If you are involved in salesforce development, either from the perspective of a buyer or developer, you will know even the simplest tasks can become a drawn-out process. Each twist, turn and change of your mind adds time, complexity and budget to each project.

The project management method you use can have a huge impact on the success of the project. There are two main approaches to this – agile or waterfall. Each has its own implications and difficulties.

Choose a method from the start – and stick to it.

In scenarios where the number one priority of development is the outcome itself, there can be a fair amount of leeway with regards to budgets. However, in the commercial world, a lot of the time things just aren’t like that.  Whoever you are on the project, the budget will always be the main considerations, from the planning stages right through to implementation and support.

For this reason, it helps to know exactly which methodology a software development project will be using from the start, to ensure it meets your budgetary requirements. This will enable you to work consistently throughout the entire project, more easily meeting expectations.

But which method do you use? Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of each one.

What is Agile project management?

The agile methodology was designed specifically for projects which are likely to need the periodical reassessment of project objectives, timelines, and in some cases, budgets. As testing or research is done – typically in short periods known as ‘sprints’ – the scope and length of the project are continually re-evaluated. This occurs at the end of the sprint.

The agile methodology certainly has its advantages in software development projects which naturally evolve as the development itself takes place. But be warned; when it comes to budgets, the agile methodology typically applies no set guidelines. On the contrary, the budget scope can go up and down each week, depending on the outcomes of the most recent sprint.

If it is an absolute priority for your budget to be set in stone, you might want to be cautious when giving the green light to an agile project. However, with careful project management, trusted development teams and an internal management structure that makes sure testing and feedback are completed on time, agile can sometimes, not always, offer you a richer more involved solution than waterfall, especially for longer, multi-sprint and multi-departmental projects.

What is Waterfall project management?

Waterfall methodologies, on the other hand, present a different way to get the job done. They are constructed from eight sequences, in the following order:

– Conception

– Initiation

– Analysis

– Design

– Construction

– Testing

– Implementation

– Maintenance.

The objectives of each sequence, as set out during the planning phase, must be completed before moving on to the next sequence.

While the goals of the overall project typically do not vary as the development moves on, neither does the budget, which has been agreed by the relevant parties before work started. In this respect, if you are dead set on a project which doesn’t throw up any surprises, then a more structured waterfall methodology is certainly for you.

Waterfall is often used by Salesforce partners due to the depth and breadth of Salesforce. Using waterfall for the first phase of a project will help set precedence and a work ethic that, as the methodologies merge later on to give more flexibility, or go fully agile, time frames, budget and the end outcomes are still at the cornerstone of the process.

So which method should I use?

If your focus is on completing a full brief, regardless of the time or budget needed, then waterfall is the right method for you. However, in the real world where expectations evolve as the project progresses, it can be better to use agile. In reality, you will have to use your own discretion to decide which method is better for your project.

If you would like to know a little more about our methodologies and how we carry out our processes, speak to a member of our team or view our services.