Agile and DevOps are different sets of tools, practices, and philosophies to manage processes in software development and Information Technology teams. Both Agile and DevOps have different approaches to project management. While both are separate management systems, they interrelate to some extent. For starters, Agile is an older system, while DevOps is the newer one. Another important thing to note is that DevOps uses some aspects of the Agile methodology.
A combination of the two can also be used as DevOps complements Agile. In this article, we are going to cover a comprehensive DevOps vs Agile comparison to see how they are different, on top of analyzing whether they can merge together to yield better results or not. So, without further ado, let's dive into it!
What Is DevOps?
Basically, DevOps ensures collaboration between Development and Operations teams to enhance your software development process on top of reducing the development cycle. DevOps is an efficient management plan that gives a certain framework for the organization to handle its teams and communication in a certain way. It helps create the desired environment that will maximize efficiency and set a productive mood around the software development teams.
When you implement development philosophies like DevOps in an organization, it can take a while for the workforce to adjust to the new rules and methods of working. However, in the end, it is beneficial for all as it enables you to handle the workload and communications properly within the specialized management system.
The DevOps management model aims to improve the rate at which an organization delivers its services and applications. It also helps evolve and improve the organization's products at a faster rate than old software development models. Due to the quicker rate of executing services and evolving products, it improves the overall efficiency of the organization on top of saving time. Here are the principles within DevOps that allow this to happen:
1- Version Control
Version control is a tool that keeps a tab of any and all changes happening in a project. It keeps track of when the change was made and who made it as well. It allows you to make and maintain an entire log of changes which can be extremely useful, especially in big projects. Version control tools also allow you to make various branches from the main project. These branches can be changed and tested without making changes to the main project. In the end, one branch can be selected and merged with the main project. This ensures that only the best possible changes are made to the main project.
2- Continuous Integration
This is the most happening phase of the DevOps lifecycle. During the integration phase, developers constantly make new changes to the project's source code. These changes occur due to changes in clients' requirements, feedback from testing, and problem resolution. The DevOps approach makes ongoing integrations easier since development is taking place continuously.
As the source code is changed, the changes can be implemented immediately. During the integration phase, companies use different tools to easily integrate new code into the existing system. One of the most popular tools for adding new code is Jenkins. This tool is used to produce executable builds used for testing.
3- Continuous Delivery
Continuous delivery is a software development process that automates testing so that application updates can be verified and tested through multiple dimensions before giving out to customers. This allows smaller changes to be tested and deployed quickly instead of giving out a large update at once.
4- Continuous Deployment
Continuous delivery and continuous deployment are almost the same things. The sole difference between the two is that you need a manual approval before an update is deployed in continuous delivery; meanwhile, there is no need for manual approval in continuous deployment. The software creates a revision, tests it, and deploys it all by itself.
5- Continuous Testing
Continuous testing is a process that involves running tests in almost every step of development. The more tests run, the more feedback will come from each specific step. Feedback is crucial in software development as it allows you to fix potential risks and significantly reduce errors. So, continuous testing allows the development teams to develop products more accurately.
6- Continuous Operations
In DevOps, the software is constantly being upgraded. This means that there is a need for constant monitoring of the operations. This monitoring will ensure that system downtimes are prevented, and there are no issues at the time of code release.
Perhaps the most important principle in DevOps is collaboration. It is essential that different teams communicate effectively and share feedback throughout the entire development cycle. The more invested the teams are in collaborating, the better the quality of output you get.
DevOps Software Development
The different stages in DevOps software development are as follows: development, building, testing, deployment, and monitoring. These are just the basic key stages in DevOps software development. Depending on the complexity of the project, the number of stages can increase. But all DevOps projects pass through these stages, which ensures that the system and teams are well managed and work smoothly.
What Is Agile?
Essentially, Agile is a group of various methodologies that allow continuous improvement and fool-proof feedback cycles. Its approach centers around creating an environment that can identify, respond to, and adapt to changes. The Agile software development framework involves practices like test-driven development, pair programming, planning sessions, standups, and sprints.
The primary focus of the agile framework is how people work with each other and the values and principles they follow. It aims to help development teams to self-evaluate themselves and figure out different approaches. A software development team working with the Agile framework can effectively respond to any changes in the marketplace without having to dispose of their previous plans.
Agile allows software development teams to take customer feedback and work on it without any losses. According to the agile manifesto, human interaction involving customers and teammates is more important than following rigid and pre-determined processes. There are 12 main principles that allow this to happen. These principles revolve around 4 core values, which we’ll discuss below.
1- Individuals And Interactions Over Processes And Tools.
One of Agile's main core principles talks about the importance of a healthy and stimulating work environment. Each team member should be valued and involved with the rest of the team. The team should be able to communicate constantly with teammates and other teams to create a good workflow and maximize efficiency.
2- Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation.
The next core principle in the Agile framework places more importance on having a working software than on its documentation. Usually, in software development, every project has detailed documentation of its requirements and expectations of the software in development. Agile believes that spending too much effort on documentation is useless as things can change later.
3- Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation.
In the Agile framework, customer feedback is taken very seriously. Instead of forming a contract with a customer before development and relying on them to give feedback after production, real-time customer feedback is taken regularly and worked on.
4- Responding To Change Over Following A Plan.
The Agile framework encourages making changes mid-production rather than following through with one plan, which was made before development began. It’s because new circumstances can require new features or changes to be made. Adapting quickly to changes in plans will allow efficiency and smooth sailing to make the project more successful.
Agile Software Development
Different frameworks can be used in Agile software development. Some examples are Kanban and Scrum. At the start of the software development life cycle, the project is broken down into more manageable pieces. Different tasks are managed into sprints, and each sprint takes up to two or more weeks. During a sprint's run time, the team will work on the specific tasks that were divided into the sprint. Once a sprint is finished, they will move on to the next until the project is ready to be deployed.
DevOps vs Agile: Head-To-Head Comparison
There are some similarities and differences between Agile and DevOps. Let's talk about the differences first. Here are some areas in which these management systems have differences: Ease of Use, Team, Philosophy, Focus, Delivery, Quality and Risk, Documentation, Tools, Design, Customization, Branding, and Feedback. Let’s take a look at all these areas to get deeper into our DevOps vs Agile comparison.
Difference # 1: Basic Philosophy
The philosophy of DevOps is completely different from Agile. Agile aims to create an environment that places emphasis on making small but continuous increments of a project that can be managed through testing and development. It also emphasizes collaboration between production management and developers.
On the other hand, the DevOps philosophy revolves around the operations and development teams working together to maximize productivity through collaboration. In agile, every team member can perform any job in the system, which increases their understanding of each other. Whereas in DevOps, the teams function separately, which makes communication between them complex.
Difference # 2: Use
Agile can be used by any department working on a complex project. It will help in managing the project. Agile’s target area is the methodology required for software development. Once the software is completed and released, the team working with Agile won't work on it any further.
DevOps only focus on end-to-end Business solutions, engineering, and fast delivery. The DevOps team will focus on taking ready-to-release software and deploying it effectively and reliably. Their work extends the development stage, and they keep working on the software as long as it is in the market.
Difference # 3: Focus
A big difference between Agile and DevOps is their area of focus. Agile’s focus lies in making a workplace environment that is open to changes happening in the middle of the project to maximize the quality of the software. Additionally, its focus is on managing and implementing continuous changes. This can be implemented in different tactical frameworks.
On the other hand, the main focus of DevOps is on combining the operations and development teams to make sure they keep running continuous development and testing. There isn't any framework that can be implemented in DevOps as it focuses on collaboration between teams to keep on testing and delivering.
Difference # 4: Team
Considering that DevOps and Agile are very different in their methodologies, naturally, their team sizes and dynamics will differ too. In the Agile framework, teams are smaller with fewer people in them. The team members have similar skill sets, so they can work together closely, and communication is easier. Furthermore, Agile aims to bring the customer needs to the development team.
On the other hand, teams under DevOps are larger and have more people involved. There are a variety of skill sets in different teams across different departments. The skillset of teams does not overlap, so the communication needs more effort. DevOps aims to bridge this communication gap to allow the two teams to work in harmony.
Difference # 5: Delivery
Let’s have a look at the Agile vs DevOps delivery comparison. The delivery systems in Agile and DevOps are very different. In Agile, changes are delivered after the period of one sprint passes. This is usually a two-week period. Moreover, the management of the Agile development system is based on these sprints. After a sprint is finished, the team starts working on the next sprint.
In DevOps, delivery is continuous, and changes are deployed very frequently, like every day or sometimes even every hour. In DevOps, there are no sprints, code is delivered every day, and deadlines are only for major releases.
Difference # 6: Documentation
Agile uses very little documentation in its projects. This is because many changes will be made in the project as it goes on. Using less documentation saves time and allows a lot of flexibility in the development.
DevOps relies on a decent amount of process documentation as two very different teams need to collaborate on one project. It requires just enough documentation so that the teams can effectively communicate and understand each other. Even DevOps doesn't put emphasis on official documentation.
Difference # 7: Quality & Risk
In the Agile framework, the risks decrease, and the product quality increases after each sprint. Agile is good at supporting application suites with specific requirements. It can support changes with low risks at any point while the project is in development.
In the DevOps framework, automated testing ensures low risks in the end product, and efficient collaboration ensures good quality. The team has to make sure no change made at any point of the development poses a risk to the entire structure of the application. DevOps uses bug removal and automation from the earliest stages to create a good quality product. The developers keep working on the product to ensure that the quality doesn't fall.
Difference # 8: Feedback
Let’s take a look at how Agile and DevOps handle feedback. The Agile framework takes customer feedback into consideration and starts adjusting the product immediately. Its framework allows for changes to be made easily, and the team is ready to adapt to them.
On the other hand, DevOps relies on the feedback coming from its team. Different teams can collaborate with each other and come up with internal feedback to help improve the system and hasten deliveries.
Difference # 9: Tools
Here are the most prominent tools used in the Agile framework:
Here are the most prominent tools used in the DevOps framework:
Can You Merge DevOps and Agile To Use Them Simultaneously?
Now that we’ve seen the differences between DevOps and Agile methodology, we can talk about how they can interrelate. Agile is great for organizing work and creating a culture amongst the workforce. Meanwhile, DevOps focuses on delivering software quickly and reliably. Combining DevOps in Agile and using them simultaneously can help fill in the gaps between the two systems and bring out their best. When Agile and DevOps methodologies are combined within an organization, user and workforce satisfaction can increase greatly along with efficient collaboration within teams that results in shorter development lifecycles.
Benefits Of Merging Agile And DevOps
Let's look at the benefits of merging Agile and DevOps methodologies and analyze how they can coexist in harmony to bring out the best in a project.
The Agile methodology needs team members to have an understanding of each other's tasks. By using DevOps in Agile, the entire task force will need to have an idea of the overall task force's jobs and what they do. Having mutual understanding will greatly benefit Project managers, Scrum Masters, and Product owners alike. The overall task force's flow will also become smoother, and collaboration will be better.
A better understanding of products will be held by the team working within a combination of Agile and DevOps. This will make the developmental aspects of the team stronger. The teams will be able to collaborate more, and business value will improve. Moreover, fewer errors will occur, and the quality of the product will increase.
3- DevOps Practices In Sprints
Using DevOps management strategies in Agile’s sprint system can maximize efficiency. It’s because when the DevOps team is involved in daily standups, planning, and retrospections, the workflow becomes smooth and efficient. When the teams collaborate more, they can release better schedules, and the development team can deliver products faster.
4- Automate Workflows
When DevOps is used in Agile, many parts of the workflow need to be automated. By automating all code scanning procedures, you can avoid vulnerabilities and weak links in the system.
5- Measure Success
After establishing a combination of Agile and DevOps, you will need to analyze and measure its success. Based on its shortcomings and strengths, you can make adjustments that will help your organization use these two frameworks and work on projects in the best way possible. Things like the time taken to deploy a product and the number of errors should be considered.
Now that we have analyzed the difference between Agile and DevOps, their methodology, and discussed how they can be used together, we can see where they interrelate. If you want to find out more about Agile and DevOps and how your organization can make the best use of these methodologies, you can contact our experts at IIInigence for more information. Here at IIInigence, we stand proud as the best software development company in the USA, having expertise in all the latest development approaches, including DevOps, DevSecOps, Agile, etc. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today and schedule a free consultation with one of our experts to see how we can help you cut costs and improve product quality.