Understanding the Waterfall Method: Stages, Strengths & Weaknesses

The process of developing a system certainly goes through several systematic stages to ensure that every requirement has been carried out. This systematic method is called Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and one example is the waterfall method.

The approach through the waterfall method is the oldest and natural way because each process is carried out in a coherent way from top to bottom, like a waterfall. Then actually, what is the waterfall method and what are the stages of the waterfall method? Come on, see the explanation in this article, bro!

Understanding the waterfall method

In essence, the waterfall method is a development concept that emphasizes systematic steps. Thus, the process of creating a system must be carried out sequentially, starting from the needs identification stage to the maintenance process.

That step is then analogous to a waterfall and flows from top to bottom. Each process is carried out step by step, should not be jumping, and carried out simultaneously. However, some people think that this process is less flexible, friend, because it can only be done in one direction.

id="tahapan-metode-waterfall">Stages of the waterfall method

The waterfall method was first introduced by Herbert D. Benington on June 29, 1956 at a Symposium on Advanced Programming Methods for Digital Computers. Through this presentation, Benington explains each stage of the waterfall method. Here’s the explanation:

Requirements Analysis

The first stage of the waterfall method is a needs analysis. Developers must conduct research to identify what user needs are from the system being built. This can be a reference in determining the services or features that need to be developed.

There are several ways to obtain this information, some of which are through interviews, surveys, or participating in related forum discussions to gain insight and related information.


Second, the stage of the waterfall method is the design and development process based on user information needs. The design is certainly done to make the work process easier and get a detailed picture of the appearance of a system.


addition, the design stage of this method also serves to identify the hardware and system requirements needed for the entire development process.

Also read: What is Software Engineering? Definition and How it Works

Implementation and Unit Testing

The third stage of the waterfall method is implementation that leads to the coding process. The system development process will go through stages in the form of small modules which at the next stage of the waterfall method will be combined.

In addition, inspection of every module that has been made is also checked in this phase. The goal is to ensure that the module fulfills its defined function and conforms to standards.

Integration and System Testing

The fourth stage refers to the process of integrating each module that has been created. After this process is complete, the developer will perform testing to check the functioning of the system as a whole. In addition, developers can also identify if there is a failure or error in the system.


After a series of systematic steps above, the maintenance of the system that has been created is the last stage of this method. The system has been distributed and used by users. What remains to be done is maintenance and ensure that the system continues to function properly.

This process usually includes improving the implementation of system units, fixing remaining or newly detected errors, and improving system performance tailored to user needs.

Also read: What is Big Data? Recognize the Benefits and Importance for Business

The advantages of the waterfall method

This method has a number of advantages that can be obtained in the implementation process. The following is an explanation of the advantages of the waterfall method:

Clear workflow

From the stages of the waterfall method above, of course it can be identified that this method has a clear workflow. Each process is carried out in stages and systematically so that the workflow becomes more measurable and clear. Each team can allocate their respective duties and responsibilities according to their area of ‚Äč‚Äčexpertise.

id="lebih-menghemat-biaya">More cost saving

The advantage of the second waterfall method is that the process does not require a lot of resources so it is more cost-effective. This happens because the client cannot participate in the development of an application system. Thus, the costs incurred are reduced.

Good documentation

Systematic and gradual so that every information and result will be recorded properly and distributed to all team members accurately and quickly. This is also useful for confirming and re-checking the tasks of each team because it can adjust the direction of the existing documentation.

Also read: What is Agile? This is the definition, benefits, principles, and types

Suitable for large-scale software development

The waterfall method is popular for use in large-scale software development. Complex procedures and large resources will be more easily coordinated through this method. However, this also does not rule out the possibility for medium or small scale development to apply this method.

Weaknesses of the waterfall method

In addition to the advantages of the waterfall method, there are several things that are weaknesses of this method. Here’s the explanation:

Less flexible

The systematic stages make this method less flexible to changes that may be needed in the middle of development. Each member of the developer must follow the instructions and standards that have been determined at the initial stage.

In addition, the client is also less able to provide suggestions or input to the development team during the manufacturing process. The process of expressing this opinion can only be done in the early stages, namely in the requirements phase or needs analysis.

Estimated turnaround time

The process is carried out in stages and does not allow simultaneous work also makes the waterfall method take longer. Therefore, this method has been considered too old by some.

Each process must be carried out individually so that there cannot be two different activities at the same time. For example, a developer should not start the coding process if the design team has not completed their task.

It’s hard to see a clear system picture

In the application of this method, other people outside the development team cannot see the whole concept and function of a system. They can only see after all stages have been completed, but not while it is still in the development process.

Well, now you understand, friend, what is the waterfall method. Basically, the purpose of implementing the waterfall method is to ensure that each stage is passed systematically and alternately. That way, the process carried out is also more focused and detailed. From the discussion above, are you interested in this method, friend?