How to achieve agile DevOps: a disruptive necessity for transformation

Organisations need to embrace agile DevOps to drive transformation efforts.

Agile and DevOps are both processes for increasing a business’ responsiveness to change and are crucial in maintaining the increasing demands and expectations from digital consumers. But, how can organisation’s achieve this state of operations?

Below, three experts explains how business leaders should approach agile DevOps.

Agile vs DevOps: different software development methodologies with similar aims

While agile and DevOps are software methodologies with similar aims, Joe Drumgoole, global director of developer relations at MongoDB, explains how they are different.

He said: “Agile is how to get features into your product that your customers want. DevOps is how to get that software into your customer’s hands. They are both designed to serve the customer.

“The agile process (features) is the reason why you need to release often and the DevOps process is how you release often.

“There is a natural tension between the cohort who need the new features and those that just need the old features to keep working. DevOps allows an organisation to resolve that tension without interrupting service for either group.

“DevOps also serves the critical function of preventing “software rot” as systems and components are updated. The process ensures that those systems remain secure and stable around the central core of software developed by the organisation itself.”

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An enabler for development and operations

“Achieving Agile DevOps enables both development and operations to work as one collaborative team encapsulating the entire software development and deployment lifecycle,” added Richard Brown, head of engineering at Audacia.

“By achieving Agile DevOps, both development and operations will benefit from rapid feedback loops, for example, developers will be more aware of how their code functions when deployed to production environments, enabling them to factor in changes and improvements at an earlier stage.”

Infrastructure planning

Brown also suggested that “applying modern innovations such as Infrastructure as Code (IaC) will enable businesses to easily and repeatably provision infrastructure and examine the impact of different environmental configurations, providing significant time savings. This also provides the ability to apply software development best practices, such as source control, to operations.

By implementing this infrastructure planning in Agile DevOps, organisation’s “will be able benefit from earlier consideration of factors such as logging, alerting, monitoring, failover and backups, ensuring that the infrastructure is fit-for-purpose,” he said.

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Achieving maximally agile DevOps

Organisations have accept that the transition to agile DevOps is going to be disruptive, but entirely necessary for effective and sustainable transformation.

According to Erica Langhi, EMEA senior solutions architect at Red Hat, “the best way to mitigate this disruption is through transparency and openness — businesses need to make the benefits of this transition clear to their teams. After that, they should encourage their developers and operations teams to look at how other parts of the business are working.”

After this, leaders will need to look at the company’s culture “and start making the tweaks necessary to promote collaboration and communication between teams; this isn’t optional, as nine out of ten organisations that try to make the change to DevOps without changing their culture and structure will fail,” she advised.

Overall, to create a maximally agile DevOps, organisation’s “should also invest in a few other technologies and cultural changes. DevOps in fact brings together people, processes, and technology for better efficiency. Technology microservices for instance allow for a higher degree of automation of processes, which further enables teams to develop their software in shorter iterations,” Langhi continued.

Are DevOps and agile mutually exclusive? If not, how do they work together?

“You cannot have one without the other.

“Without rapid releases, the need for DevOps is diminished. Without DevOps, you can’t do rapid releases. The most common misconception is that DevOps is about operations. DevOps is about maintaining customer satisfaction in the face of an ever-changing underlying software landscape”

— Joe Drumgoole.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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