A Guide on How to Use Waterfall Project Management

Waterfall project management is a very traditional project management strategy that allows a sequential completion of your project. It's ideal for a variety of scenarios, especially those in which one segment of a project needs to be finished before the next stage of the project can begin. It began as a software development model but can be utilized for a variety of projects and genres.

What is Waterfall Project Management?

Waterfall project management is a highly specific project management style based on the concept that you must finish one stage of a project before beginning another one. Unlike agile project management strategies, which is an incremental, small-project-based approach, the waterfall project management method is used to break one large project down into its component parts.

In a waterfall-style project management system, one piece of the project must be completed before the next stage of the project can begin. In a software development project, for example, developers might have to finish one piece of the puzzle before moving forward to create the next solution or integration. They would not work on features or specific elements of the project before completing the elements before them in line.

How Waterfall Project Management Works

In a waterfall model, the project moves through several clear, sequential steps. Each phase of the step must be completed before the project can move forward.

1. Analysis

In the first step, the team gathers all the requirements for the project and analyzes what it will take in order to complete it. These specifications will be clearly documented.

2. System Design

The team will put together the broad design of the system based on the initial requirements discovered during the analysis phase.

3. Implementation

Each section of the design, known as "units," are put together as part of the total system and tested to see their efficiency and effectiveness. By putting them together as individual units, it's possible to separate out problems and get a better feel for how the project is functioning.

4. Integration and Testing

Each unit is integrated into the system. Once all of the units have been tested individually, the project as a whole is tested to determine its continuing effectiveness and make sure there aren't any unforeseen challenges.

5. Deployment

Once the product has been thoroughly tested, it will be released to the market. Sometimes, this may be in the form of a beta product that can then be tested in a customer-facing environment. Other times, the product may be released as a final product, completely ready for market.

6. Maintenance

Even if the product has been thoroughly tested, some problems may crop up once the product is available to a general audience. The system must be properly maintained and receive proper attention to keep it running smoothly.


While the waterfall method is usually used for software development, it can also be used for other product testing and creation. This method is ideal for linear-model product creation since it goes through a steady process. At any point, if there is a problem with the product, the waterfall method allows developers and workers to go back and reevaluate their efforts.

If you're looking for a linear project management strategy that will allow you to clearly gauge the progress of your product and get a better feel for its overall function, the waterfall project management strategy could help you achieve your goals.