Difference between Prototype Model and Waterfall Model

Earlier we discussed Waterfall model and Prototype Model in detail, now let’s evaluate the difference between the two of these Software Development Life Cycles(SDLC).

For development of Quality software, a company has to consider the following points:-
1) It meets the requirements of the client,
2) It is developed within a specific timeframe,
3) Software development process should be completed within planned budget.

In order to achieve aforesaid goals, various Software development models have evolved over the years. Before discussing the distinguishing factors in Waterfall and Prototype models, I would suggest you to go through the following articles for proper understanding about them.

1) What is Waterfall Model? (opens in new window)
2) Advantages and Disadvantages of Waterfall Model (opens in new window)
3) What is Prototype Model in SDLC? Its advantages and disadvantages (opens in new window)

Note that waterfall model is one of the most traditional processes, while prototyping is a more non-conventional one.

Prototype Model Vs Waterfall Model


I hope after going through the above articles, you have understood a fair bit about both the development processes. The basic difference in the two approaches is that, Waterfall Model is more rigid compared to Prototyping approach.

We take the inputs from the user/client only till the start of designing phase of SDLC, while in prototype model we have constant interaction with the client and his inputs and suggestions are taken into consideration.

In prototyping we use evolutionary approach while in waterfall model we have a sort of linear, conventional approach.

Waterfall Model is implemented in the projects where conventional product/software has to be delivered to the client. In such cases user is sure and clear about his requirements. He states them clearly to the development team and chances of ambiguity is bare minimum. While Prototype model is usually used in online projects where client is not sure about his requirements, his expectations and preferences need to be taken care of.

Which model you should prefer Waterfall or Prototype?

Before deciding which process to go for, study the client requirements. We should also try to read his mind in order to judge whether he is sure and clear about his requirements. Incase he is not clear about them, it is advisable to go for prototyping model.

Cost incurred in making a prototype is usually an issue, but one also needs to ensure that the end product should satisfy the customer and if the final product doesn’t, then the whole activity of software development will be a waste of time and money.

Final verdict: Software requirement specifications(SRS) is the most important document in any development process, and if requirements are clear from customer's side, go for Waterfall model. At any given day, the cost of implementing Waterfall process is less than prototype process.

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