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DevOps and Agile: Understanding the Distinction

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The Distinction Between DevOps and Agile

What sets DevOps apart from Agile? This question is often asked, but it’s not particularly helpful to approach it as a competition between the two. It’s more beneficial to embrace both methodologies, as they are meant to complement each other. It’s like choosing between burger or fries, gin or tonic, salt or pepper—having both can offer the best results.

There are many similarities between Agile and DevOps, including the emphasis on collaboration, consultation, and feedback. Any arguments about choosing one over the other should be secondary to the question, “Are we doing what our company needs?”

Agile Methodology

Understanding Agile

Agile started with the “manifesto for Agile software development” in 2001. It emphasized the importance of delivering usable products and continuously maximizing their value. The manifesto prioritizes people and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change.

Agile emerged as a response to traditional IT project approaches that focused on rigidly defining requirements and building based on those specifications. However, it became apparent that even with perfect understanding and documentation, the final product rarely matched the actual requirements upon delivery. Agile recognizes the need for constant adaptation as circumstances change.

The Agile development life cycle is supported by frameworks like Scrum and Kanban. Scrum involves short work sprints of 2-4 weeks, focusing on frequent releases and continuous modification of requirements. Kanban visualizes and prioritizes customer needs. These methodologies align perfectly with the goals of DevOps.

DevOps Methodology

Understanding DevOps

DevOps combines technological support, automation, and a cultural shift in IT practices. Agile supports DevOps by enabling faster releases, providing feedback, and encouraging iterative experimentation.

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Many DevOps training programs include Agile, Scrum, and Kanban as essential components. Achieving a DevOps qualification requires a comprehensive understanding of Agile. It’s illogical to consider one as a replacement for the other.

DevOps Building on Agile

What DevOps adds to Agile is the concept of shared responsibility, merging development and operations into a unified team. Agile primarily focuses on software creation, emphasizing automation and continuous integration. However, DevOps takes a broader approach, actively engaging all aspects of the build, delivery, and support lifecycle.

Agile DevOps

Agile DevOps

While the Agile methodology originated in software development, its principles can be applied to various situations. Implementing any new approach requires continuous improvement and modification, which aligns with Agile methods. Agile techniques, such as Kanban boards and backlogs, are directly applicable to implementing DevOps within an organization. Implementing DevOps is a gradual process that necessitates culture change, rapid wins, feedback, and adaptation. Agile is the ideal approach for DevOps implementation, as it allows for a seamless integration of the two methodologies. Let go of the DevOps vs Agile mindset and embrace their synergy.


DevOps and Agile are not competing methodologies. Instead, they should be embraced together. Agile is supported by frameworks like Scrum and Kanban, which fit perfectly with the goals of DevOps. DevOps builds on Agile, incorporating shared responsibility and active engagement throughout the entire lifecycle. With an incremental approach that emphasizes culture change, rapid wins, feedback, and adaptation, Agile is the ideal methodology for implementing DevOps and harnessing the powerful synergy between the two.

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