The Waterfall Model is a process used in software development. There are five steps to the Waterfall Model:
- Requirements – assess the requirements of the program by meeting with project managers. This step requires research: talk with users, interview the people who commissioned the software, do additional research using web and print sources, etc.
- Design – Figure out how you’re going to code the program to meet the requirements from step 1. What libraries will you use? What languages? Write down/map out these elements of the design.
- Implementation – Code everything to the specifications of your design.
- Verification – Test that the produced code functions correctly without errors.
- Maintenance – There were definitely errors. Go fix them. Additionally, any updates or changes that clients desire may be added at this time.
This model is a fairly simple, effective model of software development but could use some small changes to make it more flexible for larger projects. I would leave step one as is, since it is critical to gather information first so you know what the requirements of your program are (this will inform everything else you do). I would then design the major components of the whole program, as in step 2. Here, I would start making changes.
Rather than design the whole program, then implement the whole program, then verify the whole program, I would break the overall program design into smaller pieces. So my new step three would be to define reasonably sized pieces of the overall software. Steps 4a-6a would be to start with one of these pieces, a, and design it more thoroughly, implement it, and verify it. Then I would go back to step 4 and repeat 4n-6n for n number of parts of the software.
After the final step 6, I would then go on to verify the entire program (step 7) and maintain the entire program (step 8).
The benefit of doing software development this way is that you can more readily address changes to the program as you go. Also, there are fewer problems occurring at a time and they’re smaller problems because you’re working on a smaller section of the program. This allows you to dedicate time, energy, and resources to effectively solving each problem. As software development becomes increasingly collaborative, this is also a really good strategy for working with teams. Each person can be working steps 4-6 on a different part of the program, parallelizing the process and maximizing efficiency.