The Complete Guide to Waterfall Project Management

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There are several unique approaches to project administration. Among these choices is the waterfall methodology.

In comparison to some of the other project management styles around, the waterfall method has been around for a while. And there are still plenty of appropriate use cases for this today. If you’re searching for a simple way to handle projects, the waterfall methodology might just be the best option for you and your team.

Regardless of whether you just need a quick refresher or you’re a whole beginner, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about applying waterfall project administration.

What exactly is Waterfall Project Management?

The particular waterfall methodology follows a linear route. Each step must be taken in sequential order, plus a new phase cannot begin until the previous one is complete.

Design project management started in non-software industries like construction and manufacturing. In these types of areas, sequential steps are required (it’s impossible to put up drywall before a house has been framed).

There are five different phases in the waterfall methodology—planning, designing, execution, testing, and servicing. There is no returning to the previous phase once you have moved on; the only option is starting over from the beginning.

Waterfall project management is designed for lengthy projects that follow a singular timeline. Changes towards the plan are typically disappointed and often expensive.

4 Tools to Improve Waterfall Task Management

Implementing the waterfall methodology is useless without the right tools. The following resources can help ensure your entire team has success handling your projects.

#1 — Wrike

Trusted by more than 20, 000 institutions across a wide range of industries, Wrike is one of the most popular project management tools on the market. It’s simple to deploy and use, and it can accommodate several different project management methodologies—including waterfall. That’s why it’s trusted by well-known brands like Google, Dell, Airbnb, and Siemens. As a project manager, it’s easy to put into action the waterfall management style on Wrike using Gantt charts. This timeline view will show your tasks organized by a horizontal calendar. You may also establish dependencies between two tasks or link one job to a milestone. It is very easy to set up your waterfall with a addiction that one task can not start until an additional is complete.

Another cool feature about making use of Wrike for project management is that your group will get notified whenever it’s time for any particular task to begin. So if one person or a department is waiting around on Task A to get done before they start Task B, they’ll end up being notified ASAP instead of constantly having to check in with whoever is working on the former. There are a free version of Wrike that can support up to five customers. However , this plan will not include a Gantt graph. So you can’t use it to deploy your waterfall methodology. Gantt charts are available on all Wrike compensated plans, which from $9. 80 per user per month. Try it free for fourteen days.

#2 — TeamGantt

TeamGantt can be another powerful and trustworthy online project preparing tool. Anyone may use this software to start planning a project in a matter of minutes, regardless of their experience level. Yet don’t let TeamGantt’s simplicity fool you. The software is used by industry leaders such as Nike, Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and Intuit. As the name implies, TeamGantt specializes in making use of Gantt charts—a essential tool for managing a project using the waterfall methodology. One of my personal favorite parts of TeamGantt is that it comes with pre-built project management templates. So that you don’t have to build the waterfall from scratch. Customizing the templates is easy, and changes can be made by leveraging TeamGantt’s drag-and-drop functionality.

Getting started is straightforward. You can create your first project with up to three users 100% free when you sign up. Premium plans start at $24. 95 monthly and support an unlimited number of projects. As well as the Gantt charts and waterfall benefits, you’ll also love best features like workload forecasting, project history, daily reminders, job lists, team conversations, file attachments, task management discussion board, and more. These types of plans even support unlimited guest customers. Try a premium TeamGantt plan for free having a 30-day trial.

#3 — ProjectManager. com

More than 375, 000 project supervisors across the globe rely on ProjectManager. com. The tool is used by NASA, Ralph Lauren, the United States Postal Service, AVIS SUR LA QUESTION, and more. It’s a great option for anyone searching for an online resource to manage, track, and review projects using the waterfall methodology. With Gantt charts from ProjectManager, your entire team can to schedule, plan, plus update projects within real-time. It’s quite simple to adjust start times and end schedules using the draggable user interface on ProjectManager. Colors and columns are fully customizable.

I like ProjectManager because it also has built-in team cooperation tools. You can use this to add comments, share files, update the particular status of a task, and more. You’ll become notified immediately when tasks have been finished so the next phase can begin. The tool is trusted simply by construction teams, production teams, IT and development teams, professional services organizations, executive teams, product teams, and more. ProjectManager. possuindo integrates with one, 000+ third-party apps like Salesforce, Dropbox, Slack, Microsoft Workplace, and other business equipment that you’re making use of daily. Plans from just $15 per user per month. Give it a try for 30 days simply by signing up for a free demo.

#4 — Celoxis

Celoxis is a bit more advanced in comparison to some of the other waterfall project management tools on the market today. While it is definitely a viable approach to managing linear tasks, it comes with enterprise-grade features commonly needed by larger institutions. That’s why the particular tool is trusted by brands such as Tesla, LG, Lufthansa, HBO, Adobe, Whirlpool, Rolex, and more. As an all-in-one tool, it is about with solutions intended for project planning, task accounting, team plus client collaboration, reference management, project portfolio management, and other advanced features that exceed waterfalls and Gantt charts.

Another standout associated with Celoxis is its advanced reporting plus shareable dashboards. This provides project managers exclusive insights into the improvement of a project plus allows them to reveal necessary information along with clients, stakeholders, plus executives. You can even automate this process and set up, so reports are usually automatically emailed straight to your company’s TOP DOG. Celoxis integrates along with 400+ business applications like Slack, Salesforce, Zendesk, QuickBooks, Zapier, Google Drive, Jira, and more. The cloud package starts on $22. 50 per user per month with an annual contract. There are an on-premise version of Celoxis starting at $450 for each user that’s provided as a single buy with no recurring charges. Try Celoxis for free with a 30-day trial.

The basic principles of Waterfall Project Management

As previously mentioned, you will find five core elements to the waterfall strategy. This section will tenderize each phase in to greater detail, so you have a complete knowledge of how to implement this particular methodology with your group.


The very first phase of the design methodology is planning. Since the phases must be followed in a tight linear order, this really is arguably the most important area of the process.

Essentially, you will use this step to plan for all subsequent steps. This is also known as the “requirements” stage, as you’ll get ready and gather as much information as possible concerning the project and what needs to be accomplished. It’s common for project managers to obtain information through questionnaires and interviews to get started, whether from clients, stakeholders, or even internally. Assigning tasks to your team will also be established in the planning phase.

Make sure you place as much thought and time as possible here, and don’t get any shortcuts. Or else, you might be forced to start back from the beginning in the event that things go wrong in the future.


The design phase takes the planning one phase further. This is where you’ll establish the specifics of the project.

Actions, budgets, timelines, range, and everything else will be outlined here. For your waterfall methodology, this would be very particular and not account for a ton of change along the way. Financial constraints and timelines are super strict and not up for much flexibility.

The designing process can best end up being described as how you’ll get everything within the planning phase achieved.


Now it’s time for you to execute your program. The majority of a project will be spent in the execution stage.

For example , let us say you’re working on a software development task. All of the coding plus product development will happen right here. For a construction project, the actual building process takes place during the execution phase. This section of the project will generally last for several a few months and sometimes over a year, depending on the scope.

It’s critical that all tasks and routines are documented during this step. Sometimes customers will want to see evidence of specific tasks, and you could even need to keep an eye on time or sources for billing reasons.


Once the implementation stage is complete, it is time to test every thing. This step is pretty self-explanatory, though it differs by industry plus project type.

For software program, this is when QA happens, and real people actually test the item. You’ll look for bugs and ensure that the software program functions as it was created to.

After the tests is done, you’ll provide or deploy what you’ve been working on.


The final step of waterfall project management will be maintenance. Most items, whether in software, construction, or another field, aren’t perfect on delivery.

It’s common for issues to arise down the road. Depending on your contract contracts with the clients or stakeholders, your team should be prepared to assist with ongoing maintenance in the future. This could include software program updates, patches, or minor adjustments to improve the overall performance.

You and your team should also take the time to look back and evaluation the project. Figure out what went properly and where you can enhance. This will make it simpler for everyone to do better when it’s time to start the next project.

4 Tricks For Waterfall Project Management

As a design project manager, there are some quick hacks and best practices you should keep in mind. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your project runs as smooth as you can:

Trick #1: Leverage Project Management Software

The software you use can ultimately make or break the success of your project. This is especially true within the modern workforce, where your team is probably dispersed or remote control. You may not have access to everyone in the same space for 40 hrs a week.

Your team might even be working in different time areas and specific zones or completing tasks at other times of the day. The only method to keep everyone on the same page is with software as your single supply of truth.

In addition to the tools mentioned earlier within this guide, check the list of the best project management software on the market today. The article even describes our own methodology for choosing the best tool for your unique situation.

Trick #2: Be Sure the Task is Suitable For the Waterfall Methodology

The last thing you want to do is try and force this methodology on a task that it won’t work for. This will cause your team many troubles down the road and will likely be an expensive issue to solve.

With the waterfall methodology, there is always a clearly defined objective. Your client or any type of stakeholders know precisely what they want. Anyone becoming a member of the project need to clearly understand the end goal and see how you are going to get there.

When the project scope has some uncertainty and required flexibility and changes along the way, then the design methodology won’t function.

So if your customer isn’t providing well-defined requirements or they will expect to add adjustments while the project is within process, you cannot utilize this methodology. You’d be better off using an souple methodology in this scenario.

Trick #3: Clearly Articulate Project Anticipations With Stakeholders

This piggybacks off the last stage. It’s one thing to understand how the waterfall methodology works in-house, but it’s another element altogether to explain this particular to your clients.

Stakeholders need to know from the beginning that the original scope and specifications of the project can’t be changed along the way, and this isn’t a good adaptable or versatile method. They will not know this unless you tell them.

While you do not need to bore associated with the specifics showing how the project will be managed, you do have to make it clear that whatever was agreed upon at the beginning will be the final result. These people can’t change their particular mind and include a feature or eliminate something in 3 months.

Trick #4: Leave Sufficient time For Testing

Due to the rigorous nature of these tasks, it’s common designed for project teams to feel rushed because deadlines approach.

Don’t assume that things will go smoothly in the assessment phase. If enough issues are found, a lot more work might be required to fix them. Too many project managers underestimate the testing timeline, causing them to miss deadlines and go over budget.

It’s better to arrange for the worst and leave yourself some extra time here. If the testing goes nicely, nobody will be upset if the project is usually delivered early. Several people won’t be happy if stuff are delivered late, especially if it expenses more money.

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