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Can Organizations Deploy DevOps Tools Without Being Agile?

DevOps and Agile methodologies are iterative and focus on faster, more automated operations. While agility helps organizations test their assumptions for early mitigations of challenges, DevOps drives them to build an environment of automation and continuous improvement. It is touted that agile methodology is incomplete without DevOps, when it comes to realizing hybrid and multi-cloud requirements with scalability.

Gartner states that nearly 75% organizations achieved better alignment between business and IT with an agile mindset. Agile is an integral aspect for robust DevOps, adding active management to build, deliver, and support the development lifecycle. Implementing DevOps is a time-intensive process, involving cultural change, incremental approach, and adaptation. Agile methodologies help organizations build DevOps relatively faster by visualizing potential bottlenecks and facilitating prioritization to achieve mission-critical objectives.

DevOps and Agile, Or, DevOps Without Agile?

The debate between DevOps deployment with and without agile functions is a non-conclusive one. It is often driven by the context of the use case. The intent behind the objective significantly influences the deployment approach. Technically, organizations are capable of setting up tools for configuration, version control, build, integration, testing & deployment. However, the preference for agile functions remains among organizations, as the concerns of DevOps effectiveness grows in line with the need for automation.

Agile and DevOps are completely different enablement functions among many organizations across different verticals. It is commonly observed that organizations face lack of transparency and collaboration while running agile and DevOps initiatives simultaneously. DevOps is often misunderstood as a mere automation and tool chain. But in reality, DevOps is nothing but a collaborative mindset nurtured in IT ecosystems.

The Importance of Collaborating Agile and DevOps Mindset

Promoting collaboration and integration, including development and operations, is a key outcome of DevOps. However, most organizations might be reluctant to embrace it in the beginning, as it demands a huge cultural shift. ‘Jidoka’ (or autonomation), an appealing concept in Lean Agile philosophy, describes DevOps as automation with a human touch. The idea behind the concept is to supervise and intervene in automated processes, wherever errors are identified. This helps organizations in preventing errors and improving customer satisfaction.

The cultural shift, human touch, respect for people, and collaborative operations are all critical aspects of Lean Agile philosophy. The above mentioned Jidoka principle can be slightly tweaked as the manual intervention or supervision brought about by Agile processes and events. There are several platforms where the ‘Build’ policy is deployed. Here, the code monitoring is put at rest in case of errors, for identifying and mitigating them later.

Imagine the scenario where a DevOps engineer only focuses on engineering aspects without having an agile mindset. On the other hand, suppose an engineer with an agile mindset has no idea of DevOps engineering practices. In both these cases, the organizations would be surviving in silos, thereby confronting gaps in operations and development. As an advisory, the priority of a cloud service provider would be to recommend collaboration of agile and DevOps initiatives. This in turn brings a cross skilling across an organization, which coexist in harmony.

DevOps Strengthens With Agile

The integration of agile practice into DevOps empowers organizations to

  • Increase the leverage of DevOps expertise.
  • Establish best practices and benchmarks for efficient product delivery.
  • Cultivate a more resilient continuous learning & improvement culture.

While an agile mindset ensures organizations to achieve faster development and delivery of products, DevOps guides them move smoothly into driving business value in a reliable manner.

To Sum Up

Several organizations have different teams for DevOps and Agile functions. From the perspective of customers, the names of initiatives or ways of branding them is not important. What concerns them is the effectiveness of DevOps implementation. And it is clear that DevOps and Agility are not effective without each other.

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