Waterfall vs. Agile vs. DevOps: Which Methodology is Right for You?


Waterfall Vs. Agile Vs. DevOps: Which Methodology Takes The Cake? waterfall vs agile vs devops

Waterfall methodology is one of the oldest methods in the book used for traditional software development. Agile and DevOps are modern methodologies that have evolved over the years.

All three of these development models have their range of advantages and disadvantages, as well as suitability with different audiences. Today, let’s compare waterfall vs. agile vs. DevOps and see which is the best of the three, starting with the pros and cons of each.

Pros of Waterfall

Equal Contribution

Since each project step is to be finished before the team approaches the next step, all the developers work together to get everything done. Even with a different team of developers, they can easily pick up where the previous team left off.

No Need For Certification

Waterfall projects don’t need any particular certification for team members to participate. All the project manager needs to do is specify the requirements, and the team can start working.

Everyone Has The Same Objective

Unlike scrums, everyone working on a waterfall project has the same goal to complete each step. As a result, workflows are more streamlined and optimized since none of the team members lose sight of the goal.

Documentation Helps Pick Up The Pieces

Waterfall methodology promotes creating detailed documentation of every step taken during development. This can help different developers synchronize their work and help replacement developers pick up the slack.

Cons of Waterfall

Waterfall Is Like An Assembly Line

In an assembly line, when a faulty product is detected later down the line, you can’t take it back and fix it right away. The same goes for waterfall software development. The testing phase comes after the development is complete, and any problem detected during testing can cost valuable time and resources to be fixed, driving the entire budget upwards.

The End Goal Has To Be Defined Initially

While fixing your end goal before starting is a great idea, it’s still painful if you consider that almost every project on a larger scale is highly unpredictable. There’s no sure way to determine the tech stack and other specific requirements, and it can cause development limitations, which can result in an unfinished or faulty product.

Doesn’t Suit Larger Projects

Waterfall methodology is highly suitable for smaller projects where the end goal can be easily defined and the requirements to reach said goal. The waterfall methodology isn’t suitable for enterprise-level development since it doesn’t allow rapid reiterations or sudden changes.

Pros of Agile


The best advantage agile can provide is the high levels of flexibility integrated into the methodology framework. When the team is focused on adapting to the current challenges and changes instead of persisting in finishing a single step, the product becomes more robust, and each step is more flawless after completion.

Higher Collaboration

Agile depends highly on continuous communication so the entire team can sync through rapid iterations. This promotes higher amounts of collaboration between each teammate.

User Feedback Integration

Unlike waterfall, agile methodology utilizes user feedback to improve the product throughout every development step. With enough customer feedback, the dev team reiterates the product to suit the needs of their target audience, and it offers a product with a better product-market fit.

Cons of Agile

The Deployment Is Never Ending

With agile comes the neverending requirements of the market that is ever-changing. Once a new requirement arises, the development team is compelled to release a new update that aligns with the customer demand. As a result, the team is always working.

Documentation Can Be A Nightmare

While not mandatory, the agile development method still requires documentation. However, since every team member is working on entirely different aspects or handling entirely different departments, creating a cohesive documentation of all the steps can be a headache.

Flexibility Isn’t Always Good

Additional flexibility can often get in the way of proper resource management. As the team is unclear on a certain end goal, developers can use any resource they see fit, even if it causes an increased budget. Optimizing resource usage becomes more difficult for the project manager.

Pros of DevOps

The Releases Are Frequent, And Swift

In DevOps, internal and external teams work in perfect harmony, and there are next to zero chances of contradiction of ideas between two teams. This unfettered collaboration results in a faster product release.

The Product Has Room To Grow

One of the best features of DevOps is the ability to integrate agile practices into the work cycle. The agile method focuses on continuous development through continuous iterations, and it’s highly similar to CI/CD pipeline present in DevOps. The perpetual improvements bring DevOps to value engineering principles.

Better Cohesiveness

This is where DevOps is better than both Agile and Waterfall. While agile has an advantage over waterfall with high flexibility, DevOps is all about working in a stipulated and compartmentalized manner, promoting higher productivity.

Cons of DevOps

Unifying Teams Don’t Always Bring The Best Results

While DevOps is the ultimate productivity booster and works by bringing both internal and external teams together, it doesn’t always go as planned. Bringing in two different sets of teams never results in instant collaboration, and it can take quite a long time before the teams work in perfect sync.

Might Cause A Culture Clash

Let’s say your organization already follows agile or DevOps culture, while the outsourced team you just brought in follows a rather traditional approach. Employees following different work ideologies are sure to cause a culture conflict while working together.

Can Waterfall, Agile, and DevOps Co-Exist?

The short answer is: “You can, but you shouldn’t”. Let’s see why that is.

DevOps tools can automate and improve some stages of development, allowing you to deliver a functional product much faster. But if you’re bringing in waterfall methodology, you’re stuck until the next release cycle.

Even when you’re automating testing methods, the waterfall method requires intensive testing, and it takes a lot of time to complete all test procedures.

Even when combining agile practices for faster development, DevOps for faster testing, and waterfall for releases, the final release is subpar and nothing to write about. Hybrid methodology has more chances of preventing effective results rather than creating milestone-worthy improvements.

To Wrap It All Up

Waterfall, agile, and DevOps methodologies have been followed for ages by different software development organizations. They all serve different businesses based on their needs. It may look like one is slightly at a disadvantage when compared directly, but they’re great methodologies for different software projects.

If you plan to adopt agile or DevOps methodology in your company workflow, Impala Intech is ready to be your trusted development partner throughout the process.


Which Methodology Is Easier to Scale for Larger Projects or Organizations?

Agile and DevOps are more adaptable and easier to scale for larger and complex projects.

Are There Specific Industries Where Waterfall Is More Commonly Used Than Agile or DevOps?

Waterfall is often used in industries with strict regulatory requirements, like healthcare or finance.

Is DevOps More Popular in the IT Industry Compared to Other Sectors?

DevOps has gained significant popularity in the IT industry due to its focus on automation.

Can Organizations Combine These Methodologies in a Hybrid Approach?

Many organizations adopt hybrid approaches, combining elements of Waterfall, Agile, and DevOps to suit their needs.

Which Methodology Is More Suitable for Long-Term Maintenance and Support?

DevOps is well-suited for long-term maintenance and support because it emphasizes automation and monitoring.