Security Solutions

5 mins

The Development Methodologies: A Deeper Look

Security Operations Analyst

To kick off a series of diving more deeply into the development methodologies, we should preface it with a deeper look into the development methodologies, how they can compare to DevSecOps and the pros and cons they bring teams looking to develop efficiently. These methodologies are not one-size-fits-all but focus on tackling a development team's needs. 

In review will be:

  • Waterfall
  • Agile
  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Lean
  • Extreme Programming (XP)
  • Adaptive Project Framework (APF)

However, before the comparisons to DevSecOps, we should look at what they are and why development teams use these methodologies over traditional methods. 


Looking into waterfall, we have to understand that it is one of the oldest and most straightforward project management methodologies. Originating in the manufacturing and construction industries, the Waterfall methodology is a sequential design process. It is often used in software development where the project is divided into distinct phases, and each phase depends on the deliverables of the previous one, with no overlapping or iterative steps.

The main advantage of Waterfall is its simplicity and ease of understanding and use. It allows for meticulous planning and documentation, making it easier to understand the scope, resources, and timelines at the outset. This can be particularly beneficial for projects with clear objectives and stable requirements.

However, the rigid structure of the Waterfall methodology can also be a significant disadvantage, especially in projects where requirements are likely to change. It needs to accommodate changes better, and any modifications in the later stages of the project can lead to delays and increased costs. The lack of flexibility can also stifle innovation and adaptability, which are crucial in today's fast-paced development. 


In contrast to Waterfall, Agile methodology is an iterative, team-based approach to development. It emphasizes flexibility, customer collaboration, and responsiveness to change. Agile breaks the product into small, incremental builds, involving constant collaboration with stakeholders, continuous improvement, and iteration at every stage.

The Agile methodology allows for changes to be made after the project starts, making it more adaptable to changing requirements. This flexibility can lead to a more refined final product that meets the customer's needs better. Agile also encourages team collaboration and customer involvement throughout the development process, enhancing satisfaction and resulting in a more user-centric product.

However, Agile's emphasis on flexibility and change can lead to scope creep if not correctly managed. Additionally, a defined end-point can make project timelines and budgets more straightforward to control. Agile requires a high level of customer involvement, which might only sometimes be feasible.


Scrum is a subset of Agile and is one of the most popular Agile frameworks. It is an iterative approach that organizes work into "sprints," typically lasting two to four weeks. Each sprint begins with a planning meeting where the team selects work from a backlog to complete during the sprint.

The advantages of Scrum include increased productivity and efficiency due to the focus on specific deliverables during each sprint. It also promotes accountability and team collaboration, as regular stand-up meetings ensure everyone is aligned and obstacles are quickly identified and addressed.

However, Scrum can be challenging if the team is committed or needs more discipline. The framework requires a clear definition of roles and responsibilities; the process can be organized with these. Scrum also relies heavily on the Product Owner's ability to prioritize the backlog effectively, which can be a bottleneck if not done correctly.


Kanban is another Agile framework that visualizes the entire project workflow and limits the work in progress (WIP). This methodology uses a Kanban board to visualize tasks and their status, aiming to identify bottlenecks and improve efficiency.

The main advantage of Kanban is its simplicity and the ability to introduce changes incrementally without disrupting the system. It's highly flexible and allows teams to adapt quickly to changes. Kanban encourages continuous delivery and can help reduce the time required to complete tasks.

However, without strict WIP limits and continuous monitoring, Kanban can lead to task pile-ups and inefficiencies. It also requires a cultural shift towards continuous improvement, which can be difficult for some teams to adopt.


Lean development is based on lean manufacturing principles, focusing on maximizing customer value while minimizing waste. It emphasizes delivering quality products with fewer people and resources in the shortest possible time.

Lean development promotes a culture of continuous improvement, where waste is continuously identified and eliminated. This can lead to significant cost savings and efficiency gains. Lean also encourages empowering the workforce, which can improve morale and innovation.

However, implementing Lean principles requires a significant cultural shift and commitment from all levels of the organization. Determining what constitutes "value" for the customer can also be challenging, leading to potential misalignments.

Extreme Programming (XP)

Extreme Programming is an Agile framework that emphasizes technical excellence and customer satisfaction. XP advocates for frequent releases in short development cycles, which improves productivity and introduces checkpoints where new customer requirements can be adopted.

XP practices include pair programming, test-driven development (TDD), continuous integration, and coding standards. These practices aim to improve software quality and responsiveness to changing customer requirements.

However, XP requires high discipline and can be demanding for teams. The emphasis on pair programming and constant communication can be draining and may only suit some team dynamics.

Adaptive Project Framework (APF)

APF is a project management approach that recognizes the need for flexibility and adapts to real-time changes. It allows for the project scope, deliverables, and goals to be adjusted as the project progresses based on learned experiences.

APF's advantage lies in its adaptability and the recognition that change is a constant in project development. It empowers teams to make decisions and adapt strategies based on current realities, potentially leading to more innovative and suitable outcomes.

However, the fluid nature of APF can make it difficult to predict timelines and budgets. It requires high collaboration and communication, which can be challenging to maintain throughout the project lifecycle.

This means each development methodology has strengths and weaknesses, and the choice depends on the project requirements, team dynamics, and organizational culture. In the next part of this series, we will explore how these methodologies compare to DevSecOps and their role in enhancing security and efficiency in development processes.


DevSecOps (Development, Security, and Operations) integrates security practices within the Agile framework. It aims to bridge traditional gaps between IT and security while ensuring fast and safe code delivery. In the context of development methodologies like Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, Kanban, Lean, Extreme Programming (XP), and Adaptive Project Framework (APF), DevSecOps introduces a paradigm shift by embedding security as a fundamental component throughout the development lifecycle rather than as a final step.

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Choosing the Best Methodology for Your Team

The choice of methodology and its integration with DevSecOps principles depends on several factors, including the project's nature, team dynamics, organizational culture, and security requirements. Here are some considerations for selecting the best approach:

Project Requirements: A modified Waterfall approach with upfront security planning may suffice for projects with well-defined requirements and minimal changes. However, for projects with evolving requirements, Agile methodologies integrated with DevSecOps practices offer the flexibility to adapt to changing security needs.

Team Dynamics: Collaborative and adaptive teams may thrive with Agile methodologies like Scrum or Kanban, integrated with DevSecOps. These approaches foster team accountability and continuous improvement in security practices.

Organizational Culture: Organizations with a culture of innovation and continuous improvement may find Lean, XP, or APF methodologies integrated with DevSecOps principles to be the most effective. These approaches encourage a proactive stance on security, aligning with a culture that values continuous learning and adaptation.

Security Requirements: High-stakes projects with stringent security requirements may benefit from a more rigorous integration of security practices, as seen in DevSecOps. Choosing a methodology that allows for continuous security assessment and incorporation, such as Agile or Scrum, can ensure that security is a priority throughout the development process.

Ultimately, the best approach aligns with the team's and project's unique needs while embedding security as a continuous and integral part of the development process, ensuring the delivery of secure, high-quality software.

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