What is Waterfall Development?

Waterfall product development is a software development lifecycle which follows a logical progression of a project lifecycle that follows steps down from initiation to completion which resembles that of a waterfall. The overall workflow of a waterfall product development lifecycle is a more traditional model and assumes gates that are passed through to proceed to the next step.

A typical product development waterfall methodology would resemble:

1. Requirements:

This is the specific business requests that are to be implemented and the needs that the business team wants the development team to accomplish. This stage completes with a business requirements specification reviewed and ready to hand off to the development team.

2. Analysis:

During this stage, the impact of the requirements on the product are reviewed and considered by the technical analysts or programmers to better understand the effort of the changes and the scope of the requests.

3. Design:

During design the specific business requirements are converted into functional design and technical design requirements which describe the functional and technical solutions that would need to be created to implement the solution for the requirements.

4. Coding:

The most popular stage, at this point the source code is written based on the technical and functional design documentation created.

5. Testing:

While there can be multiple rounds of testing from developer, quality assurance, user acceptance and additional rounds beyond that, testing is the validation that the changes meet the initial business requirements requested and report issues to be fixed within the same testing stage.


How do I define the scope of work for any given Release in Product HQ?

As a product manager, you can establish your product roadmap and planned releases within the product roadmap module and view a Gantt chart of your release schedule for the duration you plan out your roadmap. Within each release you create, you can define the features that you would like to include inside of the scope of the release.

How can requirements be tracked within Product HQ?

Within each feature that is created regardless if the feature is promoted from an idea or created directly by the product manager, all feature management include the ability to define the high level feature description and detailed individual requirements for the specific feature that needs to be implemented. You can also attach documents to your features for example mock ups, word documents or other documents that you want to include and save as artifacts with the feature request.

Within Product HQ you can setup departments and employees so you can quickly organize your team into roles such as analysts, developers, testers and business owners and from there be able to grant access to update the key parts of the workflow that aligns with the department they serve.

How can I track key milestones for a release such as the requirement due date or testing start date?

Within each waterfall product development release you can define the key milestone and milestone dates you are tracking for that project. This is fully customizable so if you want to track the business requirement documentation due date, the walk through, design dates, coding start, testing start or any other key date that your software development team follows, you can set those up within a feature to ensure all project team members have the visibility into the milestones always.

As you build out your product roadmap for the next 1, 3 or 5 years you can quickly see all of the releases that are planned and get a much better feel of when certain due dates are for subsequent releases

How do I breakdown the scope of a release to my development and testing teams?

Once you have the scope defined you can kick off your waterfall product development lifecycle with the features added and the requirements setup within your features for any given release. You can assign out the features of a release to each developer working on your team so they can complete their design work and update the feature accordingly.

Once the design is complete you can update the status of the feature to notify your product manager that the feature is ready to begin coding when you reach that stage. Once all features are ready, you can begin your coding stage.

After coding has completed and your team is entering the next milestone to begin testing, you can simply update the feature assignments to the appropriate testing resources related to the features so they can take ownership of the testing and ensure the status is updated to testing complete once all issues are worked through.

During testing or at the conclusion, there may be additional ideas or outstanding issues that were not fully completed but were signed off upon. These can be created as ideas created by your team or promoted directly into features so they are considered in future release scoping discussions.


The Waterfall product development methodology is a much more structured process of taking subsequent steps to finish a project. As a result, you need an easy way to quickly organize all of the business requirements that you need to account for in your projects and have a way to promote those into releases in order to start out with your initial scope of work. Product HQ makes this process easy and gives you the flexibility to quick update and modify release scope.

Once organized and the release kicks off, you can use Product HQ to define your feature requirements, track the ownership during development and testing and communicate out the milestones and due dates of all moving parts of your release to ensure everyone is always on the same page.

Do you use a Waterfall product development methodology and need help organizing your workflow? Give Product HQ a try today!