Start for FREE

By Pavel Kukhnavets

Devops vs Agile

Defining the difference between Agile and DevOps.

Try the Best Project
Management Tool
for Remote Teams

Sign up to Hygger:

Agile and DevOps are software development methodologies that have similar purposes. They both are aimed to get the end product as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

It may seem that everything is simple around them; however, many businesses often face some confusion between these methodologies.

What is the accurate description of Agile and DevOps? Which practice is better? Can they work together, or should you choose one over the other? Can DevOps replace Agile? So many questions as usual… In this post, we try to figure them out.

DevOps vs Agile

In fact, both practices are critical to be implemented in the software development life cycle of any product. 

Separating Agile and DevOps approaches to development will lead to some failures in deployment, work automation, and infrastructure management while building the product.

Combining Agile sprints with the integrated teamwork offered by DevOps is a great solution here. This will allow you to optimize incrementally the development lifecycle and maintenance of the product. You will be able to correct an imbalance as well. 

However, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with the basics!

What is DevOps?

A software development culture where the development and operations teams collaborate to improve their productivity is known as DevOps. It also involves implementing the practices and principles of DevOps as well as applying a range of DevOps tools for testing. DevOps principles improve and boost communication, information sharing, and end-to-end responsibility.

What differs DevOps from traditional software development? Mainly the fact that DevOps includes a continuous cycle of building, testing, deploying, and tracking software. The key purpose of DevOps is to deliver quality software in the most efficient way.

What is Agile?

We have already said a lot about Agile, so let’s just briefly recall the most important things.

Agile involves a continuous iteration of development and testing in the SDLC process. The methodology emphasizes iterative, incremental, and evolutionary development. According to the Agile development process, the product is broken into small pieces. 

DevOps Principles

The popularity of DevOps is constantly increasing as its implementation has many vivid benefits, such as fast and easily integrated software deployments.

However, moving to this new culture is impossible without understanding its basic values. DevOps requires a change of mindset within the development and the operations team. Here are fundamental principles of DevOps that steer the engineering process:

Version control

Code changes should be submitted by developers to a central repository every day (several times a day). Before this, they verify all code. Other developers may track changes to facilitate collaboration.

Continuous integration

As we’ve noted above, each developer in the team integrates the code in a shared repository several times a day. He/she segments the work into small pieces of code and defines potential bugs and conflicts quicker.

Continuous delivery

Continuous integration allows code to be consistently delivered to the end-users. Due to the smaller contributions, teams can faster update releases. This is one of the key factors for customer satisfaction.

Continuous deployment

In DevOps, processes are automated to speed up production. The continuous deployment includes automating releases of minor updates that do not harm the existing architecture.

Continuous testing

DevOps assumes testing as much as possible in every development stage. Automated tests allow risk assessment of the process at hand and give valuable feedback.

Continuous operations

DevOps teams practice small but frequent releases for upgrading software. This requires constant performance tracking that is aimed to prevent downtime and availability issues during code release.

Collaboration

Sharing feedback and fostering collaboration are essential goals of DevOps. Proactively communication and constant feedback maintain the efficient DevOps pipeline.

Agile Values

Agile is governed by the Agile Manifesto, which defines 12 principles. But the core values are the following:

  • People and interactions over processes and tools
  • Software over documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Agile values

DevOps Software Development

According to DevOps software development, projects must pass through the established pipeline. It assumes the number of stages that depend on the complexity and type of particular software.

There are four main stages: developing, building, testing, and deploying. It may also include a planning phase and the phase of monitoring (after deployment).

Agile software development

Evolutionary development, adaptive planning, and delivery are required for Agile software development.

Many methods, frameworks, and practices fall under the Agile umbrella, including:

  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Extreme Programming (XP)
  • DevOps
  • Lean
  • Feature-driven development (FDD)
  • Test-driven development (TDD)
  • Adaptive software development (ASD)
  • Dynamic systems development method (DSDM)
  • Crystal

They all can be used on their own or in combination, and the most popular are Scrum, Kanban, and DevOps.

Agile vs DevOps in Quick Comparison

What are the similarities between Agile and DevOps?

  • They both are software development methods known all over the world.
  • They both believe in fast development
  • Their principles require fast software delivery without causing harm to operations and clients.

Agile characteristics

  • Core philosophy: Agile is focused on continuously delivering small manageable project increments through iterative development and testing.
  • Key focus: on creating an environment for mid-project changes to boost quality.
  • Use: you may apply the methodology in any department to help manage their complex projects.
  • Delivery: Incremental deployments after every sprint.
  • Team: a small group that works closely and has similar skills.
  • Quality and risks: after each sprint, the product quality increases, while risks decrease.
  • Feedback: focus on customer feedback.
  • Documentation: extremely light (to accelerate processes’ flexibility).

DevOps characteristics

  • Core philosophy: the development and operations team cooperate with the aim to improve productivity and collaboration.
  • Key focus: on merging development and operations teams to ensure they practice continual development and testing.
  • Use: DevOps focuses on end-to-end engineering.
  • Delivery: providing continuous delivery daily.
  • Team: consists of multiple departments and requires different skill sets.
  • Quality and risks: automated testing and effective collaboration lead to the production of high-quality products with low risks.
  • Feedback: encourages internal feedback among team members.
  • Documentation: emphasizing communication over official documentation.

How to merging Agile and DevOps

By merging DevOps and Agile, you receive vivid advantages including higher user satisfaction, boosting delivery, and efficient collaboration within your team. However, combining both practices will require changing existing strategies and attitudes.

  • Understanding – Agile requires team members to understand every other’s tasks. Everyone in the team should know every step required to deliver the product.
  • Automating workflows. DevOps includes automation obligatory, so Agile workflow and project planning should also involve it.
  • DevOps practices in sprints. DevOps should be integrated into handling sprints. 
  • Collaboration. All the roles in the team now need to understand all aspects of all development processes.
  • Success measuring. Such a merging also involves measuring key DevOps metrics and KPIs within end-to-end development.

Agile + DevOps = collaborative work

The key goal of both Agile and DevOps is to deliver quality software in a timely manner. 

Of course, they differ, as Agile highlights optimizing the development life-cycle, while DevOps combines development and operations in a CI/CD environment. They both are not mutually exclusive. Companies that transition to DevOps should not abandon existing Agile workflows.

Let’s say, DevOps is an Agile extension. It is built around its flexible practices. Combining these practices together, you will improve software development and get better products!

Conclusion

Summarizing all the described above, we can make a conclusion that both Agile and DevOps aim to bring the end-users value, but from different angles. Agile is about striving to make development cycles more efficient, while DevOps aims to bring the operations team in to provide continuous integration and continuous delivery. Agile streamlines interactions, values, and culture, while DevOps emphasizes delivery pipelines and flow.