Learn the role of Agile in DevOps and how the methodology makes the development and delivery process faster by automating various tasks.

As software development continues to evolve, two programming and project management methodologies have stood out, thanks to their transformative impact: Agile and DevOps. Agile is an approach for its iterative processes, while DevOps focuses on collaboration and continuous delivery — so they may appear distinct at first glance.

However, both methodologies are highly complementary, and practitioners of both work to create efficiency, quality and innovation in software development environments. This tutorial explores the role of Agile in DevOps and how these methodologies combine to foster successful software delivery.

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What is Agile and DevOps

Agile and DevOps, while distinct methodologies, both emerged as a result of the challenges associated with traditional software development approaches, such as Waterfall. Agile, for its part, introduced the concept of iterative development, whereby developers deliver incremental value to customers through a repeatable set of processes. DevOps, meanwhile, aims to bridge communication and workflow gaps between development and operations, leading to rapid and reliable software delivery.

What are Agile principles?

Agile consists of twelve principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto. These principles place a priority on collaboration, responding to change and delivering quality software incrementally. Agile practices like Scrum, Kanban and Extreme Programming (XP) emphasize iterative development, regular feedback and teams that are able to self-organize.

These practices help build a foundation for delivering value while, at the same time, being able to adapt to evolving requirements and changes in the marketplace. The twelve principles of Agile include:

  1. Customer satisfaction through the early and continuous delivery of high-quality software.
  2. Embrace change, even in late stages of development in order to assure competitive advantages.
  3. Deliver software frequently.
  4. Collaboration between stakeholders and developers daily, throughout the project lifecycle.
  5. Motivate, support and team members. Give them the tools and resources required to complete tasks.
  6. Hold face-to-face meetings regularly.
  7. Progress is measured by how well software works.
  8. Create a sustainable, replicable and iterative set of processes, pipelines and workflows.
  9. Use continuous improvement and good design to increase Agility.
  10. Keep things simple.
  11. Rely on self-organizing teams to design and develop requirements.
  12. Hold regular retrospectives to assess progress and requirements, then adjust accordingly.

What are DevOps principles?

DevOps builds upon Agile principles by enhancing collaboration between development and operations teams. DevOps practitioners advocate for a cultural shift that fosters philosophies such as transparency, continuous learning and shared responsibilities. DevOps practices include continuous integration, continuous delivery, infrastructure automation and performance monitoring. These elements enhance the delivery pipeline, streamline processes and reduce bottlenecks.

You can learn more about the core DevOps principles in our tutorial: What are DevOps principles?

What principles do Agile and DevOps share?

Both Agile and DevOps put a focus on collaboration and feedback loops. Agile teams collaborate with stakeholders to gather requirements, updates and feedback on software deliverables. DevOps enhances collaboration between development, operations, stakeholders and other teams, creating a shared understanding of the software lifecycle. Regular feedback loops allow teams to make better informed decisions and adjust strategies mid-stream, as needed.

Integrating Agile and DevOps

Agile and DevOps, as noted, share common goals and principles; chiefly, they both aim to deliver value to customers faster and improve software quality. Integrating Agile with DevOps aligns these goals further by creating a set of seamless processes from planning and ideation to deployment. Think of it this way: Agile practices provide the framework for iterative software development, while DevOps practices enable rapid, automated deployment, automated configuration and continuous monitoring, improvement and delivery.

Agile’s impact on DevOps

Agile’s influence on DevOps is quite impactful. Agile’s emphasis on flexibility, adaptability and incremental delivery aligns well with DevOps’ focus on continuous improvement and providing value to the customer. DevOps leverages Agile’s user-centric mindset to create software that meets customer requirements and expectations while continuously evolving based on feedback loops.

DevOps impact on Agile

DevOps enhances the potential of Agile by addressing some of the challenges Agile development teams face during deployment and operations. DevOps practices, such as continuous delivery, test automation and infrastructure as code, help ensure that software’s iterative progress transitions well into production via frequent tests and checks. This reduces errors, time wasted fixing code later in the lifecycle and improves product quality.

Challenges of Agile and DevOps

While Agile and DevOps work great together, challenges can arise, as with any approach. Organizations can expect to face struggles with cultural shifts, tool integration, stakeholder buy-in and general resistance to change. To combat these issues, be certain to involve leadership support, foster a culture of collaboration, invest in training and up-skilling and select tools that integrate with current systems (if possible) and align with both methodologies’ principles.

Final thoughts on Agile in DevOps

The merging of Agile and DevOps represents a holistic approach to software development, spanning from planning and design through delivery. Agile’s iterative practices align seamlessly with DevOps’ emphasis on collaboration, automation and continuous delivery.

The relationship between the two methodologies empowers organizations to deliver high-quality software rapidly, respond to market and requirement changes and continuously improve customer experiences. Embracing the philosophies of Agile and DevOps, development teams unlock the ability to better innovate, adapt and evolve in the dynamic world of software development.


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