build-up.

  1. Maintenance:

The last phase is about offering regular services to maintain the quality of the tractor and to make necessary repairs or adjustments.

Let's look at another real-world example of the waterfall model, where the various phases were used to manufacture and deploy a software program based on university rankings and student scores to determine which universities and courses for students applying for a bachelor's degree decide who are most suitable.

As with the previous waterfall model example, the organization developing the software program needs to conduct a feasibility study to find out what kind of programs already exist on the market that can accomplish similar tasks in science. After that, the main phases of the waterfall model can work as follows:

  1. Analyse:

This phase collects all available information on student scores and university rankings and develops the various parameters used to determine a university's suitability for a student.

  1. Design:

In this waterfall model example, the design phase is all about fine-tuning the parameters set in the analysis phase and ensuring that the structure of the software program is precise enough to avoid any manipulation or confusion of large amounts of data.

  1. Implementation:

At this crucial stage, test runs of the software program are performed on a preliminary dataset to see how accurately the program can suggest suitable universities for students. These suggestions should then be compared with results obtained from academic advisors who have arrived at the suggestions through their years of professional expertise.

  1. To test:

As with any example of the waterfall model, the testing phase is about making sure that all the functions of the software program are working smoothly and that there are no glitches that can affect the usefulness of the overall program.

  1. Maintenance:

In the final phase, the software program should be reviewed for any necessary updates or changes that may be required in addition to the expected addition of new data, including a larger body of student scores and a new set of university rankings.

Solutions at the push of a button

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Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics like How Does Thewaterfall modelhelp in project management,, What isproject management, introduction tooperational management& Procedure APERTAnalyze and monitor your projects efficiently.


What are some examples of the waterfall model being used? ›

Examples of Waterfall Model

In the olden days, Waterfall model was used to develop enterprise applications like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS), Supply Chain Management Systems, Inventory Management Systems, Point of Sales (POS) systems for Retail chains etc.

What is waterfall model short answer? ›

Definition: The waterfall model is a classical model used in system development life cycle to create a system with a linear and sequential approach. It is termed as waterfall because the model develops systematically from one phase to another in a downward fashion.

What are some examples of software projects that would be amenable to the waterfall model? ›

  • fingerprint voting system.
  • fingerprint. based ATM system.
  • weather forecasting system.
Jan 17, 2021

How do you explain waterfall model in an interview? ›

Example: "The waterfall methodology is a set of project management principles and strategies that focuses on developing projects through sequential tasks. Teams begin by gathering the project requirements and then creating a plan containing linear steps to fulfill those requirements.

What is a real life example of a waterfall model? ›

Now that you've grasped the several sectors in which the waterfall model used to be and is still deployed, here is a real-life example of the waterfall model at work. Here, the waterfall model is used to manufacture a tractor, with each of its phases outlining the work that needs to be done.

Which company uses waterfall model example? ›

Which Company uses Waterfall Model? Well-known companies use the waterfall model in their software development process; one of these companies is Toyota.

Why is waterfall model the best? ›

The advantages of the waterfall methodology are that: Requirements are completed early in the project, enabling the team to define the entire project scope, create a complete schedule, and design the overall application.

What is waterfall model and when to use it? ›

The waterfall model is a linear, sequential approach to the software development lifecycle (SDLC) that is popular in software engineering and product development. The waterfall model uses a logical progression of SDLC steps for a project, similar to the direction water flows over the edge of a cliff.

What projects are best for waterfall? ›

Waterfall is best for projects with concrete timelines and well-defined deliverables. If your major project constraints are well understood and documented, Waterfall is likely the best approach.

What projects are best suited for waterfall? ›

Waterfall is a linear project progression, so it's best suited for projects with a defined end goal. If a project owner has a clear and specific vision of an app, for example, and is confident it will not change throughout the project development, Waterfall methodologies could be a good system to follow.

Is waterfall model as an example of SDLC still effective in today's modern days? ›

The waterfall is still effective for certain projects that are set within a constrained timeline or budget. Furthermore, the methodology narrows the focus to give a more complete understanding of all software deliverables, setting expectations from the beginning.

Can you explain the waterfall model in manual testing? ›

The waterfall Model illustrates the software development process in a linear sequential flow. This means that any phase in the development process begins only if the previous phase is complete. In this waterfall model, the phases do not overlap.

What are the questions to be asked on waterfall model? ›

  • What are the two important elements of the Waterfall Model? [Answer]
  • What are the seven products described by the Waterfall Model? [Answer]
  • When is software testing performed in the Waterfall Model? [Answer]
  • What is software verification? [Answer]
  • What is software validation? [Answer]

Where are waterfall Found give two example? ›

Karnataka: Abbey Falls (Coorg), Magod Falls (Yellapur), Hanuman Gundi Falls (Chikmagalur) Tamil Nadu: Kiliyur Falls (Yercaud), Bear Shola Falls (Kodaikanal), Karumalai Falls (Valparai)

How is a waterfall formed give an example? ›

When a river or stream flows over hard rock (where erosion is slow) and also flows over soft rock (where erosion is more rapid), the soft rock is eroded by the water ultimately making the watercourse steeper beyond the hard rock layer.

What are the real life examples of prototyping model? ›

Real life analogy

In manufacturing, a prototype is a refined version of your product based on user feedback. For example, when developing a car, the manufacturer starts with a prototype— or model — that costs less and incorporates new technology.

Does Toyota use waterfall? ›

Guess what. Toyota uses the waterfall method for software development – and now they're trying to figure out how to go Lean.

What is a waterfall model how is it used in business? ›

The Waterfall methodology — also known as the Waterfall model — is a sequential development process that flows like a waterfall through all phases of a project (analysis, design, development, and testing, for example), with each phase completely wrapping up before the next phase begins.

What can the waterfall model be used for? ›

The waterfall model is a linear, sequential approach to the software development lifecycle (SDLC) that is popular in software engineering and product development. The waterfall model uses a logical progression of SDLC steps for a project, similar to the direction water flows over the edge of a cliff.


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