Here’s what you need to know about DevOps, Waterfall, Agile, SysOps, and SRE

You have a lot of choices when it comes to the software development process. But which approach is right for your project? Here’s what you need to know about DevOps, Waterfall, Agile, SysOps, and SRE.

What is Agile software development?

Agile software development is actually a group of methodologies focused on cross-functional cooperation to achieve results. As the name suggests, the Agile approach was designed for flexibility. Software is built incrementally, creating an iterative process to plan, produce, test, release, and revise high-quality software applications while also lowering the costs and shortening the timeline.

Each iteration includes all the components of software development: planning, requirements, analysis, design, code, testing, and deployment. Then, a working product is demonstrated at the end of the iteration. Multiple iterations might be required to release a product, and customer feedback is considered before the process repeats itself with new features and upgrades.

By bringing development and testing together in the process, Agile software development is using a “shift left” approach to find and prevent defects earlier in the software delivery process. That enables Agile methodology to improve speed to market and risk mitigation. Smaller increments are typically released to the market, reducing the time and cost of engineering a product that doesn’t meet user requirements, as well as enabling faster adaptation to changes.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a flexible practice specifically designed for software development. DevOps services combine two key elements: software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). DevOps methodology enables the collaboration of both development and IT operations teams throughout the entire software development lifecycle with tools that extend automation beyond the build phase. The result is a seamless workflow between the two teams.

The purpose of DevOps is to align development and operation practices to reduce issues as software applications are developed, deployed, and maintained. It improves both collaboration and communication within software development to shorten the development lifecycle, while also enabling continuous delivery and high quality.

DevOps offers competitive advantages, as well as strengthens customer service and engagement. It enables an extremely fast response to change requirements or market conditions. It can enable continuous integration and delivery services, helping organizations move towards constant improvements in developing a software application. That also enables organizations to release new value to their customers faster.

What is the Waterfall model?

If you imagine a waterfall in nature, you’ll understand how this model got its name. In the software development lifecycle, the waterfall development model encompasses a logical progression of steps, just like water cascading over a series of rocks or cliffs.

The Waterfall method is an older model, but it’s still used in the software development industry. In comparison to some of the newer models, the step-by-step methodology is straightforward. It starts with the initial idea and then builds on each step until the project is complete and the software is launched.

Some companies might prefer the Waterfall model because it echoes other common business practices. It starts with the creation of a requirements document, and then covers the stages of analysis, design, code, testing, and operations in consecutive order.

The Waterfall model works well when used with large teams that may change frequently during the project because the process focuses on documentation rather than collaboration. It also provides a great deal of structure to the software development process, so it works well with a milestone-focused project. Additionally, spending time upfront to set the requirements can make early changes easier if they’re made before the other phases have begun. However, changes made later in the project are more difficult, as well as more costly.

What is SysOps?

SysOps is short for “system operator.” SysOps uses information technology infrastructure library (ITIL) guidelines that work to align business goals with IT services. Those guidelines create the baseline for the design, execution, and measurement of a project.

SysOps overlaps with DevOps in some aspects. While both manage infrastructure, DevOps uses automation tools in its process. The main goal of SysOps is the continuation of services with minimal risk. As such, it is not flexible to change like DevOps. When aiding a developer’s team, the SysOps team typically tends to favor a consistent code change rate and code deployments.

What is SRE?

Site reliability engineering (SRE) uses software engineering to automate IT operations tasks that previously may have been handled manually. Those tasks include production system management, change management, incident response, and emergency response. With automated oversight, SRE offers a more scalable and sustainable approach to overseeing large software systems.

SRE aligns closely with DevOps principles, and it can be a factor in DevOps success. The SRE team can serve as a bridge between development teams and operations teams, enabling the development team to bring new software or new features to production quickly, while also ensuring an agreed-upon acceptable level of IT operations performance and error risk.


Your choice of software development approach will depend on several factors, including your organization’s culture and business goals. InApp has more than two decades of experience working with different software development processes. Contact us for guidance on the right approach for your project.