Waterfall vs. Card Wall

This introduction article will help users to determine which type of project plan is most appropriate when managing a project in TDNext. The user must have the Create Plans permission in TDNext.


This article identifies the differences in functionality between waterfall and card wall project plans in TeamDynamix. Waterfall plans can be managed with the web plan manager in TDNext or Windows based Plan Manager applications, while card wall plans are managed using the card wall user interface in TDNext. Waterfall plans are designed to manage complex plans like those with interdependent tasks and shared task responsibility. Card wall plans are designed to manage simple plans with independent tasks which are executed by collaborative teams.

Once created, it is not possible to convert plans from card wall to waterfall or vice versa. Carefully consider which plan features would be most appropriate for your project before creating a project plan.

Where to Find This

TDNext is where project managers may create project plans of either type. Navigate to Plans following this path for both waterfall and card wall plans:

TDNext > Projects > [project name] > Plans

Alternatively, for waterfall plans, the Windows Plan Manager application may be used.  This application may be downloaded and installed from:

TDNext > Downloads > Windows Plan Manager

Differences Between Waterfall and Card Wall Plans

Card Wall Plan Features

Card Walls provide a more visual and collaborative means for managing work through lists of cards.  The lists can be customized to suit a team’s needs, such as to support a development team’s process for how work travels through various statuses.  A custom list set up may be created in a Project Template for re-use. In addition, Cards will show up as tasks in reports and desktop modules that currently display task information.

The following features are specific to Card Wall plans: 

  1. Start / End Dates optional
  2. Real Time Updates
  3. Drag and Drop Status Updates
  4. Drag and Drop Percent Complete Updates
  5. Subtask checklists
  6. Color coding of tasks
  7. Work in Progress Limits
  8. Task Archive
  9. Inactive (hidden) Lists

Waterfall Plan Features

Waterfall plans provide more support for a complex task structure.  Since waterfall plans may be more involved to manage, they use a locking feature for editing the plans.  Project managers can create dependencies between tasks and create schedules for when tasks occur.  Milestone functionality allows for identification of key delivery points in the project that may be used in reporting to summarize progress or show upcoming deliverables. 

The following features are specific to Waterfall plans:

  1. Check in / check out editing
  2. Required start and end dates for tasks
  3. Milestones
  4. Shifting
  5. Predecessors/Dependencies
  6. External Dependencies to other waterfall plans in the same or different projects
  7. Parent/Child tasks
  8. Plan Export/Import
  9. Add Time for Other User (available from TDNext Task Edit)
  10. Cut/Copy/Paste Tasks
  11. Foreground Color
  12. Baselining tasks / milestones (available via Windows Plan Manager)
  13. Offline editing of plans (available via Windows Plan Manager)

An Approach for Using Both Card Wall and Waterfall Plans

Hybrid models for project management have become mainstream and project managers may want to explore how they can use both types of plans to effectively manage a project leveraging their respective benefits.  A project manager can use a waterfall plan to create milestones for the main project deliverables.  These milestones will have dates that may be used in reporting to summarize the project or look at upcoming deliverables across the portfolio.  The work to create and deliver those milestones could be done by teams via card walls.  Teams have gravitated more toward collaborating on work via card walls and the project manager can enable their resources to build out and manage their work.  The project manager can monitor the progress and reflect updates in the milestone plan accordingly.  While there are not direct associations between card wall and milestone plans, this allows the project manager to interpret the progress being made and reflect the status they feel is most accurate.

Project Plan Editing Permissions

To be able to edit a project plan the user will need all of the following:

  • Have access to the  TDNext > Projects application.
  • Be a member of the project to which the plan belongs.
  • Have the security role permission to Edit Plans.
  • Have the security role permission to Edit Tasks.

There are some scenarios where the user will see a read-only version of a plan. This happens when one of the following scenarios is true:

  • The user does not have access to the Projects application. They might only have the Analysis application to report on tasks or be a client user accessing project plan information via TDClient.
  • The user does not belong to the project associated with the plan. Users not on the project cannot edit plans in other projects.
  • The project is inactive. The project is not workable and thus plans cannot be edited.
  • The project is closed or cancelled. The project is not workable and thus plans cannot be edited.
  • It should also be noted that if a project is copied, the copy is marked as "inactive" by default. This means that copied projects cannot have their plans edited until they have been reactivated.

Project Plan Viewing Access

In most cases, the system will only give users access to projects they are a member of.

Administrators who have access to the Analysis application can view closed or deactivated projects, and projects they are not members of.

To access plans from the Analysis application:

  1. In TDNext, navigate to Applications > Analysis.
  2. Click Active Projects Search in the left navigation.
  3. Locate the desired project.

    To see Closed or Inactive projects, click the filter icon on the right end of the toolbar.
    Select Inactive Projects, Closed Projects or Both.
    Click the Apply button.

  4. Click the project name.
  5. In the Project Details window, click Task Plan in the left navigation.
  6. Select the desired plan from the Task Plan list to see the plan details.


Card Wall Uses

  • Software development life cycle
  • Agile project management
  • List brainstorming / collaboration
  • Simple project management

Waterfall Uses

  • Infrastructure project management
  • Complex management with intricate relationships between tasks
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Article ID: 7449
Tue 7/7/15 2:00 PM
Wed 8/9/23 6:06 PM

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