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    App Development Method: Agile vs Waterfall 


    May 17, 2024
    agile vs waterfall

    Building a mobile app is a tricky puzzle because it requires careful planning, coding, testing, and iteration to create a user-friendly experience that meets the needs of both businesses and users. Different methods of mobile app development exist, such as Waterfall, Rapid Application Development (RAD), and Agile. This article will discuss Agile Scrum and Waterfall methods in detail. If you’re wondering “how can I create my own app?” and which method suits your needs, keep reading. We’ll break it down step by step. 

    Application Development Process in General 

    Even though developing a mobile app is a long process, but based on our experience as a software developer in Australia usually these are the app development process in general:

    Ideation And Defining Goals

    The first step to making an app is to determine the ideation and goals of the mobile app. Is it designed to simplify tasks, provide essential services, or facilitate connections? Also, define the app concept; who will use it? What platform do you want to build this app on? This clarity is like finding your foundation—it sets the direction for every decision you make while developing a mobile app. When you don’t have a strong foundation on mobile app development, the result might not be what you’re expecting, or the budget will be over from what you estimated.


    Prototyping is crucial in making a mobile app to ensure that it functions as intended and aligns with your initial ideas and goals. It is a key step in the mobile app development process, allowing you to gather valuable feedback from users. By creating prototypes, you can visualise how your app will perform according to its requirements and design. It’s like testing the waters before diving in, helping you refine your app and create a seamless user experience.


    The coding phase splits into two essential parts: backend and frontend. Backend work involves crafting databases and setting up the server, where developers choose the best programming languages to start coding the mobile app. On the other hand, the frontend is where users engage the most. 

    During the development phase, the effort from the developers will be different depending on the development platforms. Here, app creation can follow three main platforms: 

    1. Platform Specific

    Apps created this way are tailored exclusively for each mobile platform, meaning separate coding for iOS and Android. 

    2. Cross-platform

    Using a cross-platform approach, an app runs on various platforms with just one codebase, simplifying development. 

    3. Hybrid

    Hybrid mobile app development involves creating mobile applications that combine elements of both native and web applications. These apps are built using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript but are packaged as native apps, allowing them to be deployed across different platforms like iOS and Android.

    Quality Assurance

    After completing the development phase of your mobile app, it’s crucial to move on to testing. This stage ensures that your app is stable, secure, and bug-free. Here are some key aspects to consider during the testing process:

    1. Functionality Testing
    Ensure that all features and functionalities of the app are working as intended.

    2. User Experience Testing
    Test the app’s usability and user interface to ensure a seamless and intuitive experience for users

    3. Performance Testing
    Check the app’s speed, responsiveness, and performance under different conditions.

    4. Security Testing
    Verify that the app is secure and protected against potential threats or vulnerabilities.

    5. Device and Platform Testing
    Test the app on various devices and platforms (iOS, Android) to ensure compatibility and consistency across different environments.

    By conducting thorough testing across these areas, you can identify and address any issues or shortcomings before launching your app to ensure a smooth and successful user experience.


    After the testing stage, ensuring that the app is bug-free and can function properly, the last stage is deploying the app to the market. Whether on App Store for iOS app or Play Store for Android app. On Play Store, there is a one-time US$25 fee to make an account on Google Play Developer Console. For App Store, you will need to sign up to their Apple Developer Program with a fee of US$99 per year. There are several things to prepare when you’re going to deploy the app:  

    • Your app’s title  
    • Short description  
    • Description  
    • Category  
    • Keywords  
    • Launch icon  
    • App store screenshots  
    • Banner graphic  

    Agile vs Waterfall, What is That? 

    Waterfall Development Methodology 

    In the waterfall development methodology, building a mobile app follows a linear and sequential path, like water flowing down a waterfall. Each phase of development, such as planning, design, development, testing, and deployment, happens one after the other in a fixed order. Once a phase is completed, you move on to the next one, and there’s no going back. It’s like climbing a ladder; you can easily take steps and change direction. 

    Pros of Waterfall Methodology 
    The waterfall model provides a clear and structured approach to development 
    Offers predictability in terms of timelines, budget, and deliverables 
    This methodology emphasises thorough documentation at each stage, including requirements, design specifications, and test plans. 
    The waterfall model works well for projects with stable and well-defined requirements. 


    Agile development methodology 

    In agile development methodology, building a mobile app is like assembling a puzzle one piece at a time. Instead of following a fixed plan from start to finish, agile breaks the project into small chunks called “sprints.” Each sprint focuses on delivering a small, working part of the app, allowing for quick feedback and adjustments. It’s like building a house room by room, where you can see progress and make changes. 

    Pros of Agile Methodology 
    Agile allows for flexibility and adaptability throughout the development process. 
    Promotes a culture of constant improvement, with regular feedback loops and opportunities for reflection and adjustment. 
    Encourages active involvement of stakeholders throughout the development process, fostering collaboration. 
    Enables faster time to market by breaking the project into small, manageable chunks and delivering working software incrementally. 


    Differences Between Agile and Waterfall 

      Waterfall  Agile  
    Timeline  Waterfall follows a set timeline. The project’s start and end dates are decided at the beginning.  Agile methodology offers greater flexibility and allows for experimentation with various approaches. Instead of adhering to a rigid timeline, the schedule adjusts and evolves as the project unfolds. 
    Client Involvement  After setting the end goal in Waterfall methodology, the client or project owner typically isn’t involved in the process, except for occasional check-ins or when deliverables are due. The project’s path is defined upfront, so there’s limited room for incorporating client feedback as the project progresses.  In Agile, clients are actively involved in the project development from start to finish. The main goal is to keep clients happy by delivering useful software early and consistently. This means business owners should participate and share their thoughts with the development team as the project moves forward. 
    Flexibility  Waterfall is less flexible than Agile because each phase must finish before starting the next one. It’s like following a fixed plan from the beginning to the end. This approach works well for teams that have a clear idea of what they want to achieve right from the start.  In the Agile method, flexibility is key. Instead of tackling big chunks of work all at once, Agile breaks tasks into small parts called “sprints.” This approach allows teams to adjust their plans easily, even if they get new ideas or information later in the project. 
    Budget  The project budget is usually set from the beginning and doesn’t change much. Since the project is planned all at once, there’s not a lot of flexibility to adjust the budget while the project is ongoing.  Agile is all about being flexible. It’s okay to try new things and change direction, even if you’re already deep into the project. This means the budget can be more flexible too. 


    When Can We Use the Method? 

    agile vs waterfall development

    We have discussed the waterfall and agile methodology differences and pros and cons on mobile app development. Now let’s take a look at the projects example that use both method here. 

    If you’re still unsure about which methodology is best for your mobile app development, contact us now. 


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