The two most discussed terminologies of the millennial project execution methodologies for customized software drive every animated conversation today. The transition from traditional methods like Waterfall, to Agile to DevOps in itself is fascinating!
The Super-Fast Agile
Agile custom software development is a new age software methodology enforcing iterations between the constantly changing requirements and the evolving development with close collaboration of cross-functional teams. There is a continuous feedback after iteration that enables continuous refinement of the system.
The agile methodology advocates a well-controlled project management process that involves frequent meeting on daily basis to discuss the road-blocks and to get general updates on the projects. This encourages the team members to adapt to accountability, self-discipline and team work for quick delivery of good quality software and follow practices and standards that aligns with the customer requirements and the company goals.
Advantages of Agile
Responsive to change
One of the biggest advantage of Agile development is responsive to change and working on tasks that matter. A well-aligned agile project has a list of task to be completed in a project along with their priority. They continue to take up tasks in each iteration according to the priority. They also receive feedback of the previous iteration and work accordingly thus being responsive to change.
Agile practices understand the fact that we may discover more information as we proceed or may find that a particular solution does not fit the customer need or an entirely different problem may be uncovered.
The Agile principles allow the acceptance of the unknown and prioritization supports discovery and experimentation to take care of the uncertainties in custom software services.
For the projects to operate with uncertainty and changing requirements there is need for quick iteration and feedback on the tasks completed to make sure that the current efforts are aligned with the customer needs.
The ability to deliver software in an iterative manner provides the business more flexibility in terms of when a product or a particular feature is delivered to the user.
Less documentation upfront
Agile practices focuses more on defining and prioritizing problems in close collaboration with the developers, designers and clients. High upfront effort in designing, documentation and contracts is against the agile manifesto.
Words of Caution
Lack of knowledge
Like any other changes, if undertook without investing sufficient time in having a thorough understanding of the process as to why the changes are made and how it will impact the project, fruitful results will not be achieved.
Agile practices require flexibility, availability, quick paced with quality, frequent reviews which asks for significant culture shift in the organization. For example the stakeholders need to available for review session, the sales and marketing team need to open about the possibility of changing requirements, the management needs to understand that the requirement are implemented priority driven rather than opinion driven.
Integration of Skill sets
Changing to agile practices requires more focused and strong inter-communication amongst interdisciplinary teams. Regular interaction of testing team, design team and development team at regular interval working together as an integral team is quite pre-requisite for delivering quality product.
Though agile methodologies were developed for small organizations to grow and adapt but for larger organization where there 500 and more developers. The real challenge is how to build the interrelationship among the smaller teams while still maintaining the cohesive approach in the flexible agile environment.
The Very Collaborative DevOps
DevOps is practice that inculcates better communication between development and operations as major portion of operations becomes automated and programmable. In the organization level, DevOps is a part of the IT team that creates and maintains the infrastructure managing the shared IT services.
There are several benefits that are there by adopting DevOps for custom software development.
- It helps to reduce the time for the product to go from the design stage to the production.
- Building products quickly means developers get faster feedback from users.
- The automation and tools result in efficiency improvements.
- Continuous delivery improves the productivity as the developers and testers need not spend time in setting up their environments and need not manage other complexities.
- Improved productivity and quality of the product ultimately results in improved customer satisfaction.
Words of Caution
One of the major areas of concern in adopting DevOps is quality assurance. As the QA team is unaware of the tools and practices used by DevOps for speeding up the development process and the developers choose speed many a times over security, issues like necessary scans and code checks may be skipped out.
DevOps and Agile Quite Similar
Agile teams depend on automated builds, continuous integration and continuous delivery. DevOps teams use tool with various metrics, configuration management and monitoring schemes, virtualization and cloud computing.
Agile practices might sometimes lead delayed deliverables, incompatible components resulting from the disparate scrums or teams and new feature breaking the old ones. One of the important reason for these problems is lack of adequate communication and consistency. This is where DevOps can help bringing in consistency, faster delivery and smooth coordination with both amongst themselves and also the developers, operation teams & various other departmental teams.
Agile involves cross-functional teams like designer, tester and developer. DevOps takes this ahead by adding operations person who for transition from development to deployment. DevOps brings in automation of processes and thus transparency amongst the teams.
Agile encourages how we think about development, instead of making larger changes it advocates smaller but manageable changes that eventually leads to a bigger change. DevOps can help bring in this cultural change within the organization, through communication and maintaining stability with flexibility.
And Different Too!
Though Agile and DevOps help make the development to deployment process more efficient, but it is important to know where the differences are.
Agile requires frequent deployment of code whereas DevOps is more concerned with appropriate deployment of the code.
Agile teams generally include self-driven members who can do the job of other member of the team when required, to prevent any kind of slowdown. DevOps in contrary supports separate teams for development and operations of custom software solutions and the members are bounded within their teams but are updated with the frequent communication.
Documentation and communication
Agile approach follows daily informal meeting discussing the projects daily updates and goals which means it isn’t very document intensive. The DevOps on the other hand don’t have frequent meeting but have extensive meeting which needs to be documented in order to communicate effectively their understanding and the plan of execution. DevOps require the design documents and requirement document in order to fully understand a software release.
Small teams is one of the foundations of Agile practices which enable faster move and accept flexibility. DevOps on the other hand, have multiple teams that work together each team practicing different processes.
Agile teams have shorter sprints which rarely lasts for more than a month. But DevOps value reliability and hence focus long-term planning.
DevOps extensively depends on automation to maximize efficiency. Agile practices on the other hand does not require automation much of automation as there are small sprints which can be managed without automation.
In a Nutshell
Thus, despite several differences, whether to use both these theories is a decision an organization has to take judiciously, though experts believe amalgamation of the two helps in more rational decision making and improvising the custom software services manifolds.