There are a lot of popular practices in the world of business management when it comes to optimizing processes. Two that are frequently seen to be on top of the list for businesses are DevOps and agile software development.
There are a lot of similarities between the two, but their differences are often used in debates about which one is better. However, what might be of note is that you could get more favorable results by using agile and DevOps in tandem. So, how do agile and DevOps interrelate?
Table of Contents
- What Is DevOps?
- What Is Agile Software Development?
- DevOps vs Agile
- How Do Agile and DevOps Interrelate?
The name is derived from its main functionality, which combines practices from both software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). DevOps is known for its large repository of optimization techniques and its continuous development process.
What DevOps does is that it eliminates any barriers between process and production. It is considered practical because it puts collaboration, integration, and proper communication at the forefront, allowing IT and development teams to work in tandem and use the same tools. This creates a constant flow of management that keeps refurbishing processes for quality results.
The cooperation of the two units is the reason behind faster problem solving, which makes a more efficient workflow and even more successful deployment. The integration of processes and the interconnectivity of the IT and development teams essentially produces faster service and, in turn, more customer satisfaction.
Interestingly enough, DevOps does include different agile principles and practices, specifically regarding aspects of collaboration and enhanced automation. However, DevOps focuses on both development and operations, while agile focuses more on the former.
The principles of agile software development center around the continuous reevaluation and advancement of systems to create more efficient processes that will inevitably increase productivity, raise profits, and satisfy customers.
Agile software development is not just one individual methodology. Instead, it is a collection of different principles and practices utilized connectedly to generate deliverables efficiently.
Agile is seen as the successor of the waterfall model, which is a more linear approach to project development. With the waterfall methodology, each phase within the project depends on the previous phase’s outcomes. Therefore, due to the ever-changing and fast-paced business world, the more adaptable agile methodology has proven to be more advantageous to companies.
Unlike the waterfall methodology, agile allows for work to be completed in smaller batches separately, significantly reducing the time needed to complete a process. Each batch is small enough to be completed relatively quickly in a short period of time, not holding back the rest of the project development.
Agile also relies on feedback and continuous testing that makes a business able to quickly reevaluate and reconstitute systems that no longer meet the business’ needs or do not perform as expected initially. Essentially, agile software development provides adaptability to businesses and project management, so they can either deal faster with unexpected changes or keep improving their systems.
It is a common misconception that DevOps practice and the agile method have an array of differences and that DevOps is meant to replace agile, much like agile method did with the waterfall methodology. This is not actually accurate. In reality, they should be better seen as complementing each other.
For agile methodology, the focus is more on the quality of the interactions, prioritizing collaboration between units within the software development process from the inception phase to the deployment phase. The main work is completed in smaller batches and is organized appropriately based on the preset procedures.
For DevOps practices, the focus includes some of the same functions, but it extends its scope further. Along with the development process side, DevOps also incorporates operations and moves past the development phase to include delivery and maintenance through testing. Specifically, DevOps pivots toward testing and automation while also accounting for unexpected variables that affect the work.
Separately, the two have quite a few downsides. For example, due to the fact that most of the work is done in smaller batches in the agile method, the coordination of the entire workflow is not always perfect. Moreover, agile project management lacks the ability to respond immediately to changes.
On the other hand, the continuous adjustments of processes in DevOps can be seen as challenging by many. This creates a need for very efficient and highly qualified individuals to navigate said changes.
Therefore, based on everything mentioned above, it becomes apparent that DevOps and agile should not be seen as competing forces but more as interrelated instead.
While, in some ways, DevOps can be seen as a successor to agile, it seems more fit to characterize it as an evolution of agile. Perhaps, a more straightforward perspective is to think about the DevOps approach as an add-on mechanism to agile. It is the inclusion of DevOps that helps agile fully achieve its objectives.
For example, consider how DevOps improves its processes through the provision of feedback for a better delivery flow. Because agile focuses on interactions between different units, it smooths the communication required to take place between development and operations.
While their approaches are considered quite different, their continuous integration maximizes results, producing more effective outcomes than those created by each one alone. The synergy between the two enables businesses to increase the quality and accelerate software development.
While the two previously mentioned approaches look at software development from different viewpoints, their end goals are parallel to each other. Individuals often perceive them as competing forces or as a replacement for the other.
However, in reality, their infrastructures are more parallel than divergent. In fact, using a DevOps tool and agile software development in tandem produces much better results, as each approach brings different values that are missing or are less achieved by the other.
Perhaps, a better demonstration of how the two are interrelated is to showcase how DevOps practices and agile development solve the waterfall methodology’s inefficiencies. Unlike the waterfall model, both agile and DevOps focus on shorter release cycles and spend more time on automation and collaboration.