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DevOps vs Agile: Difference Between DevOps and Agile

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9th Dec, 2019
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DevOps vs Agile: Difference Between DevOps and Agile

DevOps is a culture that promotes collaboration between software development and the operations team. This helps in communication, integrations, and collaboration among IT professionals to support the rapid deployment of software products into production in an automated way. DevOps culture enabled companies to increase the speed of delivering their applications and services.

Agile is a software development method that emphasizes an iterative and incremental approach to software development or project management. Agile enables continuous iterations of development and testing in the Software development life cycle. Agile essentially breaks down the software product into smaller pieces for the ease of development and integrates them for the final testing. 

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Differences between Agile and DevOps

1. The Main Purpose

Agile helps to manage complex projects with a strong focus on the iterative approach that enables customer feedback, collaboration, and small, rapid releases. While DevOps is a philosophy that brings software development teams and operations teams together reducing the gap between them.

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2. Addressing Communication Gaps

Agile focuses on filling the communication gaps between the developer and customer, while DevOps focuses on the communication gap between developer and IT operation teams.

3. The Focus on Tasks

Agile focuses on constant changes and tasks that enable and embrace changes. DevOps focuses on constant software testing and continuous delivery.

4. Implementation Methods

Agile is implemented using different frameworks like Scrum, SAFe, and Kanban. These are tactical frameworks that can be used in a coalition. DevOps is a philosophy that focuses on collaboration. So there is no commonly accepted framework. DevOps is implemented using tools like Puppet, Chef, Ansible, Docker, Jenkins, Git, TeamCity, etc. Difference between DevOps and Agile

5. Team Skillset and Focus Areas

Agile prophesies the importance of training all the development team members to have a variety of similar skills. Agile development teams are expected to have a T-shaped skill set, which is more of having generalized skills across the domain and in-depth knowledge in one skill. DevOps ensures the spread of skills between the software development teams and operation teams.

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6. Team Size

Agile needs relatively small teams to execute the quick bunch of tasks. The idea is that smaller teams with fewer people on it can deliver work faster. DevOps can have large teams as it involves different working pieces.

7. Duration

Agile is usually managed in units of sprints. Sprints usually run for a period of two weeks or a maximum of a month. DevOps concept deals with major and minor releases. Minor releases can happen very frequently, and the goal may be to deploy the code on production daily.

8. Feedback

For Agile feedback is given by the customer. In DevOps feedback, is given by the internal customers. For example, the continuous testing team will test the code and provide feedback to the developers in case of bud or issues. 

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9. Target Areas

The main target of Agile is the software development itself. DevOps, on the other hand, focuses on an end-to-end business solution that can be delivered faster. For example, DevOps can also be used for Infrastructure services, which is far different from software development. 

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10. Emphasis

Agile emphasizes on development alone. Agile takes care of the pathway through development and release but does not take care of what happens after its release to production. DevOps, on the other hand, takes the software which is tested and ready for release and deploys it in a secure and reliable production environment.

11. Cross-functional

Agile focuses on cross-functional teams. Any team member must have the capability to do anything that is for the progress of the project. When each team member can do any piece of work on the project, it increases the bonding between team members. in the DevOps model, the development team and operational teams are separate, which makes the communication between them is very important. 

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12. Documentation

Agile focuses on producing completed work as soon as possible. Agile’s goal is to build a working system or application and not any documentation for it. This school of thought works well when the teams are flexible and responsive. But in the modern world, in many scenarios, team members move in and out, teams are dismantled, and the application is handed over to another team.

In such cases, this approach of Agile has not proved worthy. In the DevOps model, documentation has it’s due importance because the software is sent to the operational team for deployment. DevOps creates a lot of automation, minimizing the requirement of documentation, but as today’s software is a highly complex and good degree of documentation is required. 

13. Automation

In the Agile methodology, there is no emphasis on automation. Agile is all about manual labor but done in quick bursts of energy. DevOps is all about automation and keeps minimizing manual effort as the primary goal. DevOps works on the principle of maximizing efficiency when deploying code. 

14. Speed and Risk

Agile teams must be able to handle rapid changes but keeping the risks minimal and building a robust application. In DevOps, there is not much emphasis on speed. More focus is given to reducing risks on the software and deploying the software in a reliable environment. 

15. Quality

Agile focuses on quality while embracing changes from customers. The deliverable produced during each sprint is to be compared against the acceptance criteria for quality checks. DevOps, too, give proper emphasis on quality. The automation, early bug removal, and reliable deployment environment ensure the quality of the software.

16. Advantage

Agile provides short development cycles with improved defect detection ensuring faster software delivery. DevOps with the build-to-deployment automation can support Agile’s release cycle. So, most companies have started using an Agile DevOps combo.

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Let’s conclude on Agile vs DevOps

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Agile and DevOps are entirely different schools of thought. When Agile refers to the approach in which software is built, DevOps considers bringing development teams and operations teams together to deploy solutions to production faster. Though this difference is prominent, DevOps is used to support the rapid release cycle of Agile methodology.

So these are the significant differences between Agile and DevOps. We hope this article has made things clear about Agile and DevOps and their differences.

If you are interested to become a DevOps engineer, check out IIIT-B & upGrad’s Advanced Certificate Programme in DevOps from IIIT Bangalore


Arjun Mathur

Blog Author
Arjun is Program marketing manager at UpGrad for the Software development program. Prior to UpGrad, he was a part of the French ride-sharing unicorn "BlaBlaCar" in India. He is a B.Tech in Computers Science from IIT Delhi and loves writing about technology.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Is DevOps difficult to learn?

The DevOps method has gained extreme popularity across industries. However, it is often said to bring challenges, which can enrich your career growth if you are able to learn from them and adapt. To succeed in the DevOps environment, you need some skills apart from just technical ones and garner a solid understanding of business and technical issues. DevOps demands frequent up-skilling and cross-skilling to stay on top of the latest technologies. So you will need to dedicate time to learning which many find challenging. However, the real power of DevOps is in your teamwork; where the teamwork is stronger, the outcome of the DevOps process will be better.

2What is the chief purpose of employing DevOps?

The primary intention of using the DevOps process is to align all project operations properly with the development processes and attain the perfect balance in project optimization and delivery. DevOps comprises various apps and practices and enforces automation and integration of processes involved between the IT operations and software development teams. With DevOps, organisations intend to achieve better team collaboration and foster communication between different teams and implement technology automation. As part of the DevOps methodology, the teams involved in IT operations and application development are seamlessly merged into a single team. All the members have multidisciplinary expertise and are engaged throughout the project lifecycle.

3Which is better between DevOps and the waterfall model?

DevOps and waterfall are among the most well-known software development life cycle management practices. However, it is difficult to say which is better since each has unique features and requirements to be suitable for a project. While the waterfall is the conventional software development method that is best suited for predictable projects with well-defined requirements and outcomes, DevOps is more like an engineering culture that merges the operations and development team to collaborate for efficient delivery and improved product quality. Again, while DevOps is all about large-scale projects and automation, the waterfall method is more suitable for small-scale, simpler projects.