How to Develop and Deploy Software in Agile Projects Faster with DevOps

The term DevOps can be seen more and more often. Do you know what it means? DevOps was developed in the last years with Agile Software Development. The ever shorter market cycles of software products demanded an ever more efficient software development, but also a faster and more frequent deployment. In this article, you will learn what these framework conditions demand from development and deployment teams and what the benefits of DevOps are.

Automation and Monitoring at all Stages of Software Development

DevOps (Development and Operations) is a software engineering culture and practice that aims to unify software development (Dev) and software operations (Ops) and promote cross-functional collaboration.

The main characteristic of the DevOps movement is to promote automation and monitoring at all stages of software development, from integration through testing and release to deployment and infrastructure management. DevOps and Agile complement each other and aim for shorter development cycles, more frequent deployments and more reliable releases, in close alignment with business objectives.

The DevOps life cycle

The development team produces working software at the end of each sprint. However, this often has to wait until the company has reached the set release date. Even on the release date, delays can occur if the operations team is not prepared for integration and deployment, or if the company is not ready to go live with the new functionality. Shorter time-to-market, a major advantage of Scrum is therefore often not fully realized.

The development team has to prove within the first sprints that the product is feasible and creates value. To achieve this, they need an operating environment and an initial architecture that achieves the goals of the Service Level Agreements. This is also supported by DevOps.

No Longer Separated – Now Together

With DevOps, the Development and Operations departments are no longer viewed and operated separately, but are seen as a team and work closely together. This is done over the entire life-cycle of an application—from design to development to operation of an application—in order to create together a product with the greatest possible added value and to put software into operation faster and at any time.

More frequent and faster deployment is achieved through automation not only in development (build, test) but also in deployment. The goal is to automate as much as possible. This happens in an agile environment, according to agile values and principles. This results in shorter cycles, you receive earlier feedback from the users and also see whether the stability and reliability are as intended.

However, all the tools and automation measures in the world are worthless if the development and operations teams are not genuinely interested in working together. DevOps does not fix problems with tools. Rather, the focus is on solving human problems and promoting cross-functional collaboration.

“DevOps is a culture, not a role or a software.”

Implementing DevOps takes time, because a new work culture should emerge based on the agile values and principles of the agile manifesto, but also on values such as transparency, openness and respect. It takes years, not months, to change sustainably a culture of cooperation.

Deliver More Often and Better Quality

DevOps helps a software team to deliver more often and with higher quality through:

  • Earlier proof that the product is feasible
  • Automation not only in development (build, test) but also in deployment and in between
  • Close cooperation between the Development and Operations team
  • Better and faster knowledge exchange between development and operations team
  • “Inspect and Adapt” across the entire delivery workflow—also with the aim of looking for ways to improve human collaboration.
  • Operations team members think like developers and vice versa
  • Shortening and extending feedback loops so that the corrections can be made

The increase in efficiency from “traditional testing” to continuous delivery and on to DevOps is immense. This is not only about efficiency but also about being faster with the product on the market. Being second on the market often means “game over” and the pressure to be faster is growing year by year.

DevOps also has a positive impact on teams. People who may not have had the best opinion of each other before, work much closer together and value the work of the other discipline. Both benefit from each other’s knowledge and build a better product together. Added value is delivered faster, in higher quality and at lower cost, and risks are reduced.

Not Everywhere is DevOps Equally Effective

DevOps is the right way for “pure software development”, such as mobile apps, PC application software or web applications. Quick market adaptation and short release cycles are relevant here. However, if you develop software for large ERP systems, insurance systems or systems where the software is part of a product, such as machine tools, airplanes or cars, DevOps cannot play to its full potential. A current example is the software for the Boeing 737 Max 8. With such systems, the release cycles do not last days or weeks, but sometimes several months. Expert knowledge, extensive testing and detailed documentation, for example, are mandatory. But here, too, a better cooperation culture between development and operation teams has many positive effects.

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This was an overview about DevOps and how to develop and deploy software in Agile Projects faster. What is your experience with DevOps? Do you agree with my statements in this article or do you have a different opinion? Share your experience with the readers in the comment box below so we can all get a broader view. Thank you!
Would you like to learn more about how to make your projects more successful with Scrum and Agile Project Management? My book Scrum – How to Successfully Apply Agile Project Management and Scrum takes you an important step further!

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