DevOps is a set of practices related to software development that has been developed since 2009.
Agile is an incremental, iterative methodology that is also used for software development and managing teams that create digital products.
DevOps was created primarily to make the work of developers involved in software maintenance and development more coordinated and consistent. But of course, these are not the only purposes.
Thanks to AGILE, development teams can deliver value to their customers much faster while increasing their productivity.
DevOps and Agile are practices and methodologies for developing software with maximum speed, efficiency, low risk, and high quality.
Although DevOps and Agile have common features and are very similar in some aspects, they are not the same. Despite all the similarities, they differ a lot.
Let's say right away that in the most general sense, DevOps and Agile are primarily used to increase productivity, the efficiency of collaboration, and speed of achieving goals and provide smooth workflows.
However, as usual, the devil is in the details.
A detailed description of the similarities and differences that can be identified between Agile and DevOps allows us to see their potential and the scope of applicability and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
Due to their distinctive features and advantages, Agile and DevOps are often recognized as complementary approaches, which, when used together, simultaneously contribute to the team's overall productivity.
They are praised for their very positive impact on the product quality and the atmosphere within the team.
Of the two comparisons: the confrontational and meant to indicate superiority (Agile vs. DevOps) and the one based on complementary, synchronous logic (Agile and DevOps), it is much more sensible to choose the latter.
Because the alleged competitiveness of DevOps and Agile is mainly artificial and has little to do with reality. It stems from a poorly posed question.
There is no point in choosing one approach, justifying the choice by the supposed superiority of one over the other.
In reality, some elements of DevOps grow directly out of Agile, and for some, DevOps is an evolutionary development of the popular Agile methodology.
It makes much more sense to use both approaches. This is because it allows us to work faster, more efficiently, with greater comfort, and in a more rational, controlled manner.
Alright, it's time to get to the details.
We cordially invite anyone interested in exploiting the potential of both methodologies to read this article.
What is DevOps?
Behind the acronym, DevOps is a set of Development and Operations practices that were quickly expanded to include security matters.
Currently, it is pretty common to see the acronym DevSecOps, which stands for Development, Security, and Operations.
DevOps is characterized by the principle of joint ownership, workflow automation, and fast feedback.
According to a somewhat accurate quasi-definition of DevOps published in the article "What is DevOps?", DevOps combines philosophies, practices, and cultural tools.
To clarify, let's add that we are talking about a quasi-definition because DevOps has yet to be defined in a formal, official way, and thus there is no model or a correct way to understand this concept.
DevOps is a software development culture in which the development team and the operations team work together to improve the course of collaboration and increase productivity.
To put it another way, the DevOps/DevSecOps methodology is based on five pillars:
- Continuous Deployment
- Continuous Monitoring
- Continuous Testing
As well as on:
- Continuous Integration
- Continuous Delivery
This specific combination allows organizations to increase productivity. Above all, it is about delivering applications and services quickly.
DevOps is the ability to develop and improve digital products faster, which affects competitiveness.
Organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes (Waterfall) are less efficient than companies that embrace DevOps.
The speed of creating, developing, improving, and adapting digital products enables organizations to serve customers better and compete on the market more effectively.
In the article published on the Red Hats blog, "What is DevSecOps?", DevSecOps is "defined" as:
"It's an approach to culture, automation, and platform design that integrates security as a shared responsibility throughout the entire IT lifecycle. DevSecOps means thinking about application and infrastructure security from the start".
With DevOps/DevSecOps, development teams can build digital products that are much more:
- Secure – due to the constant monitoring of their quality, consistency, and flawlessness.
- Integral – thanks to the full perspective of their view.
- Rationalized – they are based on data.
DevOps/DevSecOps is a set of practices particularly suited for projects with a large number of daily, weekly, or monthly changes.
It is also advisable for projects where risk minimization is a priority. It will also find its use in projects in which efficiency, speed of work, and the introduction of changes are equally important.
Practices under the collective name of DevOps/DevSecOps have gained popularity mainly due to their numerous advantages, which include the following:
- Increased update and innovation cycles
- Automation of processes and simultaneous control over them
- Minimization of errors and necessary fixes
- Verification of changes in terms of security
- Simplification of adding new features to the system
- Overseeing the product during the concept, development, and operation phases
- Increased product flexibility
- Performance estimation, thanks to continuous monitoring
- Faster error diagnosis in case of a malfunction
- An increased amount of implementations
- Faster processes
- Integration of teams – development and operations.
In summary, DevOps is an approach to software development, a set of practices that enable teams to:
- Develop, test, and publish software faster and more reliably.
- Automate selected processes.
- Ensure better collaboration between development and operations teams.
The main goal of DevOps is to support interactions between programmers from the development and operations teams, who run the software in a production environment, and who create and maintain the infrastructure on which the software runs.
Integrating developers and operations teams helps streamline the entire application development, deployment, and management process.
DevOps consists of a continuous software development, testing, deployment, and monitoring cycle. Moreover, DevOps supports communication within and between teams, as well as accountability.
The foundation of DevOps practices is:
- Version control – developers usually upload code changes to a central repository several times a day.
- Continuous integration – the code is integrated in the repository several times a day.
- Continuous delivery – the code is consistently delivered to the end user.
- Continuous deployment – based on process automation.
- Continuous testing – at every stage of development.
- Continuous performance monitoring.
- Continuous support of collaboration.
Alright, now that we know what to associate the DevOps/DevSecOps methodology with, let's move on to an equally concise discussion of the Agile methodology.
What is Agile?
According to a popular definition, Agile is an iterative, incremental methodology that enables development and project teams to create software and digital products more efficiently.
The essence of Agile is the continuous delivery of small, testable increments that are easy to manage.
The Agile methodology emerged as a response to the linear, overly rigid, highly structured, hardly functional, and also poorly tailored to the specific nature of digital products, the Cascade (Waterfall) methodology.
The high dynamics of change that digital products must face require the use of project management and software development methodologies capable of providing adequate flexibility and fast response.
As well as giving teams the ability to adapt to new conditions, contexts, and changes quickly and to deploy innovations continuously.
Agile is based on specific values and principles described in the Agile Manifesto, which are, to this day, the reference point and foundation of Agile software development.
Very important aspects of the Agile Manifesto include:
- Emphasis on the crucial role of each team member.
- Attention to the quality of the work environment.
- Support for healthy and friendly relationships.
- Attention to the quality of communication.
We should also add and strongly emphasize that the most important goal of the signatories of the Agile Manifesto was to make software development much more:
- Harmonious and Efficient
- Flexible and Agile
- Based on real, measurable, beneficial values for all stakeholders that brought some depth to the software development process.
In other words, Agile addresses a fundamental issue.
Productivity, efficiency, punctuality, and quality of the digital product are not only a matter of procedures, tools, norms, and standards but also stem from the work culture, from attention to the role of individuals and their interaction.
For example, Agile prioritizes humans over documentation, which is characteristic and illustrative of what is crucial in this methodology.
Do not underestimate the role of the latter, but also do not let it dominate the process.
Extensive documentation in accordance with Agile values is not necessary to build useful and functional software.
This is a significant change because, before the Agile era, projects began precisely with the preparation of meticulous documentation.
This necessity severely slowed the speed of work.
Another feature of Agile is the division of the project into smaller parts, Tasks – much more manageable Sprints, within which Increments are achieved, mainly through the implementation of subsequent User Stories.
During a Sprint, the Scrum team focuses on creating, testing, revising, and deploying a fragment of software.
Thanks to this, the software is delivered continuously and much more flexibly. It allows the stakeholders to provide feedback, to formulate new requirements during the project, which are taken into account in subsequent Sprints.
Agile methodologies make it possible to plan and design while simultaneously providing incremental software development, which promotes speed, reliability, and greater competitiveness of the digital product.
Adaptation, development, improvement, and making the software error-free is achieved in parallel with its creation.
Agile has gained popularity not only because of its numerous tools, frameworks, and solutions (e.g., Scrum, Kanban, Dynamic Systems Development Method, Adaptive Software Development) but also due to its numerous advantages.
The key benefits of Agile include:
- Prevention of errors and/or faster detection and their repair.
- Shorter time horizons – focus on quick development of working software.
- Considerable flexibility expressed in a much easier redirection of objectives.
- A shift from the "Iron Triangle of Project Management," which absolutized scope, schedule, and quality.
What are the most important similarities and differences between Agile and DevOps?
What is the most notable and key difference between Agile and DevOps?
Agile is a method and simultaneously a "value-based philosophy" of software development and delivery. DevOps, however, focuses more on tools and work culture.
In particular, a lot of attention is paid to communication, integration, and cooperation between developers to achieve higher efficiency.
DevOps strongly and deeply supports collaboration and integration of development and operations teams. The main goal is to automate the deployment of code to production.
Agile methodology is aimed at iteration, increment, and evolution, which are achieved through the division of work and tasks.
According to the Agile Manifesto, published in 2001, working software is always more important than documentation; people are more important than processes and tools, and quick responses are preferred over strict adherence to a plan.
In the Agile Manifesto, the continuous delivery of software to the customer is prioritized.
Agile does not include or define specific procedures, offer guidance, or recommend specific processes.
DevOps, on the other hand, while not based on any official document (a manifesto), is based on developed, shared practices and preferences.
In particular, regarding preferred tools (such as GitHub – a code repository that offers version control), practices, or solutions (such as AWS – cloud services).
Agile and DevOps are complementary and, to some extent, overlap, if only in relation to self-organization, motivation, self-improvement, and continuous software delivery.
In DevOps, work culture is important, and in Agile, values are essential. Therefore, both methodologies put at the center the dynamics of interaction, the quality of communication, and the attitude towards work, oneself, and other team members.
The priority in Agile is continuous delivery. In DevOps, continuous deployment – as a result; it's all about increment, development, and a tangible value offered to the customer.
In Agile, a lot of attention is focused on the Backlog, while in DevOps, it is crucial to automate all possible tasks.
In a very general sense, both approaches are oriented toward integration, communication, and obtaining feedback.
DevOps strives to integrate development and operations teams. In Agile, stakeholder feedback is important.
DevOps focuses on continuous testing and delivery, and Agile is oriented toward constant change.
Agile, though older, has a narrower scope and is focused on software development, while DevOps serves business goals as well; in this sense, it is much more multi-dimensional.
Agile helps manage complex projects, while the essence of DevOps is managing complex engineering processes.
Agile is founded on continuous change, while DevOps focuses on constant testing and delivery.
In Agile methodologies, there is a strong emphasis on developing the range of competencies of team members, who should have a wide range of shared and distinct skills.
In DevOps, competencies are quite clearly differentiated, with development and operations teams focusing on growth within their domain.
In Agile, the ideal that is pursued is a situation where every Scrum team member can perform a task that ensures progress. In DevOps, development teams and operations teams are separate.
DevOps and Agile also differ in the size of the typical team. In Agile, teams are small, which is an advantage. In DevOps, teams are much bigger.
In Agile, we think in terms of Sprints, which usually last no more than a month and are typically completed within two weeks. In DevOps, the ideal is to deliver code to production every day or even more frequently.
Agile is oriented towards getting feedback from external stakeholders. In DevOps, the source of feedback is the team itself.
According to the Agile Manifesto, working software is more valuable than complete documentation.
In DevOps, process documentation is crucial, as the quality of collaboration between development and operations teams depends on it.
Agile, unlike DevOps, does not focus on automation.
Agile provides a quicker and easier way to respond to changes, while DevOps, through automation and fast error fixing, improves the quality of the digital product.
How to harness the potential of Agile and DevOps?
Remember that creating, deploying, developing, and optimizing digital products for a long time has been an increasingly critical part of business operations and strategies.
Optimizing digital product development processes has become a necessity in some way.
The way to get the best results, among other things, is to integrate and use the potentials that lie in different practices, methodologies, and tools.
To put it simply, it is about combining them to achieve a holistic, synergistic effect.
Agile and DevOps are precisely where these needs and conditions originate.
As we wrote above, the two methodologies are complementary and are certainly not competing approaches.
Agile without DevOps would be of little use, just as DevOps without Agile would be severely restricted.
Their interdependence is obvious, and by many authors, DevOps is treated as a missing but necessary element of Agile.
It is worth remembering that Agile cannot proceed without DevOps when it is to be implemented entirely.
This idea of complementarity is relatively easy to achieve, especially since Agile and DevOps share common goals and a common – at some level – way of thinking.
The ultimate goal of DevOps is to automate the deployment of working code fully. In Agile, the highest priority is the continuous delivery of software. Such a fundamental common goal makes the two approaches mutually helpful.
Moreover, both approaches aim to deliver working and error-free software to the customer quickly. These overlaps, if harnessed, can only make this goal a reality more quickly.
Also, the need to use modern tools and processes unites these two approaches. The most commonly used tools are integrated – more or less perfectly.
Thanks to DevOps integrations with Agile, also at the level of tools, it is possible to:
- Speed up the release process
- Improve collaboration
- Minimize risks
- Obtain more real value from the customer
- Minimize errors
- Accelerate the implementation of fixes
- Increase visibility
- Achieve a better User Experience through higher usability and quality of the digital product.
At the same time, we should remember that separating DevOps from Agile negatively affects the product's final quality.
Mainly because of the problem of lack of accountability and poor communication.
Combining Agile Sprints with integrated teamwork done in DevOps methodology provides a better way to coordinate, control work, respond to problems, and plan the development cycle.
DevOps vs. Agile – what is the difference? Summary
- DevOps is a set of practices related to software development.
- Agile is an incremental, iterative methodology that is also used for software development and managing teams that create digital products.
- In practice, both approaches are used to develop software with maximum speed, efficiency, low risk, and high quality.
- DevOps and Agile are primarily used to increase productivity, smooth workflows, collaboration efficiency, and speed of goal achievement.
- The choice between DevOps and Agile is a false dilemma.
- Using both approaches allows us to work faster, more efficiently, with greater comfort, and in a more rational, controlled manner.
- DevOps/DevSecOps is a software development culture in which the development team and the operations team work together to improve the course of collaboration and increase productivity.
- DevOps/DevSecOps is a set of practices particularly suited for projects with a large number of daily, weekly, or monthly changes.
- DevOps consists of a continuous software development, testing, deployment, and monitoring cycle.
- Agile is an iterative, incremental methodology that enables development and project teams to create software and digital products more efficiently.
- The agile methodology emerged as a response to the linear, overly rigid, hardly functional, and also poorly tailored to the specific nature of digital products, the Cascade (Waterfall) methodology.
- Agile methodologies make it possible to plan and design while simultaneously providing incremental software development, which promotes speed, reliability, and greater competitiveness of the digital product.
- Agile is a method and simultaneously a "value-based philosophy" of software development and delivery.
- DevOps focuses more on tools and work culture.
- In DevOps, work culture is important, and in Agile, values are essential. Therefore, both methodologies put at the center the dynamics of interaction, the quality of communication, and the attitude towards work, oneself, and other team members.
- Agile and DevOps share common goals and a common way of thinking.
- Both approaches aim to deliver working and error-free software to the customer quickly.
- Separating DevOps from Agile negatively affects the product's final quality.