How can agile and DevOps work together?

31 May

As the DevOps movement gains more and more momentum in the enterprise world, there seems to be even more confusion about the relationship between agile and DevOps, with some thinking that they are completely different and opposing ideas. What is more important is what they have in common and how they can work together.

The agile way of working is an iterative approach to developing solutions, that is focussed on breaking down work into smaller pieces and getting feedback from customers and stakeholders early so that value can be delivered faster and more often. The agile mindset and culture emphasise the collaboration of cross-functional teams which usually include a  designer, a tester, and a developer.

While agile helps to build quality solutions quickly, it stops short of delivering that value to users. The main difference between agile and DevOps is that agile is concerned with developing software or solutions while DevOps deals with how to deploy it. DevOps expands on agile by providing the practices and techniques needed to rapidly deliver products at scale in a safe way that reduces failures and improves the recovery time when failures do occur.

DevOps is an approach and a set of practices that link the processes of software development and IT operations teams. DevOps teams work across the entire application lifecycle, from development and testing to deployment to operations. This is so products can be supported, maintained, enhanced and scaled after they have been launched. DevOps is a culture that is underpinned by collaboration and continuous delivery similar to agile.

It is important to note that at their roots, agile and DevOps are different; agile is about rapid delivery and DevOps is more concerned with reliability and safety. But it is in these ways that they complement each other. Organisations have enjoyed increased success when using them together.

They are both methodologies with a similar goal; to get products, to users faster and more efficiently with a focus on providing value to the business and to customers. They both require a cultural change and a shift in mindset towards embracing change and prioritising collaboration and communication to get rid of barriers and silos. Adopting agile and DevOps together means that means you can develop, deliver, deploy and update software more seamlessly while improving transparency across all teams.

DevOps and agile are two pieces of the same puzzle. When they work together, they complement each other perfectly; both allowing for quicker and more frequent releases of better quality products and fostering a culture of collaboration and communication.