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Comparison between Waterfall and DevOps methodology


Technology evolves every minute, which also requires the improvement in the software development process methodologies in order to guarantee a smoother workflow. Nowadays, some of the most common software development that can be mentioned are Waterfall development methodology, Rapid application development methodology, Agile development methodology, DevOps deployment methodology. The bigger the size of the projects is, the more it requires an optimal methodology to manage the projects. Each methodology has different strengths and weaknesses and is suitable for each project. Today, I will help you to differentiate two methodologies – Waterfall and DevOps:

waterfall vs devops
How to differentiate Waterfall and DevOps methodologies?


Definition of Waterfall

The Waterfall model is the basic software development process developed by Dr Winston Royce in 1970. The workflow in this model is in only one direction like the water flow of a waterfall. It means the team can move to the next phase only after the previous one has been completed.

Waterfall model is the basic software development life cycle. Source: Hygger.

Definition of DevOps

DevOps is developed in Belgium in 2007. DevOps is the compound of development and operations. Its name itself implies that DevOps is like the bridge between software development and IT operations. The primary goal of DevOps is to improve the communication and collaboration of the project team and shorten the life cycle of software development.

devops definition


Work Phases

Six work phases in Waterfall

Basically, the Waterfall model is much similar to the software development life cycle with the following phases followed in order:

  • Requirements: In the initial phase, the requirements of clients will be carefully analysed as detailed as possible for all development in the future. The more clearly and specifically the requirements are defined, the better it is for all the next steps.
  • Analysis: The business logic, models and schema are generated in this stage.
  • Design: In this phase, the team will decide which platforms, programming languages, frameworks, services etc. to apply in the application.
  • Coding: This phase is related to writing source code, implementing models specified in the previous phases, and integrating software.
  • Testing: QA team is responsible for discovering and reporting bugs in the app then fixing them before the operation.
  • Operations: The application is ready to be deployed and delivered. The application may require periodic support and maintenance to keep it up-to-date.

Work stages of DevOps

DevOps is a cross-functional model, therefore, the team doesn’t use a single tool but sets of tools, known as toolchains.

work stage devops
The diagram of DevOps work phases. Source: Quora.

Team structure

Waterfall team structure

The team size is the most distinctive feature of Waterfall as each Waterfall team normally includes more than 15 people with specific responsibilities:

  • The developers (the programmers) write the code. The take part in all stages of the project.
  • The testers detect bugs and issues when the product has been completely developed.
  • Business analysts conduct market research to ensure competitiveness when the application is launched in the software market.
  • The project manager is the leader of the team who manages all the work.

DevOps team structure

Below are 6 roles for an ideal DevOps team:

  • The DevOps evangelist: the leader that always work for the benefits of the DevOps team and the clients.
  • The Release manager: the one that ensures the coordination and management of the projects and products.
  • The Automation architect: is responsible for the designs, implementation, and analysis.
  • The Software Developer/Tester: ensures the usability of the application.
  • The Experience Assurance (XA) professional: ensure the user experience.
  • The Security engineer: ensure that security during the project.

Which methodology is more suitable for your project?

The linear nature of the Waterfall method makes it easy to manage. It is the best choice for small projects with clear objectives and stable requirements and is suitable for less experienced project managers.

On the other hand, DevOps should be applied in the bigger projects to reduce time to market and improve work productivity and client satisfaction. It requires the experienced PM to ensure all the tasks are undertaken smoothly and reliably.