The Waterfall Model & Project Manager
project manageris award-winning project management software that organizes teams and projects. With features like online Gantt charts, task lists, reporting tools and more, it's an ideal tool to control your waterfall project management.
Sign up for a free 30-day trial and follow usto create a waterfall project in just a few simple steps. You made this Gantt chart in no time!
1. Upload requirements and documents
Above all, waterfall project management guarantees one thing: lots of paperwork. All the documentation and requirements needed for the project can quickly become overwhelming.
You can attach all documentation and relevant files to our software or directly to a task. Now all your files are gathered in one place and easy to find. Don't worry about running out of storage - we have unlimited file storage.
2. Use a work breakdown structure to collect tasks
Getting to your final result requires a lot of tasks. Planning the waterfall project means knowing each of these tasks, no matter how small, and how they lead to your final outcome. A work breakdown structure is a tool you can use to figure out all of these steps.
First, use a work breakdown structure (WBS) to gather all the tasks needed to create your final deliverable. You can download onefree PSP template here. Then upload the to-do list to our software.
3. Open in the Gantt project view
Gantt charts are important project management toolsused for planning and planning. You collect your tasks in one place on atimeline. From there, you can link dependencies, set milestones, manage resources, and more.
Open the Gantt chart view in the software and add deadlines, descriptions, priorities and tags to each task.
4. Create phases and milestones
milestonesseparate the main phases in a project using the waterfall method. The waterfall method is all about structure and the transition from one phase to the next. Therefore, breaking down your project into milestones is key to the waterfall method.
Create phases and milestones in the Gantt view to break down the project. Use the milestone function to determine when a task ends and a new one begins. Milestones are symbolized by a diamond on the Gantt.
5. Set dependencies in a Gantt chart
Dependent tasks are those that cannot begin or end until others begin or end. They create complexity in managing waterfall projects.
Link dependent tasks in the Gantt chart. Our software allows you to link all four types of dependencies: start-to-start, start-to-end, end-to-end, and end-to-start. This will push your waterfall project plan forward in a sequential order and avoid bottlenecks.
6. Assign from Gantt charts
Even though you have planned and scheduled a project, it's still just an abstraction until you task your team with executing those tasks. Assignment is an important step in managing your waterfall project and must be done efficiently.
Assign tasks to team members directly from the Gantt chart. You can also attach any related images or files directly to the task. Collaboration is supported by task-level comments. Each assigned or tagged user will receive an email notification to notify them of a comment or update.
7. Manage resources and workload
resourcesare all you need to complete the project. That means not only your team, but also the materials and tools they need. Workload represents how many tasks are assigned to your team, and balancing that work keeps them productive.
Keep track of project resources in the workload view. See actual costs and reallocate as needed to stay on budget. Know how many tasks your team is working on and balance workload right on the page with easy-to-read, color-coded charts.
8. Track progress in Dashboard & Gantt
Progress must be monitored to know if you are meeting the goals you set in your waterfall method plan. The Gantt shows the percentage of completion, but a dashboard calculates several metrics and displays them in graphs and charts.
Monitor your project in real-time and track progress using multiple metrics with ourProject Dashboard. We automatically calculate project health, costs, tasks and more, then display them in a high-level view of your project. Progress is also tracked by shading on the Gantt's duration bar.
9. Generate reports
Reporting serves two purposes: it gives project managers more details about the inner workings of their waterfall project to help them make better decisions, and it serves as a communication tool to keep stakeholders informed.
LightCreate data-rich reportsshow the project variance,timesheet,Statusand more. Receive reports on your planned vs. actual progress. Filter to see only the information you want. Then share these with stakeholders during presentations and keep everyone in the loop.
10. Duplicate plan for new projects
A means of quickly copying projects is helpful with the waterfall methodology, as it jump-starts the next project by recreating key steps and allowing you to make adjustments as needed.
Create templates to quickly plan recurring waterfall projects. Once you know exactly what is required to get the project done, you can turn it into a template. You can also import proven project plans from MSP and task lists from Excel and Word.
Waterfall vs Agile
The waterfall method is one of two popular ways to approach software development projects. the other method is known asAgile.
It can be easier to understand waterfall when comparing it to Agile.Waterfall and Agile are two very different project management methodologies, but both are equally valid and can be more or less useful depending on the project.
Waterfall Project Management
If the waterfall model is to be executed correctly, all of the phases previously described must be executed in a linear manner. That is, each phase must be completed before the next phase can begin, and phases are never repeated—unless a massive error occurs, which comes to light in the verification or maintenance phase.
Additionally, each phase is discrete and exists fairly isolated from stakeholders outside of your team. This applies in particular to the requirement phase. Once the customer's requirements are captured, the customers no longer play a role in the actual waterfall software development life cycle.
Agile project management
The agile methodology differs greatly from the waterfall approach in two key respects; namely in terms of linear action and customer engagement. Agile is a nimble and iterative process in which the product is gradually delivered to the customer for review and feedback.
Instead of planning everything according to milestones, like waterfall, the agile software development method works in "sprints" in which prioritized tasks are completed within a short window, typically around two weeks.
These prioritized tasks are fluid and appear based on the success of previous sprints and customer feedback, rather than prioritizing all tasks early in the requirements phase.
Understand the difference between waterfall and agility
The important difference to remember is that a waterfall project is a fixed, linear plan. Everything is set in advance and clients only interact at the beginning and end of the project. The agile method, on the other hand, is an iterative process in which new priorities and requirements are introduced into the project after sprints and customer feedback sessions.
Pros and Cons of Waterfall Project Management
There are several reasons why project managers choose the waterfall project management method. Here are some advantages:
- Project requirements are agreed in the first phase, so planning and scheduling is simple and clear.
- With a fully laid outProject planyou can provide accurate estimates for your project costs, resources and deadlines.
- It's easy to measure progress as you move through the stages of the waterfall model and meet milestones.
- Customers are not constantly adding new requirements to the project, which can delay production.
Of course, there are also disadvantages to using the waterfall method. Here are some disadvantages of this approach:
- It can be difficult for clients to articulate all their needs at the beginning of the project.
- If the customer is dissatisfied with the product at the verification stage, it can become very expensive to redraw the code.
- A linear project plan is rigid and lacks the flexibility to adjust to unexpected events.
While it has its drawbacks, a waterfall project management plan is very effective in situations where you encounter a familiar scenario involving multiple acquaintances, or in software development projects where your client knows exactly what they want from the start.
Benefits of project management software for waterfall projects
Using project management software is a great way to get the most out of your waterfall project. You can record the steps and link dependencies to see exactly what needs to go where.
As shown above, ProjectManager was created with waterfall methodology in mind, with a Gantt chart that can structure the project step by step. However, we have a full suite of features, including Kanban boards, that are great for agile teams that need to manage their sprints.
With multiple project views, both agile and waterfall teams, as well as more traditional teams, can work from the same data, delivered in real-time, filtered only by the project view that best suits their working style. We take the waterfall methodology and bring it to the modern world.
Now that you know how to plan a waterfall project, you'll give yourself the best tools for the job. Take a 30-day free trial and see how ProjectManager can help you plan accurately, track accurately, and deliver your projects on time and under budget.
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