Agile vs DevOps: What’s the Difference?

The software and application development field has so many different elements, approaches, and methodologies that you can find yourself wondering which ones are the most ideal. Furthermore, developers are likely to wonder, “do any of these concepts play well together?”

That’s what we’re here to decide. So today, we explore two prevalent concepts relating to software development: Agile and DevOps. How do Agile and DevOps interrelate? Should they? Let’s find out!

We are here to see if Agile and DevOps can co-exist successfully and their process and synergy. So if you have already made up your mind that DevOps and Agile can't work together, then get ready to have your notions challenged.

But first, let’s reacquaint ourselves with these two extremely popular methodologies. If you’re never heard of or dealt with Agile and DevOps (is such a thing even possible??), you will find the following two sections particularly useful.

We begin with Agile in our effort to answer the question: how do Agile and DevOps interrelate?

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If you want the best Agile definition, look no further than the source itself. According to Agile Alliance, Agile software development is “an umbrella term for a set of frameworks and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the 12 Principles behind it.”

Agile focuses on the people who do the actual work and how they work as a team. Collaboration between cross-functional, self-organizing teams produces workable solutions. It’s a methodology that allows developers to easily adapt and respond to changes, hence why it was named “agile.”

The key to Agile’s success is delivering work in small, consumable increments rather than one massive product release. These smaller pieces make it easier to continuously evaluate requirements, plans, and results, making it easier for teams to respond to change quickly. For example, consider how easier it is to create a mid-course correction if a problem arises if the work is being done in gradual stages. It's certainly a better way than to spend all that time creating a complete release and only afterward realizing that there was an issue overlooked halfway through the development process.

Agile software development includes pair programming, test-driven development, stand-ups, planning sessions, and sprints. You also may hear more talk of Scrum in context with Agile development.

In summary, Agile is a mindset created to help developers produce better work faster and of better quality. So what is DevOps?


On the other hand, DevOps is a collection of optimization techniques. Operations and development engineers collaborate through the whole service lifecycle, from the design to the development process and production support.

Its very name is a fusion of Development and Operations. DevOps knocks down the divide between process and production, offering ongoing management and deployment. DevOps has the operations staff use many of the same techniques in their systems work that developers use.

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While “Dev” typically refers to developers, it covers all positions that have a hand in developing a product, including QA, Product, and other types of disciplines. “Ops,” on the other hand, refers to operations staff, systems engineers, release engineers, system administrators, network engineers, DBAs, security professionals, and other job titles or subdisciplines.

Ideally, bringing together Development and Operations promotes continuous integration and deployment, automated testing, and code repository transparency.

There is an apparent school of thought that claims that DevOps and Agile can’t work together. But, as we are about to see, nothing could be further from the truth.

How Do Agile and DevOps Interrelate? Process

For starters, let’s throw out the Agile vs. DevOps idea because it’s false. The chief difference between Agile and DevOps is that the former is an approach that emphasizes iterative development using independent, cross-functional teams. At the same time, the latter is a practice that moves Operations roles into Development, creating the basis for CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery).

Rather than being in competition, Agile and DevOps complement each other when the goal is to develop better software releases with greater speeds.

Agile begins and finishes with development, while DevOps focuses on the relevant agents. DevOps begins the project with provisioning and orchestration and concludes it with continuous delivery, IT management, and monitoring.

Agile development is a group activity, and Scrum furnishes the framework for daily communications, which quickly brings to light any surface obstacles to the team’s progress on their objectives. Furthermore, customer stories can define the work done in two to four-week sprints. The stakeholders track the progress in periodic reviews, while team members offer honest, transparent feedback at the ceremonies that wrap up each sprint. Success depends on team members sharing their skills and expertise and feedback loops that boost development speed.

Or, to put this another way, Agile methodology revolves around people and their relationship with processes and resources. DevOps ensures that the appropriate business units receive the necessary technology and works without interruption or problems. First, DevOps sets up the parameters for software requirements, and then the Agile teams work on the development part. This way, DevOps builds the software that Agile teams will test, then deploy.

Let’s answer the question: how do Agile and DevOps interrelate.

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Synergy: How Do Agile and DevOps Interrelate?

As we try to figure out how do Agile and DevOps interrelate, we need to visit the Software Lifecycle Process. The chart below breaks things into a more straightforward presentation, clearly illustrating how you find synergy between these two methodologies. Each philosophy brings something different to the mix, even though they are fundamentally similar.

Software Lifecycle Process Step

What Agile Provides

What DevOps Adds

The Resultant Synergy of Agile and DevOps Combined

Plan, Code, Build

Scrum team methods, discipline. Customer stories that guide and drive the work. Smaller projects. The team is free to explore and make mistakes sooner.

External feedback loops. Organization-wide engagement. Automation, fluid job roles, and microservices.

Shorter build cycles. Transparency. Internal and external feedback. Operational awareness. Resource flexibility.

Test, QA, Security

Certified skills. Specialized job roles. A consistent set of governance and standards. Confidence in testing.

Repetitive work is automated. Building better security literacy. Measure the compliance against established standards.

More testing available across platforms. Security becomes a team responsibility. Sharing ownership.

Orchestration of Infrastructure

Providing risk-free environments for experimentation and learning.

Containers and remote source code repositories. Infrastructure as code. Protecting data pipelines.

A scalable, secure, lean infrastructure. More developer engagement. Rapid provisioning.

Continuous Integration/ Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)

Smaller pieces of code that can be eventually integrated into full programs.

Separating development and deployments.

Automating the process for code integration into releases that are deployed as the business needs them.

Software benefits from a shorter development and delivery life cycle. Increased reliability and sustainability. A safe and secure app pipeline.

Monitoring and Feedback

Backlog management. Sprint ceremonies. The daily stand up. Team retrospectives. Additional customer stories.

Automating the monitoring process, catching failures before they can affect customers. Compliance assurance.

Optimizing the information flow so that failures won’t impact the customers’ experiences.

IT Management’s Role

The process approach to skill development, managing work, software pipelines, and team contributions.

Tools and automation approach used to dislodge operations bottlenecks. Operational accountability in Development.

Increased focus on team objectives and goals. Team members get upskilled. Modernized IT assets. Smoother, better collaboration.

 The stakeholders expected new releases several times per day. Additionally, there is extreme pressure on the development teams to build more, better, and faster while not sacrificing quality, security, reliability, performance, or resilience. The Agile-DevOps synergy will help teams deal with these increased expectations and come out on top.

This synergy helps teams fulfill service level agreements, predict outcomes more accurately, and proactively address any backlog issues. Additionally, QA, automated testing, monitoring, and feedback ensure the claims are grounded in metrics and part of the continuous improvement landscape.

Agile Vs. DevOps Commonalities

Agile and DevOps both focus on speed, efficiency, and quality results throughout the software development lifecycle. They also focus on shorter release cycles. Both methodologies don't put much focus on documentation levels and instead spend more time on automation and collaboration. As projects progress, the risk level tends to decrease when using an Agile or DevOps approach, whereas risk tends to increase over time with other approaches like Waterfall.

If new business needs arise, both Agile and DevOps methodologies prepare organizations to be extremely responsive by addressing business needs immediately. Businesses that use either approach also typically have tighter ownership of their respective projects.

Are you skilled enough to apply the latest DevOps methodology? Well, take up this DevOps Certification Exam Practice Test and assess by your results.

Agile and DevOps: Can They Be Used Together?

The good news is that it's not necessary to commit to one approach over another. A mix of both methodologies can be used to ensure increased efficiency. Both have major roles to play when it comes to software development and deployment, and one can be used to enable the other.

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Would You Like to Be Certified in DevOps?

Whether it's used with Agile or not, DevOps is a popular methodology used by many organizations and businesses. However, if you want a greater understanding of DevOps and earn your certification, Simplilearn has just the course for you. The Post Graduate Program in DevOps, developed in partnership with CalTech CTME, gives you the skills you need to close the gap between software developers and operations teams.

The DevOps certification training helps you master the art and science of improving your entire team's development and operational activities. During your DevOps training, you will build expertise via hands-on projects in continuous deployment, using configuration management tools such as SaltStack, Ansible, and Puppet.

You can further add to your DevOps training and get ready for that crucial interview by checking out these DevOps interview questions. This tutorial will give you that extra boost of confidence from being better prepared for whatever questions the interviewer poses.

Glassdoor reports that DevOps Engineers can earn an average of USD 105,017 annually. Meanwhile, in India, DevOps Engineers can make ₹713,924, according to Payscale. So, if you're looking for a total career change or in a different IT field but want to switch to a more challenging yet rewarding career path, let Simplilearn be your go-to resource. Check out their DevOps-related courses today!

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Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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