How to Use the Waterfall Model in actiTIME

Photo by kevin charit on Unsplash

Looking for a perfect way to organize your work and increase team efficiency? In that case, the WATERFALL MODEL is a great thing to try out.

The Waterfall Model proudly wears the title of one of the oldest process models known today. It was first introduced in the software development industry, yet the simplicity and universality of this approach to project management make it a perfect match for any type of business imaginable. Plus, the Waterfall Model is very easy to set up and utilize in actiTIME, which allows for much better work monitoring outcomes.

So, What Is the Waterfall Model?

Simply put, it is a way of organizing your project activities in a gradual, cascade-like manner. When using it, you just need to consider your work process as a whole and divide it into several consecutive, logically connected phases, so that the end result of a preceding phase provides an input for the next one.

In the original version of the Waterfall Model by Dr. Winston W. Royce, each project phase produces an output that contributes essential information and materials to the consecutive phase:

The Waterfall Model
  1. Requirements | a list of all system and software requirements
  2. Analysis | a plan of how the company will proceed with project realization (business rules, software development methodologies, etc.)
  3. Design | a thought-through software architecture design
  4. Coding | a fully developed, proven and well-integrated code for the piece of software
  5. Testing | a debugged version of software, free of any defects
  6. Operations | software installation and maintenance

Following the process cycle suggested in the original Waterfall Model and completing each phase step by step, you’re bound to produce a properly functioning, high-quality piece of software. However, even if you operate in another industry and have nothing to do with software development, you may still implement the Waterfall Model, simply adjusting the listed steps to your specific needs.

For instance, the phases in the process of content marketing may include:

  1. Keyword research
  2. Plan development
  3. Content writing
  4. Design
  5. Editing
  6. Release

Within this work order, the outcomes of keyword research will serve as an input for plan development, while a content plan created at the second phase will provide the basis for content writing. And so on.

Just a brief look at your current (or desired) work plan will help you identify the phases to include in the Waterfall Model and understand which outputs they must result in.

How to Set the Waterfall Model in actiTIME

actiTIME features that allow users to adhere to the Waterfall Model with higher efficiency are the Kanban board and customizable workflow statuses.

The main purpose of the Kanban board is to visualize task progress. The board itself is divided into several columns that represent the varying phases in the work process (e.g., planning, in-progress, completed, etc.). By moving their tasks across the different sections of the board on a daily basis, users get a clear idea of where they currently are in terms of project progress. Thereby, the Kanban board lets teams control their performance more effectively.

In actiTIME, it’s possible to customize workflow / task statuses. It means nothing prevents you from creating a workflow in line with your Waterfall Model:

  1. Go to Workflow Settings,
  2. Click on + Add new status
  3. Type the name of the status (a Waterfall Model phase)
  4. Choose a preferable color code to associate with it
  5. Press on the Apply button
Workflow statuses in actiTIME
Workflow statuses in actiTIME

Once done, go to the Tasks interface and create a new project by clicking on + Add New and filling the necessary information in the opened window:

Create New Project in actiTIME
Create New Project in actiTIME

After that, you’ll be able to review the newly created project and tasks on the Kanban board:

  • Locate the view mode buttons in the upper right corner of the Tasks interface and choose Kanban there
  • Distribute your tasks across the appropriate sections of the board, linking each item to a relevant phase of the Waterfall Model
  • Start working on your project phase by phase, and whenever a task is completed, drag it to the completed tasks column
  • This way, you’ll see when all the tasks for a particular project phase are entirely closed, which is a sign that you can proceed to working on the next phase
Kanban board in actiTIME
Kanban board in actiTIME

Note: To introduce greater transparency into progress tracking, consider subdividing the primary workflow statuses into smaller groups. For instance, you may create such subgroups as:

  • Requirements — In-Progress
  • Requirements — Under Review
  • Requirements — Done
  • Coding — In-Progress
  • Coding — Under Review
  • Coding — Done
  • Design — In-Progress, etc.

This will let you monitor your progress in terms of both the completion of each process phase as a whole and every small task individually.

The Benefits of Waterfall Model

The Waterfall Model has many advantages:

  • It encourages teams to rigidly verify and evaluate the outcomes of every process phase (since moving further in the project cycle without diligent review of previously obtained work results may be costly)
  • It fosters superior control over different project processes, especially in case you have a well-developed schedule and realistic deadlines for every separate work phase
  • The model requires you to complete one phase at a time. Thereby, it prevents process overlaps and clarifies what’s to be done and when
  • This model is a perfect match for shorter and fewer complex projects with clearly set initial requirements that are not prone to constant changing
  • And in addition to all that, it is incredibly easy to utilize

Plus, by combining your Waterfall Model with actiTIME, you can attain even higher management efficiency and improve project progress monitoring. Sign up for a free 30-day trial today to capture the advantages of them both!

Originally posted at actitime.com

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