Agile vs DevOps: What’s the difference?

In this article we discuss about Agile vs DevOps.

What is Agile Methodology?

It is a flexible approach to project management and product development that focuses on collaboration, customer feedback, and incremental progress. It originated in the software development domain but has since been adopted by numerous industries to manage various projects.

Difference between Agile and DevOps

The key difference between Agile versus DevOps is that Agile is a philosophy about how to develop and deliver software, while DevOps describes how to continuously deploy code through the use of modern tools and automated processes.

Agile’s Manifesto

The values and concepts stated in the Agile manifesto are stuck to by agile software engineers.

The Agile Manifesto, which was developed and signed by professionals in software development in 2001, outlines the 12 guiding principles and four essential values that Agile practitioners have to maintain. These include:

  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Responding to change over following a plan
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

The Agile Manifesto is extremely brief, despite its clear significance to the software development world. The entire text is shorter than 500 words.

Continuous software delivery to the client is the top priority, according to the Agile Manifesto. It also doesn’t offer clear instructions or suggest any particular procedures to adhere to. This is only a philosophical diversion.

Agile vs DevOps Chart

InventorsJohn Kern, Martin Fowler at al.John Allspaw and Paul Hammond at Flickr, and The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim
Highest priorityContinuous delivery of softwareContinuous deployment of software
Founding artifactAgile Manifesto10+ Deploys Per Day conference session and The Phoenix Project
Implementation frameworksScrum, Kanban, ScrumBan, Lean, XPCAMS, CALMS, DORA
AlternativesWaterfallSilo based development and deployment
Team sizeUsed by small teams of 10 or lessImplemented as a company wide strategy
ScopeFocuses on the development of a single applicationA corporate wide approach to software deployment

In their 2009 Velocity talk, Allspaw and Hammond explain how a high level of trust has been established between development and operations due to their software testing procedures. Therefore, the business put in place a procedure that would automatically release code into production more than ten times every day. It was innovative at the time to automate something of that nature.

Since 2009, a lot has happened in the software development sector, yet the basic principles of DevOps have not changed:

  • Trust and collaboration between Dev and Ops teams
  • Heavy reliance on comprehensive software testing routines
  • Integration of modern tools to simplify development and operations tasks
  • Automation of deployment into production without any human intervention or checkpoints

Agile and DevOps culture

While many argue over exactly what DevOps is, most definitions include the term ‘culture.’ Which begs the question: what is culture?

Generally speaking, culture is any group of like-minded people who use a common set of tools and follow a repeatable set of processes.

In essence, culture boils down to these three things:

  • people;
  • processes; and
  • the tools they use

DevOps processes and tools

In the world of DevOps, practitioners stitch together many tasks and popular tools to accomplish them, including:

  • code repositories and version control, such as Git and GitHub;
  • containerization and orchestration, such as Docker and Kubernetes;
  • automatic and continuous code development and integration, including Jenkins and other tools;
  • Kubernetes for orchestration;
  • Static and dynamic code analysis;
  • Configuration management and infrastructure as code, such as Chef, Puppet and Terraform;
  • Public cloud platforms and services, including from AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud

The overarching process that emerges from all of these steps is the continuous integration and continuous deployment of code (CI/CD).

Agile versus DevOps differences and similarities

So to summarize, here are the most common differences and similarities between DevOps and Agile:

1. Agile is defined by the Agile Manifesto, while there is no universally accepted definition of DevOps.
2. DevOps defines a work culture, while Agile is a software development philosophy.
3. Agile’s highest priority is continuous delivery, while for DevOps it’s continuous deployment.
4. DevOps insists on the automation of all manual tasks, while Agile values “the amount of work not done.”
5. DevOps practitioners embrace an Agile mindset, while Agile demands participants be self-organized and motivated.

Together, people with Agile mindsets who embrace a DevOps culture all share a common goal: the continuous delivery and deployment of software to the client.

When all participants embrace an Agile mindset, DevOps-based digital transformations can be successful.

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