Is The Agile And DevOps Merge Worth The Pain?

by Dan

In the last few years, a lot of attention has been directed towards the Agile DevOps merge. The reason is simple. In the Agile world, great efforts are put to make sure that customer expected product is delivered. Streamlining processes and using common infrastructures, tools across the enterprise makes sense because it cuts time and costs. The delivery speeds up since products are continuously integrated and flow nonstop from software groups to the customer through release and deployment trains.

This is great, but where are all the clever tips and tricks to ensure that a scalable, performant product is deployed that can be updated in real-time, monitored from the very second it is built and managed from day-to-day without needing a team of support engineers? Well, Agile has borrowed great ideas from the automotive industry, the neuroscience world, ancient philosophy, the military, and mathematics. And it is now time to borrow some thinking from the DevOps in order to ensure that Agile remains the most suitable and successful set of principles and practices for delivering products.

Organizations can accelerate the pace of software development, deployment, and innovation by combining DevOps and Agile development methodologies. IT industry observers agree that combining DevOps and Agile gives you more than the sum of the parts. The Agile DevOps approach can offer businesses a roadmap to develop, deliver and update software that can stay a step ahead of their customers. 

How can Agile and DevOps be merged?

These two approaches cannot be merged in their pure forms, which means that Agile practices need to be updated.

The most important practices to adopt are the three cornerstones of DevOps: Continuous integration of new code batches into a centralized mainline; Continuous delivery of new builds to testing environments and pushing them into production; and Building infrastructure as code, where the containerized apps can be deployed to production environments that are described in a declarative language, where the servers are provisioned, configured, managed and decommissioned through code commands. 

The practices that need to be abandoned are: multiple Agile methodologies, like Scrum project management. Scrum is all about micromanagement, where each team member announces what have they done since the last Scrum, and if there are any bottlenecks going forward, it lies outside the scope of their responsibility. Whereas a true DevOps engineer cares very little about the scopes, as these are cross-functional teams, so every team member devotes their effort to overcome the challenge at hand, having a clear picture overall. 

There are no strictly defined roles in DevOps teams, as the same person can build the infrastructure, configure the CI/CD pipeline and handle the customer’s support request. This means that on the road to DevOps-as-a-Service world they have to learn to do different tasks using different tools and forming all-around capable teams.

 

The key point to remember in merging Agile and DevOps is accepting a different mindset. The DevOps culture is built around “you built it, you run it” paradigm, which means that the team itself is responsible for the full range of software delivery-related processes and tasks. Such a transition to DevOps culture requires wholehearted support from the grassroots all the way up to the C-suite, otherwise, it cannot be a success.

To maximize the value of Agile and DevOps, some of the DevOps principles need to be implemented right from the beginning of the development process, because bolting on a bit of deployment automation in the end cannot help you build more scalable, deployable and manageable solutions.

DevOps and Agile development are a natural combination but merging these two paradigms is no easy deal. Yet, if applied correctly, your Agile development teams can benefit greatly by becoming more competent and competitive in this fast-paced business world.

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