The paper "Waterfall Model of Systems Development Life Cycle" is an outstanding example of a research paper on social science. The Waterfall model is based on linear stages of development and support, it is based a sequence of stages in which the output for the previous stage leads to the developmental issues for the next stage.
The stages in the waterfall model include, but not restricted to:
1. Project Planning (Feasibility) Study – an overview of the entire project, and the determination of goals and objectives;
2. Systems Analysis – Conversion of goals and objectives into functionality or desired operational function of the application, as well as end-user requirements and functionality issues;
3. Systems Design – More in-depth design of features, functions, and application of the system. Detailed screen ‘shots’, workflow diagrams and related documentation are provided here;
4. Implementation – Actual programming code and design code is created;
5. Integration and Testing – All systems processes and designs are brought together in a testing phase, where the application is tested for inadequacies and faults.
6. Installation – once the system has been accepted the product is installed for actual live usage, and therefore enters production.
7. Maintenance – effectively the support that the software company provides to the end-user or client.
Risks inherent to the Waterfall Model
It is difficult for the end-user or client to specifically state what they require in terms of a holistic software solution, and the risk that is associated with the waterfall model is never-ending systems design. This is due to the fact that any business is ever evolving, so, therefore, their software solutions and integrated management policies and procedures need to follow suit, in order to remain competitive and profitable.
Therefore the development company remains in a constant consultative role and continually streamlining and designing new and existing systems.
Planning and Management Difficulties Associated with the Waterfall Model
Planning of the model and the steps entailed is hampered by the end-users inability to exactly describe the desired application. This leads to a circular process of work, as once the project is implemented, the customer will return with new requirements, effectively taking the entire process back to the Systems Analysis phase for re-defining goals and objectives within the application. Thus the planning of the project carries on as long as the customer has any changes or developments. This, to the development company, means that the project will never be retired and will continue indefinitely. Other potential difficulties which would have to be managed, is the application of understanding and patience with the end user, as each and every situation arises.
An effective management strategy to apply here would be to obtain full consensus on the design and implementation of the project in advance, with specific reference to the decided upon functionality, and alteration or further development is viewed as additional or alternative developmental work.