DevOps vs Agile: What You Should Know About Both

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DevOps is a practice of bringing the development and operations teams together, whereas agile is an iterative approach that focuses on collaboration, customer feedback and small rapid releases. This article highlights the differences between the two software development technologies.

DevOps is a software development method that focuses on communication, integration and collaboration among IT professionals to enable rapid deployment of products. On the other hand, the agile methodology involves continuous iteration of development and testing in the SDLC process. In this software development method, the emphasis is on iterative, incremental and evolutionary development.

Figure 1: The communication chain between stakeholders in a typical IT process
Figure 2: Agile addresses the communication gaps between the customer and developer
Figure 3: DevOps addresses the communication gaps between the developer and IT operations teams

Key differences

  • DevOps is a practice of bringing the development and operations teams together, whereas agile is an iterative approach that focuses on collaboration, customer feedback and small rapid releases.
  • DevOps focuses on constant testing and delivery while the agile process focuses on constant changes.
  • DevOps requires a relatively large team while agile requires a small team.
  • DevOps leverages both shift-left and shift-right principles; on the other hand, agile leverages the shift-left principle.
  • The target area of DevOps is software development whereas the target area of agile is to deliver end-to-end business solutions quickly.
  • DevOps focuses more on operational and business readiness, whereas agile focuses on functional and non-functional readiness.
Parameter Agile DevOps
What is it? Agile refers to an iterative approach that focuses on collaboration, customer feedback and small, rapid releases. DevOps is considered a practice of bringing the development and operations teams together.
Purpose Agile helps to manage complex projects. DevOps central concept is to manage end-to-end engineering processes.
Task The agile process focuses on constant changes. DevOps focuses on constant testing and delivery.
Implementation The agile method can be implemented within a range of tactical frameworks like ‘sprint’, ‘safe’ and ‘scrum’. The primary goal of DevOps is to focus on collaboration, so it doesn’t have any commonly accepted framework.
Team skillset Agile development emphasises training all team members to have a wide variety of similar and equal skills. DevOps divides and spreads the skillset between the development and operations teams.
Team size A small team is at the core of agile. Because the smaller the team,  the faster they can move. Relatively larger team size, as it involves all the stakeholders.
Duration Agile development is managed in units of ‘sprints’. This time is much less than a month for each sprint. DevOps strives for deadlines and benchmarks with major releases. The ideal goal is to deliver code to production daily, or every few hours.
Feedback Feedback is given by the customer. Feedback comes from the internal team.
Target areas Software development An end-to-end business solution and fast delivery.
Shift-left principles Leverages shift-left Leverages both shift-left and shift-right.
Emphasis Agile emphasises on the software development methodology to create software. When the software has been developed and released, the agile team will not care what happens to it. DevOps is all about taking software that is ready for release and deploying it in a reliable and secure manner.
Cross-functional Any team member should be able to do what’s required for the progress of the project. Also, when each team member can perform every job, it increases understanding and bonding between them. In DevOps, development teams and operational teams are separate. So, communication is quite complex.
Communication Scrum is the most common method of implementing agile software development. Daily Scrum meetings are carried out. DevOps communications involve specs and design documents. It’s essential for the operational team to fully understand the software release and its hardware/network implications for adequately running the deployment process.
Documentation The agile method gives priority to the working system over complete documentation. It is ideal when you’re flexible and responsive. However, it can hurt when you’re trying to turn things over to another team for deployment. In DevOps, process documentation is foremost because the software is sent to the operational team for deployment. Automation minimises the impact of insufficient documentation. However, in the development of complex software, it’s difficult to transfer all the knowledge required.
Automation Agile doesn’t emphasise on automation. Though it helps. Automation is the primary goal of DevOps. It works on the principle of maximising efficiency when deploying software.
Goal It addresses the gap between customer needs, and the development and testing teams. It addresses the gap between development + testing and operations.
Focus It focuses on functional and non-functional readiness. It focuses more on operational and business readiness.
Importance Developing software is inherent to agile. Developing, testing and implementation — all are equally important.
Speed vs risk Teams using agile support rapid change, and a robust application structure. In the DevOps method, the teams must make sure that the changes that are made to the architecture never develop a risk to the entire project.
Quality Agile produces better application suites with the desired requirements. It can easily adapt according to the changes made on time, during the project’s life. DevOps, along with automation and early bug removal, contributes to creating better quality software. Developers need to follow coding and architectural best practices to maintain quality standards.
Tools used JIRA, Bugzilla and Kanboard are some popular agile tools. Puppet, Chef, TeamCity, OpenStack and AWS are popular DevOps tools.
Challenges The agile method needs teams to be more productive, which is difficult to manage every time. The DevOps process needs the development, testing and production environments to streamline work.
Advantage Agile offers a shorter development cycle and improved defect detection. DevOps supports agile’s release cycle.

 

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