A blog about software development best practices, how-tos, and tips from practitioners.

Scrum vs Traditional SDLC Waterfall

The market of software development is extremely vast and complicated. There are various processes and methodologies, called as software development models, which are used by companies for the development and release of the software. The choice of the methodology often depends on multiple factors such as business needs, team expertise, type of application, business goals, development timeframe etc.

Each methodology presents a different approach to planning, design, development, testing, and overall project execution. In this article, let us examine two such methodologies – SDLC and SCRUM.

Software Development Life Cycle

 The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) model include the following stages

Scrum vs Agile Testing

There is more than one model in SDLC. Few traditional models of SDLC are Waterfall, V-Model, Spiral etc. Waterfall is the most famous and widely referred traditional SDLC models. 

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Today’s fast-paced business environment forces companies to quickly respond to the changing market conditions. To be able to stay competitive, products need to quickly adapt to the changes and demands in the market and roll out new features and additions at a fast pace. Software product companies are, therefore, increasingly turning to Agile development practices.

Agile is a methodology which has multiple frameworks like SCRUM, Kanban, Scrumban etc. SCRUM is the most powerful and structured methodologies of Agile. It is so said that “SCRUM is like a mother-in-law. Expects you to follow every principal that it has defined and is excellent in pointing out the flaws”.

Though both traditional SDLC and Agile have their own pros and cons, let us have a look at the major differences between Scrum and the traditional SDLC (Waterfall Model).




Traditional SDLC



Core Players

Business Analyst

Delivery Manager

Project Manager



Designer/UI Expert

Product Owner

Scrum Master

Cross Functional Scrum Team


Core Processes


Analysis, Design, Development,

Deployment needs to be done for every phase of the project.


Every phase of the project has multiple iterations. Analysis, Design, Development.

Deployment needs to be done in every iteration.


Release Timelines


Based on the overall project duration


Every 2 to 4 weeks


Idle Team Size


Focuses more on hand off. The team size can vary from 2 to 100’s members.


Prefers having smaller teams, between 2 to 8 team members with high coordination and collaboration.


Customer Availability


Customer involvement is more of milestone-based.


A more collaborative approach where customer involvement is high.


Change Management


Leans toward contract terms. The cost for a change could be higher if the change has a bigger impact on the design.


Is adaptive to changes. The cost for a change is lower as the scope is defined for smaller release timelines.




Emphasizes on building everything that has been given in the requirement. Increases the risk of having features built which do not add major value to the application.


Focuses on implementation of the most valuable features first. Reduces the risk of having unusable/deprecated features built in the application.


Project Size


Best for long duration projects which require a lot of documentation and multiple stakeholder involvements.


Flexible for projects as small as 2-3 weeks to projects that run for years together.




Works well with fixed price projects where the scope and agreement deviations are limited. ROI is achieved after successful deployment of the project.


Works well with T&M and non-fixed funding projects. With the right team, ROI can be seen in a shorter span of time.



Overall Thoughts


Even today, there are several large businesses which use waterfall methodologies in the software industry. I feel this best suits best for sectors like construction i.e. Building a bridge.


Having said that, even the construction sectors are now moving to Lean, Kanban (Agile) based approach to eliminate wastes from their process.


Scrum suits more for the fast-paced development environment or continuous production industry.


Everything said and done, knowledge is only good if it is implemented. Be it Agile or Waterfall, it can be only successful with the right set of experts who are instrumental in forming the right team in any project.

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