• Articles
  • Tutorials
  • Interview Questions
  • Webinars

What is Waterfall Model in Software Engineering?

What is Waterfall Model in Software Engineering?

The Waterfall Model, also known as the classic life cycle, is a traditional approach to software development that begins with the definition of customer requirements and continues through planning, modeling, construction, and implementation to ongoing product support. This model provides a general overview and suggests a sequence of events for the developer to handle. Also, it is used to describe software development activities in different contexts.

In this blog, we discussed some of the essential topics that you must know about the Waterfall Model.

Table of Contents:

Watch this video on Agile vs Waterfall Methodology and clear all the doubts

What is Waterfall Model?

The Waterfall Model is the earliest SDLC method that was used for software development. In the Waterfall Model, the entire software development process is divided into separate phases. The result of one step serves as input for the next step in the sequence. This means that each stage of the development process starts only after the previous stage is completed.

One of the key requirements of this model is that the user clearly defines the complete requirements early in development. It is very useful for developers to agree on what to do now. Its simplicity makes it easy to explain to users who are not familiar with the software development process.

We recommend you enroll in Advanced certification in Software Engineering and Application Development by E&ICT, IIT Guwahati.

Different Phases of Waterfall Model

The Waterfall Model follows a hierarchical process, completing each phase with detailed confirmation before moving on to the next. It is a method where each phase must be finished before the next can begin. You must understand every stage of the Waterfall Model in order to gain a more thorough understanding of it.

Below is the diagrammatic representation of the different phases of the Waterfall Model. So let’s get started!

Phases of Waterfall Model
  • Requirement Analysis

In this Requirement Analysis, all the detailed requirements are collected from the customer who wants to develop the software. After obtaining the requirements, the system analyst analyzes whether the requirements can be fulfilled. The software development team then moves into the design phase. A Software Requirements Specification (SRS) is maintained to reflect the requirements. It also gives you the ability to define your product’s hardware or software requirements at every stage of design, development, and modification.

  • System Design

After the first step is completed and verified, the second step becomes important. This step helps determine the software and hardware requirements for product development. It also helps solve Software Requirements Specification (SRS) documentation in the design and development of software products functional. This work involves the analysts and designers which results in the analysis and design documentation of the systems. The design document is used as a template for further coding.

  • Implementation

Encryption is done at this stage. The programmer extracts the information from the previous step and creates an operational product. Code is usually implemented in small parts that are integrated at the end of this phase or at the beginning of the next phase. The result of the development phase is a software product that is tested as a finished product in the next phase. With the help of system design, the system is further developed into smaller programs, which are called integrated units in the next step.

  • Testing

This step verifies that the individual components and the integrated parts are error-free and fully act in accordance with the requirements defined in the first step. An independent quality assurance team defines test cases to determine whether the product partially or fully meets the requirements defined in the first step. During this testing phase, various quality and customer satisfaction metrics are used to measure project success.

  • Deployment

The deployment is the final stage of the entire software development life cycle (SDLC) that brings the application into production. Once the software team has developed the application and completed all the testing steps, the software is ready for distribution. This means that the software is ready for all real-world users.

  • Maintenance

The SDLC doesn’t end when the software is in the market. During the maintenance phase, the main task is to ensure that the software is available and working correctly and also to fix any user-reported bugs that may have been misplaced during the testing phase. Developers move to the maintenance phase and take the necessary steps to resolve issues that are reported by end users.

Get 100% Hike!

Master Most in Demand Skills Now !

Advantages of Waterfall Model

The advantage of the Waterfall Model is that it allows distribution and departmental control. You can set a timeline for each development phase and step into the product development process model.

Some of the main advantages of the Waterfall Model in Software Engineering are:

  • A Waterfall Model is  simple, easy to understand, and easy to use.
  • A Waterfall Model cannot move to the next step until the previous step is complete, so data is always correctly written from one step to the next. It ensures a smooth and orderly transfer of information between stages.
  • The output after the completion of each step ensures high visibility of the Waterfall Model. By analyzing the results of each phase, the project manager and the client can conclude that the project was a deep success.
  • The steps are executed and completed one by one.
  • The Waterfall Model is suitable for small projects with well-defined and well-understood requirements.

Want to nail your Scrum Master interview? Get the top Scrum Master Interview Questions right here!

Disadvantages of Waterfall Model

Waterfall Model is one of the reputable models, but recently it has faced objections for being an out-of-date model. The model’s regulations become more prominent relying on the size, type, and goals of the project. Instead of adjusting your organization to Waterfall’s guidelines later, consider these regulations to think about whether Waterfall is really a fit for your software development process.

So, here are some of the disadvantages of the Waterfall Model in Software Engineering:

  • All the stages are interconnected, so even a small change in the previous stage can lead to big problems in the next stage.
  • It is difficult to measure progress within stages.
  • The Waterfall Model does not adapt to changing customer needs.
  • There are many risks and uncertainties.
  • As testing is done at a later stage, problems and risks may not be identified early, making it difficult to develop a risk management strategy.
  • At the end of the life cycle, the working model is visible, i.e after the implementation phase.
  • While one team member is working on one platform, other team members have to wait until the next step is completed.

Certification in Full Stack Web Development


The Waterfall Model works best if you can clearly define two requirements, i.e system and software requirements. All requirements must be documented to simplify requirements-based software development. A Waterfall Model can be considered the best example if you have a good understanding of the final product. This model is suitable when the project is relatively simple and the requirements do not change regularly. It became very popular because it clearly explains each step with logical and progressive information. This helps developers quickly identify requirements during the development process.

Now, you can post your doubts on our Community page.

Course Schedule

Name Date Details
Web Development Courses 20 Jul 2024(Sat-Sun) Weekend Batch
View Details
Web Development Courses 27 Jul 2024(Sat-Sun) Weekend Batch
View Details
Web Development Courses 03 Aug 2024(Sat-Sun) Weekend Batch
View Details

About the Author

Senior Consultant Analytics & Data Science

Presenting Sahil Mattoo, a Senior Consultant Analytics & Data Science at Eli Lilly and Company is an accomplished professional with 14 years of experience across data science, analytics, and technical leadership domains, demonstrates a remarkable ability to drive business insights. Sahil holds a Post Graduate Program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence from Great Lakes Institute of Management.