What is Waterfall testing?

In this blog, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about Waterfall testing in software development. We will explain what it is, why it matters, how it is done, and how you can carry out the testing you need for your projects. 

Let’s jump right into it. 

The definition of Waterfall testing

The Waterfall model is an approach to software development. It is a systematic and methodical approach that sees development teams flow through linear stages, without returning to or repeating any previous stage.

Just as the water flows through a waterfall in a continually-moving, never-looking-back fashion, development works in the same way through a Waterfall approach to development. Developers must complete each stage of a Waterfall model entirely before they can move on to the next stage. This includes the six stages of requirements, analysis, design, coding, testing, and deployment.

Waterfall testing is a stage within this wider model and it follows the same principles and structures. Waterfall testing is often compared to Agile testing as these are the two main options for testing within software development, however, the two have very different approaches to the act of testing throughout the model. 

In the Waterfall testing methodology, testing is treated as an entirely separate process from the rest of the development, rather than a stage within the development itself. Testing and development teams work separately and testing is only carried out once development has been considered “completed”. All sorts of testing types are included, such as regression testing and acceptance testing, however, again, these are only carried out after development has been completed and not at the end of each iteration as we would see in an Agile approach.

The pros and cons of Waterfall testing 

The pros and cons of Waterfall testing include:



  • Clear, cohesive structure: The structure of Waterfall testing is very clear and defined. This makes the approach easy to follow and quick to adapt by the team. Everyone knows what they are doing and when they should be doing it. 

  • Development can progress quickly: As testing is left to the end of a product or component’s completion, development can carry on quickly, effectively and without interruption. For prototypes, MVPs, and products that we simply want to get onto the market quickly, using a Waterfall testing approach can help speed things along. 


  • Developers and testers can work independently: With a Waterfall testing methodology, software developers and testers are free to work independently on their own stages of work. As the two stages of development and testing don’t overlap, neither does the work of either role. Allowing the two roles to work separately can increase time efficiency in your project and help reduce overbilling of hours. 

  • Adaptable to any project’s complexity: The simple structure of a Waterfall approach is adaptable to projects of any complexity. It is an easy-to-learn, easy-to-pick-up approach that can be adopted by any team. 


  • Documentation: Waterfall projects are heavily documented, meaning that all members of the team can easily understand what their role is, what work they should be doing, and what the overall structure of the project looks like. Having such documentation available for and from testing helps everything proceed with cohesion and cooperation. 




  • Rigidity: The Waterfall testing methodology is quite rigid in nature. It does not allow for flexibility of testing throughout a project and it leaves testing to one, confined space and time. For some projects, this may feel inhibiting.

  • Time delays: As developers and testers are working independently of each other throughout Waterfall testing, it is possible for time delays to form in the project. This is in direct comparison to an Agile approach to testing where we might see continuous improvement through simultaneous development and testing. 


  • Missing early opportunities: Due to the nature of Waterfall testing, it is possible that certain bugs and errors will continue throughout development for a long time. In an Agile approach, these bugs would be discovered much earlier and rectified before they would have time to continue. It can be a disadvantage to lose this opportunity for early bug identification.


The big picture

Overall, Waterfall testing is an approach that has its ups and downs. On one hand, it is a simple and methodical structure that allows a software development company or team to work solidly towards their goal and fairly divide tasks of development and testing. It is a well-documented approach that lends itself to clarity and cohesion. 

On the other hand, the structure is rigid and does not lend itself to flexibility. It can allow simple bugs to slip through the net and stay there for a while, while also providing a chance for time delays. 

Waterfall testing methodologies are classic in the world of software. It is an old and reliable structure that has led many projects to success. Would some projects benefit more from an Agile testing approach? Absolutely, but that is why both options exist for your development team to choose from.

How to choose the right testing model


When it comes to choosing the right testing model for your project, you will need to consider a couple of different aspects, including:


  • The size of your project
  • The size and capabilities of your team
  • Project time scale
  • Budget
  • Client expectations


Ultimately, both testing options have a lot to offer but picking the right option for your project is very important. 


With all important decisions, it is worthwhile to consult the experts. At 6B, we can consult and advise you at each stage of your software development journey. We can help you figure out the best options for you and then get to working providing them ourselves as a bespoke software development company. 


If you want to meet your business goals once and for all, the right software project handled perfectly is the way to go.




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