Theoretically, implementing and scaling Agile and DevOps seems simple. Most organizations want to mature their agility while pursuing the benefits of DevOps. Ideally you want the continuous feedback loop associated with DevOps, and the customer-focus and iterative development associated with Agile so you can adapt to changes on the go and deliver the right product as quickly as possible.
Agile and DevOps are both based on working across teams and breaking down silos for better communication and collaboration in meeting customer needs. Agile is customer-focused with its own pace of Sprints and iterations, while DevOps features automation and a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment pipeline with frequent, ongoing releases. The approaches can be complementary, but they have differences that must be considered.
How do you recognize and overcome these differences? How do you work through organizational inertia and create a culture and environment where you can draw the best from Agile, the best from DevOps and deliver value to customers as quickly and efficiently as possible?
Four tips for successfully leveraging both Agile & DevOps include:
1. Understand that Agile and DevOps are not Business Goals
Establish a clear rationale for embracing Agile and DevOps starting with a clear perspective of what each is and is not. Agile and DevOps are not business goals, but tools that can help you better achieve your business goals. Leveraging both can make your organization more efficient.
2. Break Down Silos
The key to breaking down silos and getting buy-in from people on different teams to work together is to demonstrate the benefit of both Agile and DevOps. Show how Development and Operations teams can work together to create effective solutions. Bring teams together with the purpose of learning from each other and understanding how development impacts operations and vice versa so a higher level of knowledge and capability can spread organically throughout the organization.
3. Merge Agile and DevOps
People with Agile backgrounds can be hyper-focused on Sprint Planning, Program Increment Planning and the Agile practices they are familiar with while leaving out the automation elements that are key to DevOps. Integrating automation into Agile workflows and planning can free Developers from repeated, manual tasks so they can focus more on developing products for the customer.
Choosing between Agile or DevOps for software development is not the best option. To get the most ROI and value from Agile and DevOps, merge the two in a collaborative way that enhances both approaches. DevOps brings an automated continuous integration and deployment pipeline and frequent releases, while Agile brings a customer focus way to rapidly adapt to their changing needs. If you can bridge the distinct cultures and create common ground where both sides understand the value of functional readiness and automation, it leads to buy-in across teams and smoother, more effective processes.
4. Create Value
The purpose of Agile, DevOps and merging the two is to create value more effectively with a Value Stream. You want to reduce friction between your Agile frameworks and DevOps frameworks, merge the two in a complementary way that focuses on reconciling the gaps between customer needs, development and test themes. You create value best when your teams and organization are focused on the overall Value Stream, from start to finish with the goals of addressing the customer, development, testing and operations to deliver value through better products. Merging the best of Agile and DevOps allows you to do that well.
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