Why you shouldn’t choose between agile and DevOps approaches

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agile and DevOpsYou may hear your IT department talking about implementing agile 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 a good fit. 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 team 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 system.

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 agile-plus-DevOps approach is reflected in the results of IBM’s global study exploring adoption, usage patterns and impact of DevOps. , which interviewed participants already using DevOps. The survey 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
  • Apply agile and lean principles across their company.

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

  • Improvements in application quality and reduction of defects
  • Reduced application downtime and associated costs
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Faster time-to-market

Adopting agile-plus-DevOps is not without its challenges, however. Both approaches require companies to embrace technical as well as 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. IBM CIO Jeff Smith shares his top tips for building an agile enterprise:

For further Information on agile and DevOps approaches, check out our DevOps Application Performance Management for Dummies ebook.

Want to dig deeper into agile and DevOps?  Attend IBM InterConnect 2017 for sessions, labs, and educational opportunities, including this session on agile and DevOps.

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