Is DevOps an agile methodology?

Is DevOps an agile methodology?

Agility is on the rise. Since the 1990s, it has been slowly making its way into the IT organizations of this world, and then more and more quickly after the turn of the millennium. Today, digitization makes agility a topic throughout the entire company.

In connection with agility, DevOps comes up again and again. This is precisely where this article comes in: It explores the question of whether DevOps is an agile method.

Where does DevOps come from?

Since the early 2000s at the latest, the focus in software development has changed bit by bit. Two major factors were decisive for this:

  1. Established business functions in IT systems were reduced. Instead, new ground was increasingly being broken, with requirements emerging only in the course of development and through intensive collaboration between business units, IT developers and end users.
  2. Internet, globalization and the resulting increased competition in many industries demanded a higher innovation speed from many companies. Long project durations, long-term plans and thus commitments were and still are more detrimental than beneficial to the competitive position.

Also in the 2000s, many IT organizations grew rapidly and the number of systems and services multiplied. To address the resulting organizational and operational issues, many turned to best practices that were based on traditional business principles and pre-agility experience at the time (e.g., ITIL® v2, Cobit® v3 and v4). IT organizations grew larger and were mostly structured around a triad of Plan (strategy and planning), Build (development and deployment), and Run (operations and support). Key performance indicator systems were introduced to evaluate the performance of each area individually.

The spread of agile software development methods, growing IT organizations and the organizational separation of development and operations areas led to a decoupling of operations and development: There were different tools, process models, best practices, values, terminologies, processes and goals. Not infrequently, this led to the tangible conflict that characterizes siloed IT organizations and in which only one side can win:

  • Development loves changes, because they represent their raison d'être.
  • Operations considers changes to be the natural enemy, because they jeopardize the stability of the services to be provided.

Many a development department was converted to new methods such as Scrum at great expense - only to find that the newfound agility bounced off the traditional procedures of the business (e.g., because of cyclical maintenance windows).

And now DevOps comes into play

More than ten years ago, it was already clear to many companies that more than just agile development was needed to really exploit the benefits of agility in IT. Agile needed to be applied to the entire lifecycle. But because operations has different requirements than development, you couldn't just roll out agile methods to operations. It took more.

A movement emerged that aimed to do just that. This movement, which is still supported by the community today, sought ideas, methods, approaches and also technologies that would help in overcoming this challenge. This has resulted in a comprehensive collection of ideas that is still growing and can be divided into three main areas: Culture, Practices and Automation.

The ultimate goal was and is to improve collaboration between all areas of IT in order to provide the business units with IT changes faster, better and more economically. In other words, it is about turbo-charging the IT organization in an ever faster changing world.

Is DevOps now an agile methodology?

Yes and no!

Yes, because DevOps incorporates many ideas and approaches from the agile world, takes them up, adapts them and carries them beyond the boundaries of development.

No, because DevOps is so much more: It is a culture, it is a collection of many (not only agile) practices and it is automation. And what's more, it's a worldwide movement that is supported by successful IT organizations.

You can also read more about the benefits of DevOps in this blog article: "Why DevOps". 

Many more details and dates for these modules can be found on our training website

We would be happy to advise you on the selection and planning of your personal training path for DevOps. Get in touch with us!

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