Agile DevOps: A Mix of Methods to Improve Software

By: Louise Cermak
29th September 2022

There’s no silver bullet for creating perfect software, but several methods can help improve the process. Some companies succeed with Agile, while others rely on DevOps. But what if you combined the methodologies to create a hybrid approach that increases your business value? First, we’ll define DevOps and Agile methodologies and examine their similarities and differences. Then, we’ll identify common misconceptions about these terms and explain how to use both approaches.

What Is Agile?

Agile is a group of software development methodologies that take an iterative approach and utilise collaborative teamwork. Requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organising, cross-functional teams. Agile approaches are unlike traditional waterfall methods. Agile focuses on working software, customer feedback, and adaptive planning. Common Agile frameworks include Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming (XP). 

In 2001, a group created the Agile Manifesto to develop software more efficiently and effectively. This set of principles includes four core values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation (test-driven development)
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Agile principles enable organisations to respond to changing markets and deliver high-quality products. As a result, the concept is one of the industry's most popular software development methodologies.

What Is DevOps?

DevOps is a group of practices that merge software development (Dev) and IT operations(Ops). The primary goal is to shorten the software development life cycle (SDLC) by using continuous integration to combine code changes from different developers. Meeting this objective delivers features, fixes, and updates faster and more frequently. The DevOps culture focuses on collaboration between developers and IT stakeholders. It also emphasises automation of the software delivery process. Some DevOps tools include Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and Jenkins.

To understand DevOps, you need to learn three core tenets, which include:

  • Systems thinking—understanding a complex system by the interactions of its parts
  • Amplifying feedback loops—requiring feedback that’s rapid, frequent, and actionable
  • Cultural change—eliminating silos and creating an environment where ideas flourish

DevOps practices help companies speed up software releases. As a result, businesses improve end-user satisfaction levels and increase operational efficiency. Adopting this way of working helps organisations streamline operations and drive innovation. 

Agile vs. DevOps

DevOps and Agile software development emphasise collaboration, automation, and continuous delivery. However, there are key differences between these ideas. Agile teams focus on continuous improvement of software quality through sprints. In contrast, DevOps principles emphasise optimising workflow between development and operations teams. This concentration makes the software development process more efficient. Both methods aim to improve the speed and effectiveness of SDLC.

What Are Common Misconceptions about Agile and DevOps?

Sorting out Agile and DevOps is confusing. Let’s look at three common misconceptions. 

Misconception #1: Agile and DevOps are the same.

This is not true. The approaches are similar yet distinct.

  • Agile project management addresses gaps between developers and customers.
  • DevOps addresses gaps between developers and IT operations.

Misconception #2: DevOps replaced Agile.

This is also not true. Organisations use both concepts depending on needs. In many ways, DevOps is an extension of the Agile methodology. It brings operations into the Agile process.

Misconception #3: Agile and DevOps don’t work together.

False. The concepts can partner up or be independent. When united, Agile and DevOps help companies build a more efficient and responsive software development process.

How Do Agile and DevOps Interrelate?

Your organisation may use DevOps without Agile. Traditional project portfolio management (PPM) methodologies will slow down your development team. 

With PPM, backlogs may quickly become outdated and difficult to manage. This issue leads to delays and frustration for everyone involved. Agile solves this problem by using short, iterative cycles to develop software. Scrum master-led sprints enable you to quickly incorporate new features into the backlog and implement them in the next cycle. When you improve your Agile practices, you keep the development team’s backlog accurate and full.

Once your company reaches DevOps maturity, your Agile velocity metrics improve. In a continuous deployment environment, you release code quicker and with fewer errors. You have shorter lead times and faster feedback loops. As a result, your organisation achieves higher levels of velocity and responds more quickly to changes in market conditions.

If your company already has mature DevOps capabilities, consider using Kanban. It’s an Agile framework that provides a steady workflow for development. This tool helps DevOps team members avoid bottlenecks. They visualise each task’s progress and identify potential areas of improvement. Kanban also provides clear guidelines on when to implement new features. This direction helps ensure developers are constantly working on the most critical tasks.


An Agile and DevOps transformation enables maximised collaboration, fewer bugs, and faster fixes.

Catapult CX helps you access, understand, and compare your organisation’s DevOps capabilities. In addition, we look for ways to introduce Agile into your processes.

Contact us today for your DevOps assessment!