Why you shouldn’t choose between an agile approach and a DevOps approach?

Source – ibm.com

You may hear your IT department talking about implementing an agile approach or DevOps development. Both promise better and faster software development through collaboration. How are they different, and which is better for your business?

Agile software development principles enable developers to deliver new functionality quickly while responding to changing business requirements. Development teams deliver incremental features frequently, perhaps every couple of weeks. Traditional approaches often take months or even years to deliver new systems. In the meantime, business needs have changed and the systems are no longer good fits. The agile approach helps address this problem.

DevOps addresses a different part of the software development lifecycle. It focuses on reducing handoffs between developers and the operations teams running and supporting the systems. It aims to reduce the time to test and deploy code to users as well as reduce errors and downtime of the operational systems.

Though agile and DevOps focus on different areas, they are related. The principles in the Agile Manifesto, published in 2001, refer to continuous delivery of working software. Continuous deployment is an aim of DevOps. Years later, the term “DevOps” was coined to describe using an agile approach in the operational context rather than development context of IT systems.

Many organizations are adopting agile and DevOps practices together. This combination enables businesses to manage a complete process from initial planning and requirements through to development, deployment and operation. This faster, leaner approach is often built around small teams with the skills to execute each of those tasks.

The prevalence of the DevOps-plus-agile approach is reflected in the results of IBM’s global study exploring adoption, usage patterns and the impact of DevOps. The study involved interviewing participants already using DevOps and found that more than 75 percent use — or will soon use — an agile-plus-DevOps approach to create single, unified teams responsible for the full application lifecycle and apply agile and lean principles across their companies.

Study participants reported many benefits and synergies of this combined approach, including the following:

  • 53 percent experienced improvements in application quality and reduction of defects
  • 49 percent were able to reduce application downtime and associated costs
  • 48 percent saw higher customer satisfaction
  • 37 percent experienced faster time-to-market

However, adopting agile-plus-DevOps is not without its challenges. Both approaches require companies to embrace technical and cultural changes. Making these changes is more challenging if your business has governance or regulatory requirements. And businesses may need to adjust processes and organizational structure.

The journey to become an organization that values collaboration, learning and experimentation takes time and a consistent strategy, but the payoffs can be considerable.

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