Waterfall project management is a traditional methodology originally based on civil engineering and construction projects but later on adapted for software engineering and IT projects. The sequential nature of the Waterfall model places project teams in a highly structured environment. The best tools for Waterfall project management enable teams to proceed from one phase to the next in a sequential, seamless way to meet the project’s schedule, budget, and scope.
In evaluating tools that facilitate the waterfall methodology, how do three top PM tools — monday, Wrike, and Smartsheet — compare?
Best Tools for Waterfall Project Management
Here are our recommended project management tools for managing waterfall projects. These top project management software solutions will allow teams to keep well-defined projects from exceeding their schedule and budget.
monday.com is an online platform for project management and other workflows. It enables project teams to centralize all information in a single place and plan projects using waterfall or any other method from start to finish. It includes modern features like custom dashboards, multiple work views, and team collaboration.
monday.com has an interactive Gantt chart that allows a team to plan, execute, and track projects using the Waterfall method with a visual and flexible platform. Users can set dependencies to make sure team members complete tasks on schedule and in the proper sequence. They can easily keep track of milestones and visualize important dates to deliver projects on time. Other features include automation, real-time updates, project dashboards, and project templates.
Read our complete review on monday.com.
How to Use Waterfall with monday.com
monday.com offers a template center where users can choose a Waterfall project template to get the project started quickly. Users can further customize the template by setting up groups for each project phase. They can add tasks, assign each task to a team member, and set a due date and a status.
When the project is ready to launch, teams can select the timeline or Gantt view to visualize the time frame for each task. The project leader can also set up milestones and task dependencies to inform all stakeholders of priorities and the sequence of tasks.
Wrike helps improve work visibility, enables cross-departmental collaboration, and offers task automation. This customizable tool allows teams to configure dashboards, workflows, request forms, and other features to match exact project requirements, including setups for Waterfall management.
Wrike includes an interactive Gantt chart to help teams visualize plans and progress. Its drag-and-drop interface allows users to create and share intuitive timeline views, task dependencies, shareable snapshots, baseline, and critical path analyses. Any adjustment of assignee, dates, or duration will reflect on the chart immediately and alert all impacted team members. Of course, users can also print the Gantt chart. They can import data from spreadsheets, MS Project, and other project management tools.
How to Use Waterfall with Wrike
To set up a Waterfall workflow in Wrike, users need to first break down the project into the smaller tasks needed to move the team towards the project objective. From the Task List view, users can add all the tasks, set dates for each task, and also fill in task descriptions for a better understanding of the tasks. Users can also set a milestone at the end of a project phase and at the end project, or set it later on.
Users then need to switch to the Timeline view and display the tasks in a Gantt chart. Setting dependencies is easily accomplished by dragging a line from the end of the previous task to the beginning of the next task. Wrike will automatically reschedule all dependency-connected tasks if a start or due date of a task changes. The Gantt chart will also color-code the tasks to show progress updates. It also has filters to display specific work statuses, task owners, dates, or other criteria.
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Smartsheet is a cloud-based project management platform for the whole enterprise. It is flexible for different use cases and departments with a variety of work views, reports, and dashboards. It tracks plans, tasks, resources, and schedules to allow teams using Waterfall or other project management methodologies to align work, people, and technology.
Smartsheet enables users to switch views between grid, Gantt, and calendar views of the same data for visualization of tasks. Users can set up a Gantt chart with dependencies to create a critical path. It has a drag-and-drop interface to easily adjust dates. Other features are automatic updates, real-time communication, and secure permission controls.
How to Use Waterfall with Smartsheet
Users can display tasks in sheets and reports as bars in a timeline with a Gantt chart. Smartsheet will display any sheet or report with at least two date columns in Gantt view. In this view, the chart appears to the right of the columns with a divider splitting the screen between grid columns and the Gantt chart. Users can drag this divider to the left or right to widen the display of either section.
In the Gantt chart view, users can set dependencies and track relationships between tasks to ensure the proper sequencing. Users can also display the percent completion of tasks and view the critical path of the project. Smartsheet can filter multiple sheets so teams can see only tasks in the critical path. Project managers can share the timeline in PDF to keep all stakeholders informed of the project status.
More Featured Partners: Project Management Software
If you’re interested in learning more about other top-rated project management software, the editors at Project-Management.com actively recommend the following:
Wrike is the most powerful work management platform on the market, enabling teams to plan projects and collaborate in real time. Our award-winning software is trusted by 20,000+ companies across the globe, including Sony, Estée Lauder, and Siemens.
Wrike’s customizable features include Gantt charts, request forms, dashboards, cross-tagging, time tracking, and proofing. Integrate with 400+ apps from the likes of Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce. Automate repetitive tasks and achieve 50% faster planning. Work from anywhere with 100% access to your files via our mobile and desktop apps.
Whether you’re a small startup or an established brand, Wrike has the solution for you. Paid plans start at $9.80/user/month. Join our community of 2.3 million — start your free two-week trial today.
monday.com Work OS is an award-winning no-code work management platform that helps teams manage projects and workflows more efficiently.
Used by 152,000+ customers worldwide, this fully customizable software lets you plan, manage, and track every project in one place. monday.com offers time-saving and easy-to-use features such as automations, time tracking, document sharing, and real-time collaboration. Multiple board views such as Gantt and Kanban help you structure and navigate tasks and projects the way you prefer, and dashboards give a high-level overview of your progress.
In addition, integrations with apps such as Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Gmail, and Excel, allow you to easily continue working with your favorite tools from within the platform. monday.com also offers dedicated solutions, such as monday dev and monday sales CRM, designed to answer the needs of specific industries.
Smartsheet is a leading work execution platform that has real-time work management features, collaboration and automation tools. Users are presented with a familiar and easy-to-use spreadsheet-like interface. However, it has enterprise-grade capabilities that even Fortune 500 companies like Cisco, Bayer, HP, and PayPal are confident to adopt in their business. Strong project management features enable teams to utilize different views of real-time data, and switch easily from Gantt, card, grid and calendar views. Smartsheet has automatic update requests, and can be used for waterfall and agile projects, product launch, sprint planning, and more. The resource management feature provides users the visibility who is busy, and who is not, in real-time. They can also attach files, share sheets, get notified, view the activity log, export, email, and print.
Zoho Projects is an online project management application that helps its users to plan projects, collaborate with employees and clients, keep track of time, manage documents, and generate charts and reports. Users work on a central platform where they can keep track of progress, discuss ideas, communicate easily and stay updated. It is cloud-based and highly accessible, where user data is kept safe with stringent security systems. The software is also scalable depending on the number of projects, with the option to add more features. Zoho Projects is a cloud-based project management tool that helps you plan your work, track it efficiently, and collaborate with your team wherever they are.
Cerri Project is a comprehensive PPM solution integrating project portfolio management and strategic planning features to drive value for your business.
Strategic execution of project portfolios, business initiatives and objectives.
Global capacity planning and visibility.
Streamlined workflows with process-driven project management.
Ready to Try a Project Management Tool for Your Waterfall Projects?
Many teams continue to use Waterfall project management today, especially for clearly defined projects with many moving parts within a structured workflow.
Even with Waterfall’s relatively straight-line approach to completing a project, however, its is a best practice for teams to use a single project management tool that is flexible enough to handle both linear, sequential models like Waterfall and iterative, adaptive models like Agile. Regardless of methodology, modern project management software is powerful enough to manage rapidly changing requirements and accommodate greater customer participation and collaboration.