Agile vs DevOps: What’s the Difference?

There are two standard methodologies most of today’s development teams use to bring software to market faster and more efficiently: Agile and DevOps. While both methodologies have a lot in common, there are notable Agile and DevOps differences. But first, what does each methodology mean, and how does each function in a team-based environment?

What Is Agile?

Agile is an iterative approach that encourages collaboration, organization, and feedback as a means of completing projects faster and more efficiently. It is typically used on the project management side of software development to ensure that all team members are accomplishing tasks quickly without sacrificing quality. The Agile methodology is carried out using smaller teams and segments, with continuous testing and changes made as needed based on immediate customer feedback.

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What Is DevOps?

At a mile-high level, DevOps is a collaborative process between development and IT operations teams used throughout the software development lifecycle. The goal is to improve the speed of product development and deployment. It is an Agile approach that breaks down traditional silos between teams that makes the process flexible enough to be able to respond to the need for changes and fixes at any stage.

DevOps Vs. Agile: What's the Difference and How Are They Related?

So what is the difference between Agile and DevOps? Although both approaches encourage collaboration to improve speed and efficiency, there are several differences when it comes to the method by which this goal is attained. Here are some critical differences in the Agile vs. DevOps discussion.

Process 

One difference in the DevOps vs. Agile methodology is how specific tasks are performed. With Agile, communication between teams and customers is constant, with necessary changes being made frequently throughout the production process to ensure quality. With DevOps, the focus is on frequent testing and delivery, but the communication is primarily between developers and IT operations. The Agile process is also more ideally suited for complex projects, while the DevOps method is more suitable for end-to-end processes.

Teams 

Another DevOps vs. Agile difference is team structure. Larger teams tend to use DevOps, with the skill set divided among team members within operations and development. This means each team member has a specific task or set of tasks to complete throughout each stage of the process. Agile, on the other hand, is better suited for smaller teams to complete work faster. The Agile approach doesn’t typically assign a specific set of duties to team members but instead encourages all members to share responsibilities equally. Because of this, all Agile team members should be able to handle or assign any part of a project at any given time.

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Focus and Feedback 

Agile and DevOps also differ when it comes to focus and feedback. While DevOps projects tend to focus on operational and business readiness with most feedback coming from internal team members, an Agile approach typically means feedback comes directly from consumers. With respect to focus, Agile teams commonly use sprints, with each sprint lasting less than a month. The idea with sprints is that achievable tasks are completed in increments, with one sprint starting immediately after the previous sprint is completed. With DevOps, there are specific deadlines to meet and benchmarks to achieve, some of which can occur daily.

Tools 

Agile and DevOps also tend to use different tools, depending on the project. With Agile, popular project-management tools include Kanboard and Jira project management software and Bugzilla server software. DevOps, on the other hand, uses tools like AWS cloud computing services, Puppet automation software, TeamCity servers, OpenStack software, and Chef infrastructure.

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.

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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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