DevOps (an abbreviation of developer operations) is the marriage between software development and IT operation. It's a term used to describe practices and technologies aimed at bringing together software engineers and IT professionals to produce software more efficiently.

In this blog post, we'll cover the main principles of DevOps and its interrelation with Agile. It can be challenging for teams that are new to both concepts at the same time, but they really make sense when taken in their entirety. In other words, by following these steps, you'll be able to create an effective DevOps culture within your organization.

So, how do agile and DevOps interrelate?

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How Do DevOps and Agile Interrelate with Each Other?

Agile and DevOps are very closely related with each other.

On one hand, the Agile methodology is a delivery framework that promotes delivering a project quickly, efficiently and frequently through small batch side iterations. DevOps is a methodology that promotes a set of tools and practices that bring development and operations teams together to work iteratively over problem sets in the name of accelerated solution delivery. This makes Agile and DevOps like Peanut Butter and Chocolate!

Through the combination of these methodologies, smaller units of work are delivered at an accelerated pace brining quicker feedback loops along with a strategic ability to pivot frequently to respond to consumer demands. Agile aids is keeping a business and it's stakeholders informed on process/progress while DevOps is utilized to bring a solid baseline understanding of expectations and goals, process, and expected outcomes to all verticals of an organization.

These two methodologies are a powerhouse for technology delivery when an organization fully embraces adoption.

Keep reading to get a better understanding of each methodology individually and how they can compliment each other on your next project!

DevOps Overview

DevOps is a transformation aimed at integrating the software development and operations teams from a business perspective. It's a combination of techniques found in Lean and Agile methodologies, and it's used to transform the way organizations produce software.

DevOps merges the disciplines of development and operations to create a more efficient process that successfully addresses the challenges faced by businesses today. DevOps is an umbrella term that describes a set of processes aimed at bridging the gap between software development and IT operations.

I think this is the first key to explaining how agile and DevOps interrelate. In a more traditional approach, there are generally a series of handoffs between different responsibilities in an organization. When trying to understand how agile and DevOps work together, start by visualizing a world where handoffs do not happen anymore. This will immediately produce savings over the life cycle of your products.

Agile teams are also unique in their own right when compared to a more traditional organizational structure. An agile team is going to consistently be reviewing their development processes for areas of improvement. This is going to allow for meaningful growth and promote a model focused on Continuous integration and continuous delivery.

▶ Key Insight

In my experience, DevOps and Agile are commonly interconnected because of their shared delivery goals. DevOps is all about small automated frequent changes. Agile is all about the ability to make planned pivots between what is working and what is not working on a project or for a business.

By interconnecting these two very popular methodologies, you can achieve your goals much more rapidly while keeping your teams happy and healthy than you would with other modes of delivery.

What Makes DevOps Different from Other Methodologies?

DevOps integrates the development and operations teams into a single functional delivery team. From a business perspective, it focuses on creating product delivery cycles that solve real problems instead of just churning out code for the sake of producing code.

By combining these disciplines developers can spend less time dealing with the complexities of big bang releases and more time creating new rapidly developed incremental features. This is because the process is automated.

This helps organizations achieve high software quality, fast delivery, and easier adaptation to the market. To end-users, DevOps looks like this: When a team of developers wants to create a new feature, they can rapidly plan, prototype, adjust, and release that feature to start realizing the value of that work.

▶ Example

Every touch point or handoff between separated sets of responsibilities is a waste of time and money.

Aligning these disciplines next to each other on the same team builds trust and empathy which in turn have a positive impact on flow.

Agile development methodologies are usually found with any functional DevOps team. When looking at a more traditional project management methodology like Waterfall, anyone trying to implement DevOps will generally stop short at automating infrastructure as code. A project utilizing the Agile DevOps methodology will take that several steps further.

An Agile DevOps team will focus on automating the entire process. Continuous integration will be utilized as a cornerstone to build a robust framework to test and deploy their software. The end goal is to transition into a model of continuous delivery to enable many releases to production in a single day.

Day 2 operations will be integrated into their technology pipelines as well. Tools and automation will be built to take care of more routine tasks such as certificate renewals or auto-remediation. Because DevOps pipelines are test-driven, future unexpected changes are also quickly identified and fixed much more easily.

▶ Key Insight

Normally when we are talking about different methodologies we are either talking about ITIL or we are talking about IC (Implementation Chaos).

While ITIL focuses on stability being THE most important factor of a system, it will often sacrifice agility and flow in favor of stability. This may not be a bad thing when you are in a highly regulated or highly specialized space such as the health care industry. I would argue that you should use the methodology which best fits your scenario.

Implementation chaos on the other hand is almost never the right way to evolve your business. Implementation chaos can be good when you are initially bootstrapping an organization, but there is a reason why the game of pickup sticks is often lost and ends up being a very frustrating experience.

What Makes a More Traditional SDLC Risky?

When working with a software technique that is more traditional, the program is developed in a manner similar to an assembly line, with larger modifications contributing to greater risk.

New features are approved and then tested, followed by regression, and finally deployed to production. This is the most traditional way to work with code. However, it is not always the most efficient way to work with code.

Changes to the code base should be approached from the perspective of the risk involved with any change. When working with big changes in the code base, it is important to look at the big picture of the software. If you are only focused on one aspect of the software, even though it might be the most crucial aspect, you risk overlooking something else that is just as important.

Big-picture thinking is achieved by working with the whole software. If you are building a new feature, you need to start with a new branch of the code base. Without testing the new code, you risk breaking something else in the software. Once you are sure there are no errors in the new code, you can start the testing process. After you are certain the new code has no bugs, you can release it to your production environment.

When the process relies on larger changes, with more complex processes, and more opinions about quality in every decision being made down the assembly line there is a higher likelihood that project timelines will slip or never be delivered at all.

▶ Key Insight

In traditional SDLC, you are really up against a couple of challenges which are not easily remedied.

Risk of Unreleased Changes

I will often say that "Big Bangs" do not work. If you are comfortable incurring a lot of risk and then using the sheer force of will to realize completion of a project then stick with traditional approaches. If you are looking to lower the temperature in the room, increase your ability to thoughtfully pivot, and reduce delivery risk then I would take a look at Agile and an integration with DevOps.

Unrealized Market Value

Keeping your code in a code repo forever instead of releasing it means that you are not getting any value from that code. Worse yet, your customers are not getting any value from that code. You are also not getting any feedback from customers (assuming an absence of preview environments) meaning you are unable to make realtime changes in the event that your customers do not like what you are producing.

An Exponential Increase in Complexity

While marching towards hard deadlines, everyone will be making choices which meet that deadline. This means you will not only sacrifice on quality, but you will also sacrifice on best practices. When these decisions are forced onto a team, the end product will never end up realizing its full potential.

The Importance of Collaboration in DevOps

DevOps is the marriage between software development and IT operations. It's a term used to describe practices and technologies aimed at bringing together software engineers and IT professionals to produce software more efficiently.

In this marriage, there must be a collaboration between the teams involved. This collaboration allows for a better understanding of each other's roles, and for the shared goal of creating better software with minimal time and effort.

DevOps is key to transforming the operations side of an organization and allowing everyone involved to create high-quality, reliable software. And collaboration between the teams is what allows for this.

Before you can start implementing DevOps in your organization, you need to establish a culture of collaboration between the teams involved. DevOps is a marriage between teams, and successful marriages are built on communication and a mutual understanding of what both parties bring to the table.

To create this culture, you'll want to start by determining which members of your organization are involved in the transformation. You can do this by identifying the individuals who are responsible for bringing the different teams together (such as product managers, architects, developers, and operations staff).

You can also do a deeper dive into how the teams interact with each other. Ask yourself:

  • What information does each team need from the other?
  • What do they do with that information?
  • What are their roles and responsibilities?

This will help you determine where the gaps are between the teams and what needs to change.

▶ Key Insight

Adjusting your planning routines and routines into a methodology which is bite sized, easily consumable, and more incremental inherently forces more collaboration between teams because your product is more approachable by everyone.

Advantages of DevOps over Traditional Delivery Methodologies

DevOps stands as a transformative approach in the realm of software development, offering a paramount advantage over conventional methodologies by fostering the creation of superior software products through streamlined workflows. Unlike traditional techniques like the Waterfall model, which often lead to delays and budget overruns, DevOps introduces a novel synergy between development and operations teams. This collaboration permits the seamless integration of code changes, continuous testing, and automated deployments, resulting in a more efficient and reliable development cycle. By emphasizing iterative development and frequent feedback loops, DevOps not only ensures the timely delivery of software but also maintains a stringent focus on quality assurance.

This departure from traditional practices is crucial as businesses navigate a rapidly evolving technological landscape, enabling them to swiftly respond to changing requirements while ensuring the end product adheres to rigorous quality standards.

It's worth noting that the potency of DevOps extends beyond mere quantity and delves into the realm of software excellence. DevOps doesn't solely aim to churn out more code but rather strives to enhance the overall software quality by prioritizing collaboration, early detection of issues, and continuous improvement. The iterative nature of DevOps, with its iterative cycles of development, testing, and deployment, enables the identification and rectification of defects at an early stage, preventing the accumulation of technical debt. This proactive approach to software development aligns with the modern business landscape's demand for agile and adaptable solutions. Consequently, DevOps empowers businesses to not only accelerate their software delivery but to elevate the value proposition of their products, catering to the ever-increasing expectations of users and stakeholders alike.

In essence, DevOps transcends the confines of conventional methods by fostering a culture of shared responsibility, iterative refinement, and a relentless pursuit of software excellence.

Agile Overview

The Agile methodology has a long history of use in the field of software development, but its recent rise to prominence can be attributed to the DevOps movement.

The term "agile" refers to a collection of approaches that are built on the principles of rapid and evolutionary development. To do this, you must first identify the requirements of your company and then devise goods and services to fulfill those requirements.

This kind of development is frequently referred to as evolutionary development, and it is intended to be a process that occurs in an ongoing manner. This indicates that in order to adapt to the changes that are occurring in your company, you will need to tweak your processes in the appropriate manner.

In comparison to more conventional methods of development, such as waterfall, evolutionary development offers a number of distinct benefits. The Waterfall methodology is one that centers on a single target release date, and it is frequently utilized in traditional methodology.

▶ Example

Have you ever been in a room where everyone from the project is, in real time, trying to solve for a complex series of events each of which need to unfold in a hyper precise way in order for your project to be a success?

What a waste!

By embracing Agile (big A not little a) and the DevOps methodology, you are able to continually push your changes and not worry about how a series of events will unfold. When the project is ready to consume your work, they just flip on a feature flag and keep the project going.

If you are looking for a deeper dive on Agile, check out the card down below.

The Importance of Agility in Digital Development

Agile development emphasizes the need for constant communication and collaboration between the teams responsible for product development. This communication is key to the success of the transformation, and it's achieved by bringing together architects, product managers, developers, and operations staff.

By bringing everyone together, you'll be able to understand their roles and responsibilities and make adjustments as necessary. And, most importantly, you'll be able to communicate better and collaborate.

By developing products and services that respond to the needs of your customers, you'll be able to create better software with minimal effort.

When you develop products that your customers actually want, they're going to be much happier with your software. It's important to remember that creating customer value is the goal of every business process. Finding ways to make your own business process more efficient is important, but it's even more critical to focus on customer value.

The Interaction Between Agile and DevOps Principles

Many people are under the assumption that DevOps and Agile are two different methods, when, in fact, they're both about rapid, continuous improvement. There are some differences between them, but both focus on bringing the best out of their team members.

Both DevOps and Agile are about collaboration between teams, and both aim to create high-quality, reliable software. But clearly, there are differences between the two. Let's take a look at some of the similarities between the two methodologies.

Both DevOps and Agile work best when they are integrated. The goal of an integrated approach is to produce high-quality software as quickly as possible. Through the collaboration between developers, testers, operations staff, and other members of the team, you can achieve a faster turnaround time for your software.

To make this collaboration possible, teams must adhere to certain principles such as communication, consistency, and agility.

Additionally, an integrated DevOps and Agile approach can help to reduce the risk of software defects. To accomplish this, you must work with your team to create automated tests for your software.

By integrating DevOps and Agile development processes, you can increase your team's overall quality. Through testing, you can catch problems before they are shipped to customers. Operations can also be integrated into the process, reducing bottlenecks and increasing the speed of software releases.

These principles aren't rigid rules; rather, they're guidelines for implementing good practices for developing software and delivering it more efficiently. They aren't meant to replace traditional methods of doing business or IT operations; rather, they complement them in order to achieve greater results as quickly as possible.

Being Agile with DevOps

Agile thinking forms the foundation of DevOps. It's a strategy for agile software development and software delivery that you can use. Because of this, software developers and IT operations specialists need to work closely together to provide a superior product in the shortest period of time possible.

Being Lean with DevOps

Although the implementation of lean principles in DevOps is distinct from their application in traditional lean techniques, its significance cannot be understated. These guiding principles provide an emphasis on ongoing processes of continuous improvement, ongoing learning, and ongoing feedback. The overarching objective is to lessen the amount of waste produced during the process while simultaneously improving product quality.

Common Myths and Misconceptions about Agile and DevOps

There are many misconceptions about Agile and DevOps out in various sources around the internet. I have compiled a short list here along with a link to a more in-depth list of misconceptions below!

  • Misconception 1: Quick Fixes for Delivery Issues

    • Agile and DevOps are often mistakenly seen as solutions to patch up existing problems in delivery processes.
    • This approach leads to low-quality outcomes and is not sustainable in the long term.
    • A holistic view and strategic transformation are necessary for effective implementation.
  • Misconception 2: Purchasable Solutions

    • There's a false belief that Agile and DevOps can be bought as tools or processes.
    • These methodologies require a fundamental transformation across all roles, not just the acquisition of tools.
    • Training can bridge knowledge gaps but isn't a complete solution.
  • Misconception 3: No Need for Planning

    • Contrary to some beliefs, Agile and DevOps require significant planning.
    • These methodologies involve continuous improvement and automation, which necessitate careful planning.
  • Misconception 4: Only for Small Teams

    • Agile and DevOps are beneficial for teams of all sizes.
    • They provide structured, formalized approaches to address complex software delivery challenges.
  • Misconception 5: Agile and DevOps Are the Same

    • These are complementary but distinct methodologies.
    • They can be implemented independently, though they work best when combined.
  • Misconception 6: Increased Budget and Chaos

    • Proper implementation of Agile and DevOps can lead to cost savings and efficiency.
    • They emphasize structured development and delivery, contrary to perceptions of chaos and budget overruns.
  • Misconception 7: In-House Only Requirement

    • DevOps encourages flexibility, including the use of external services.

Should you incorporate DevOps and Agile in your workflow?

In today's fast-paced and technology-driven business environment, the integration of DevOps and Agile methodologies into your workflow can be a game-changer. These methodologies are not just about speeding up software development and delivery; they represent a fundamental shift in how teams collaborate, innovate, and respond to market demands.

Agile methodology focuses on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continual improvement, all while encouraging rapid and flexible responses to change. By incorporating Agile, your team can focus on delivering value to customers quickly and efficiently, with a constant feedback loop to ensure that the product meets user needs and expectations.

DevOps, on the other hand, bridges the gap between development and operations, aiming to shorten the systems development life cycle while delivering features, fixes, and updates frequently in close alignment with business objectives. It emphasizes automation, continuous integration, and continuous delivery, fostering a culture of collaboration and shared responsibility. This not only improves the speed and quality of software development but also leads to more reliable and stable operating environments.

When combined, Agile and DevOps offer a powerful synergy. Agile provides the framework for developing software in a customer-centric way, while DevOps brings in the practices and tools to streamline this development into a seamless, efficient pipeline.

However, it's important to note that the transition to Agile and DevOps is not just about adopting new tools and processes; it's about a cultural shift within the organization. It requires buy-in from all levels, from management to individual contributors, and a willingness to embrace change, experimentation, and continuous learning.

Incorporating Agile and DevOps into your workflow can significantly enhance your team's productivity, product quality, and ability to compete in the market. However, this should be approached as a holistic change in your organization's approach to software development and delivery, rather than a set of quick fixes or tools to be implemented.

External References


DevOps is a transformation aimed at bringing together the disciplines of development and operations to produce high-quality software. It's a marriage between the teams involved, and it needs to be built on communication and collaboration. DevOps is key to transforming operations and allowing everyone to create high-quality, reliable software. And collaboration between teams is what allows for this. DevOps is the marriage between software engineers and IT professionals.