Accurate Descriptions: Understanding Agile and DevOps
Agile and DevOps have revolutionized the way we develop software. Their outstanding guidelines and principles have helped skyrocket the software development process, making it high in demand and more efficient and successful than ever before.
Therefore, before you begin your own journey as a software developer, it is imperative to fully understand how these methodologies operate. This blog will closely examine each and every aspect of Agile and DevOps and provide you with a comprehensive guide so you can utilize them for optimum performance and results.
What is Agile?
Agile is a methodology – a guideline of sorts, which functions as a script for companies working on developing software. Its agenda is clearly outlined in its manifesto, which you can read here.
Its primary principle is to have an incremental and iterative approach. Agile requires the team to focus on software development in small steps. These smaller steps or parts are known as “sprints.” The framework is built in such a way that your team would work on one sprint at a time, so you work your way slowly and gradually, and if at any point you feel like it is going in the wrong direction, you can always make changes since you have not yet completed the entire project.
In the Agile Manifesto are the core values that anyone implementing this ideology must adhere to. Agile is founded on the idea that software development should be as flexible as possible. It teaches us to approach software development with an open mind and to recognize that improvising early on is more fruitful than a revamp once you’re done.
Individuals And Interactions Over Processes And Tools
Previously, companies’ main focus was to spend huge sums on getting their hands on the latest tools, but Agile highlights that having the right team is far more important. It stresses that no matter how great your tools are if the people utilizing them are incompetent, it renders the whole software-building process a waste of resources.
Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation
Traditionally, developers focused on creating extensive documentation before the software development even started (and yes, the documentation would not cease unless the project was completed). This hefty process sapped most of the company’s resources without giving anyone any direct profit. Agile’s approach of prioritizing the software itself allows for more efficient use of resources. It directs time and money towards what’s essential, i.e., highly functional software.
Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation
In a traditional setting, companies scramble for a well-defined contract with their clients before undertaking the project. This limited flexibility and innovation; and frequently left the customers unsatisfied – agile concentrates on establishing a feedback loop and practicing continuous development. Being in constant communication with the client will not only enhance the quality of the final product but also build rapport between the two parties. This increased level of customer satisfaction can lead to better client retention and more business opportunities.
Responding to Change over Following a Plan
This value is closely aligned with the one discussed above. Furthermore, it also stresses the fact that making alterations to the project mid-way or even taking a step back or two in the development process can be more beneficial than forcing a rigid plan.
Agile’s Goals and Principles
As mentioned above, there are about 12 principles highlighted by the agile manifesto. Instead of talking about them individually, we will consider them collectively.
Agile emphasizes creating a work environment that is based on criticism and improvisation. Teams are supposed to meet regularly, preferably face to face, to bridge any communication gap. This should be further fueled by motivated individuals, incentives, and quality tools. For Agile, customer feedback is the most crucial factor in development.
While their main agenda is to accept changes in the early phase of the project, called left shift, any changes made towards the end should also be appreciated and equally implemented. Lastly, it iterates on making your organization more efficient, increasing collaboration between your team members, and implementing a disciplined framework.
The Most Common Agile Framework: Scrum
We have established that Agile focuses on and tells us what to do to enhance the software development process. But how do you apply this all? Well, numerous standard frameworks are widely used by companies to apply Agile. The most common of these is Scrum.
Scrum is an Agile framework co-created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. It is designed to tackle complex software development projects. The Scrum framework consists of many roles, but the 3 of the most important ones are:
- Product owners – they overlook the entire development process and are the main bridge between the client and developers.
- Scrum Master – ensures the team works closely within the framework of Scrum.
- Developers – divided into many smaller teams, each with a singular task.
It is based on a very open system, which is outlined in its three pillars:
This open system allows teams to adjust to changes quickly, as there is better communication. It helps in catching errors or problems more efficiently and prevents teams from slacking off.
For a detailed review, check out the Scrum Guide.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is yet another methodology similar to Agile. However, its primary goal is to enhance communication within your organization; especially, developers, and the operations team.
Developers are tasked with the development of the software. They are responsible for creating the software, composing the code, making the changes; basically everything that has to do with the software development. On the other hand, the Operation Team is in charge of constantly monitoring the progress. They keep checking the viability of the software, observe its functionality and look for any errors or inaccuracies.
For any software to work correctly, according to the client’s needs, there must be seamless and efficient communication between these two teams. Having a well-functioning developer and operations team can help ease the process of building software and improve the quality of the final product.
DevOps’ Principles, Goals, and Best Practices
Unlike Agile, there isn’t a particular number of principles for DevOps. However, there still are quite a few aspects to DevOps, and we will closely examine some of the significant ones.
Collaboration between Developers (Dev) and Operations (Ops) teams is the backbone of DevOps ideology. The project is continuously being worked on by the developers, and the Operation Team tests the software’s functionality after each integration. The development process must be optimized through constant communication between the two parties.
By combining the elements like automation and CI/CD, DevOps allows organizations to improvise the product. The DevOps team is tasked with reassessing the entire project repeatedly, fixing any flaw that appears during the process.
The developers automate specific repetitive tasks by creating different tools/scripts to make the process of coding and deploying easier. This saves up on time, and the team can focus on more challenging parts of the project.
Continuous Integration (CI)
Developers continuously integrate new codes into a shared repository. Each time a code is added, an automated test occurs to identify any mismatches, flaws, or bugs. This helps catch any defect early on when the product is still in the development phase.
Continuous Delivery (CD)
CD involves the swift deployment and release of the product, ensuring the software is ready at the earliest convenience. This requires stuff like automated deployment, constant configuration, and coordination.
Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
It refers to the process of writing your infrastructure as code. It has three main components – Infrastructure Provisioning, Infrastructure Configuration, and Infrastructure Management. This automation of software development management, like documentation, means less manual burden and lesser workload.
Similarities Between Agile and DevOps
Both Agile and DevOps have many ideologies that align, so here is a list of some of the most apparent ones:
Both methodologies stress altering the software to improve its design. Agile does this by its ‘iterative development’ and DevOps by its ‘continuous improvement’.
Agile and DevOps focus on cutting down on time in their own different ways. Agile aims to improve speed through its ‘sprinting’ method and DevOps by ‘automation.’
Both focus on creating better communication. The primary ideology of DevOps is to enhance communication between Developers and Operators, while Agile improves communication between the customer and the development team.
These two methodologies have different styles but share the common goal of distributing responsibilities in your team. With Agile, each time is dedicated to a specific task that they need to achieve in a short period – sprinting. DevOps achieves this by encouraging both Operations and Developers to perform their duties so neither side gets overworked.
It is pretty evident from their approaches that both styles have one end goal: A desirable product. After all, that is the whole point of any company adopting these methodologies. With features like iterative development, CI/CD, automation, sprinting, etc, Agile and DevOps can help you strive for a high-quality end product.
Differences Between Agile and DevOps
There are quite a few differences between these two methodologies. Some of the most notable are highlighted below:
Agile is about meeting your customers’ needs, while DevOps’s primary focus is to fill the gaps in your infrastructure.
While automation can undoubtedly improve Agile’s functionality, it is not necessary for it to be effective. On the other hand, DevOps prioritizes automation, as it allows for faster deliveries.
Agile’s entire layout ensures the final product is tailored to clients’ needs. While with DevOps, customer satisfaction is just a consequence of its positive impact on your teams.
Perhaps the most significant difference between the two is the feedback. Agile emphasizes the feedback of your customers, while in DevOps, the feedback is from a team within your organization (not a stakeholder).
Size of the Team
Although it can depend on the extensivity of the project, Agile focuses on keeping small teams that are cross-functional and easy to manage: around five to nine members. Larger teams are usually preferred with DevOps since collaboration is their crucial agenda.
With its incremental approach, Agile is more customer-centric, with its constant feedback loop with the clients. Therefore, Agile’s framework consists of smaller, more manageable teams and cross-functional teams designed to cater to clients’ needs. While DevOps increases collaboration, resulting in more rapid and reliable software delivery. Therefore, it streamlines the entire software building process with advanced methods like CI/CD and automation.
Despite the differences, their ideologies are very similar when viewed in the context of contemporary software development. Focusing on attaining higher product quality while saving up on time, building rapport with clients, and filling in the gaps within your organization.
In light of contemporary challenges within the software development industry, DevOps and Agile offer quite transformative solutions. It is when you understand the true potential of these methodologies, only then would you be able to harness the benefits of what they’re offering.
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