Waterfall is a project management methodology with sets of processes designed for environments where the future solution can be predicted and documented.
Agile frameworks are designed for complex environments where the future solution is unknown, so plans and solutions are iterated as more is known.
The differences in these approaches means that agile tends to be more successful than waterfall.
Methodoligies are processed based and define all of the rules, artefacts, tasks and decision-making points that are required. In essence, a methodology is a complete set of rules and processes. PRINCE2 is an example of a project management “methodology”.
Frameworks, like SAFe however, are designed to be incomplete. While this means they are lightweight and highly adaptable, they often require significant expertise to make them successful. Some frameworks, like Scrum, provide a bottom-up approach. Ultimately, there is no “agile project managementmethodology” — they’re all frameworks.
The essential difference between Waterfall and agile frameworks like Scrum is in its predictive versus adaptive practices. Importantly, Waterfall is a methodology. It employs processes that assume if you follow them, you’ll have successful delivery. Scrum, however, while it has a high level plan and objectives, empolys empiricm to inspect increments of potentially releasable product and then adapts to any changes needed in a plan for the next 2 weeks.
Due to its inherent ability to adapt to change, research indicates that agile frameworks like Scrum are more successful.
Download the infographic of agile vs waterfall.