The Waterfall Model is an organized method of software development and software engineering, most commonly used in software development processes. The model suggests that development be structured into a sequence of specific, well-defined phases that can be executed in a linear fashion. The result of each phase brings the project one step closer to completion, resembling a waterfall of cascading phases.

The Waterfall Model was first described in a paper by Dr. Winston Royce in 1970. In this paper, Royce wrote that software development is often an iterative process, and the Waterfall Model was only one of many possible development processes. Though Royce recommended against using it as a primary approach, the Waterfall Model gained traction throughout the software engineering community, and has since become one of the most widely used software development models.

The Waterfall Model is characterized by rigidly defined phases that should be met during the development process. These phases include:

1. Requirements Gathering: The development team begins by gathering all the requirements for the software product. This phase includes elements like determining the desired features, scopes, and boundaries of the project, as well as determining how the software will be tested.

2. Design: Next, the team begins to design the architecture of the software, including the functionality that will be implemented, the interface design, and the hardware and software environment the software will run in.

3. Implementation & Testing: Once the design is complete, the actual implementation and testing of the software can begin. The team will write the code, debug, and test the software, resolving any issues that arise.

4. Deployment: In the deployment phase, the team will deploy and install the software onto the customer’s computer or network.

5. Maintenance: Finally, once the software has been deployed, the developers will need to provide ongoing support, bug fixes, and other maintenance tasks to ensure the software is running as expected.

The Waterfall Model is often seen as a simple, easy-to-follow model for development that facilitates better project organization. The model is also criticized for its inflexibility, since it does not allow for change once the project has begun.

Despite its limitations, the Waterfall Model is still used widely in the software engineering community as a favored approach for software development. The simplicity and rigid structure of the model make it a good choice for many initiatives.

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