Why DevOps is the Fulfillment of Agile

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mm  Ashwin Bharath |01.23.17

Every IT organization wants to boost their performance, as high-performing companies deploy 200 times more frequently than low performers, with 2,555x faster lead times. They also spend 22 percent less time on unplanned work and rework. And when thinking about how to achieve lean performance, many engineering team leads think Agile.

They have that opinion for good reason. Agile’s iterative development, continuous integration and testing enables companies to be nimble and proactive in meeting customer demands—but only up to a certain point. Yes, Agile activities such as behavior- and test-driven development and structures such as the scrum are all great at facilitating constant improvement, but one critical component is still missing and it keeps Agile from completing the lean performance puzzle.

That key piece is DevOps.

The reason DevOps is the way to fulfill the promised potential of Agile is unification. The cross-functional teams of Agile take a baby step toward unifying the previous silos of development and operations, but these teams do not go far enough. DevOps shifts the focus to the individual and it is that individual’s skillset that becomes the necessary cross-functional component.

A typical developer has very deep, but very narrow, engineering expertise. A developer with a DevOps mindset has a wide range of experience from both the development and operations side of the fence. This approach enhances service agility. This agility is then continued through a focus on continuous integration and release, encouraging automation of the change, configuration and release processes. The result is a lower failure rate, shortened lead time and a faster mean time to recovery.

This is why DevOps enables Agile to fulfill the promise of higher performance, and yet the promise is achieved by deploying software in the safest, most reliable manner possible. The truth is that when it comes to DevOps and Agile, one cannot exist successfully without the other. By working together, technology companies gain a process for repeatable innovation and improved deployment frequency, which can dramatically shrink time to market.

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