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Speed up software delivery with Agile DevOps

Read Time 9 mins | Written by: Cole

Speed up software delivery with Agile DevOps

Building modern software quickly demands an approach that involves DevOps, Agile, continuous integration (CI), and continuous delivery (CD). Software development projects need to be broken up into manageable parts to complete work consistently, increase velocity, and continually deliver value to the business. Agile DevOps plays a crucial role in streamlining the software delivery process – improving team collaboration and ensuring high-quality releases.

Agile DevOps combines Agile methodologies, DevOps practices, and continuous delivery tools to speed up your software development and delivery. Agile emphasizes iterative development, flexibility, and collaboration. DevOps focuses on bridging the gap between development and operations teams, automating processes, and ensuring efficient software delivery. Using them together can accelerate software delivery, reduce costs, and improve your customer experience. 

Here’s what you need to know to implement Agile DevOps and develop more high-quality software at your company. 

What is Agile DevOps?

Agile DevOps combines methodologies, processes, and tools that increase your organization's ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity. It brings together software development and software operation, hence the term "DevOps," which is a blend of "development" and "operations."

Agile DevOps emerged out of a need to improve the collaboration and communication between Agile software development and IT operations, which had traditionally been siloed. DevOps aims to shorten the system development life cycle and provide continuous delivery of high-quality software. When you build it into the culture and invest in the right tools, you will see improvements across the board.

There are some key elements that you need to bring together to get it right. 

Key elements to implement Agile DevOps

Each one of these elements can take a deep study, requires seasoned experts, and requires a long time to build into your culture and technology stack. But it’s worth reviewing them quickly and knowing what’s needed to start your Agile DevOps journey. 

  1. Agile – Agile is a set of principles for software development that encourages adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement.

  2. DevOps – DevOps breaks down the barriers between development and operations teams, emphasizing communication, collaboration, integration, and automation.

  3. Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) – DevOps stresses continuously merging all developers' working copies to a shared mainline. This practice ensures swift detection and easy mitigation of integration bugs. The delivery of software in smaller, frequent increments, rather than in large, infrequent releases, also falls under this.

  4. Breaking down silos – Teams to work together rather than in separate silos. Everyone from IT to senior software developers understands and shares the collective project goals and work in harmony.

  5. Automation – Automates repetitive tasks (like code deployment, testing, and configuration changes) to speed up the development process and minimize human errors.

  6. Monitoring and logging – Keeping track of application performance, user experience, business processes, and problems or incidents. This leads to proactive identification and resolution of issues mid-sprint.

  7. Learning and experimentation – Agile DevOps fosters a culture that encourages experimentation, learning from failure, and understanding that failure is a path to learning and improvement.

What exactly is CI/CD?

CI/CD is a crucial area of focus in Agile DevOps. It enables your teams to automate their software delivery pipeline, rapidly release new features, and quickly respond to changing requirements. It’s worth taking a quick look at these two on their own. 

  • Continuous Integration (CI) – CI is the practice of merging code changes from individual developers into a shared repository frequently, often multiple times a day. This approach helps identify integration issues early, reducing the risk of conflicts and bugs. CI typically involves automated builds, testing, and code analysis to ensure that the merged code is high quality and adheres to coding standards.

    • Popular CI tools include: Jenkins, GitLab CI, CircleCI, and GitHub Actions.

  • Continuous Delivery (CD) – CD is an extension of CI. It focuses on automating the process of delivering code changes to production environments. This includes deploying new features, bug fixes, and other updates consistently and reliably. CD ensures that the code is always in a releasable state and minimizes the time it takes to get new features and improvements into the hands of users.

    • Popular CD tools include: Spinnaker, AWS CodeDeploy, Google Cloud Build, and Azure Pipelines.

While all these capabilities come from the cloud, they’re made up of a complex tech stack you need to know a little bit about. 

What are the benefits of Agile DevOps for CIOs?

DevOps can help your company deliver software faster, reliably, and with fewer errors. This leads to a long list of high-level benefits – e.g., improved customer satisfaction (internal and external), reduced costs, and faster time-to-market.

  1. Cost reduction – Automating manual tasks and efficient resource utilization through containerization and cloud-native architecture leads to significant cost savings.
  2. Faster time-to-market – By automating the software delivery pipeline, teams can quickly release new features and updates. This helps your business stay competitive, scale appropriately, and respond to customer needs.
  3. Higher quality releases – Automated testing and deployment, frequent code integrations, and Infrastructure as Code (IaC) help improve software quality and reduce errors and failures in production.
  4. Improved collaboration – Agile DevOps fosters collaboration and communication between development and operations teams. Over time, this breaks down traditional silos and promotes shared responsibility for software delivery.
  5. Better risk management – Frequent, small releases minimize the risk of deploying large, complex updates. This also makes it easier to identify and resolve issues.
  6. Increased efficiency – Automating repetitive tasks in the software delivery pipeline frees team members to focus on more valuable activities (like teaching themselves to code faster with AI).
  7. Improved customer satisfaction – Agile practices prioritize customer feedback and fast iterations. This lets your software development teams adapt quickly to customer needs and preferences. In the long run, this leads to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  8. Faster innovation – Agile DevOps fosters a culture of experimentation and learning from failure, which spurs innovation (e.g., what are you building with AI right now?). It also enables more frequent releases, which allows your teams to optimize new features and improvements more often.
  9. Happier software engineers – By breaking down silos and fostering a culture of collaboration and continuous learning, Agile DevOps can lead to increased employee engagement and satisfaction, boosting productivity and reducing turnover.

Agile DevOps requires many tools and technologies to foster collaboration and agility in your software development process.

What tools and technologies power Agile DevOps?

Everything from your Slack channels to containerization tools like Docker makes Agile DevOps possible. Your technology stack will always look different than others, but there are proven enterprise DevOps tools to manage different stages of the software development and deployment process. 

  1. Version control systems (VCS) – VCS tools manage changes to source code over time and keep track of every modification. They allow your senior software engineers and developers to collaborate effectively and revert to a previous version of the work if needed. Examples include Git, Mercurial, and Subversion.

  2. Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) tools – CI/CD tools automate the process of integrating changes from multiple contributors and deploying applications to production. They help detect errors quickly and improve the speed of development and deployment. Examples include Jenkins, CircleCI, Travis CI, GitLab CI, and Bamboo.

  3. Configuration management tools – These tools automate the process of configuring and managing your infrastructure systems. They ensure that systems are in the correct state (including the installation of necessary software, settings, and so on) and can automate the process of updating systems or scaling up the infrastructure. Examples include Ansible, Puppet, and Chef.

  4. Containerization and orchestration tools – Containers are lightweight, standalone executable packages that include everything needed to run an application. Container orchestration tools manage the life cycles of these containers. Examples include Docker for containerization, and Kubernetes for orchestration.

  5. Monitoring and logging tools – These tools collect and display data about the performance of your applications and infrastructure. They help your teams to identify and respond to issues quickly. Examples include ELK Stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana), Grafana, Prometheus, and Splunk.

  6. Project management and collaboration tools – These are the classic tools to organize sprints, improve communication among team members, and provide visibility into work progress. Examples include Jira, Trello, Asana, and Slack.

  7. Testing and quality assurance tools – QA and testing tools help automate the process of testing software to detect bugs and other issues. Examples include Selenium, JUnit, and TestNG.

  8. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools –  IaC is the process of managing and provisioning computer data centers through machine-readable definition files instead of physical hardware configuration or interactive configuration tools. Examples include Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, and Google Cloud Deployment Manager.

Remember, the choice of tools depends on your team or organization's specific needs and context. To get started, you’ll need to understand your current state and strategic goals to choose the right technology. 

How to get started with Agile DevOps?

Starting with Agile DevOps in your organization involves a unique combination of cultural changes, process adjustments, and tool adoption. Here are the foundational steps for adopting Agile DevOps to deliver high-quality software fast. 

  • Understand Agile and DevOps principles – Before implementing Agile DevOps, it's crucial to understand what these methodologies entail, their principles, and their benefits. This helps you articulate the value to the rest of your organization and overcome resistance to change.

  • Assess your current state – Analyze your existing development and operations processes. Identify bottlenecks, areas of inefficiency, or problems that Agile DevOps practices can solve. This step helps you pinpoint what needs to change and where to start.

  • Define your goals – Define what you aim to achieve by implementing Agile DevOps. This could be faster time-to-market, higher quality software, better responsiveness to customer feedback, etc.

  • Build a cross-functional team – Agile and DevOps emphasize breaking down silos and promoting cross-functional collaboration. Your team should include members with various skills – e.g., software development, IT operations, and quality assurance.

  • Implement Agile practices – Start by adopting Agile practices such as Scrum or Kanban. Begin with small, manageable projects to test these practices and gather feedback before rolling them out more broadly.

  • Integrate DevOps tools – Choose and integrate DevOps tools that support continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), Infrastructure as Code (IaC), automation, and monitoring.

  • Foster a culture of continuous learning – Encourage a mindset of experimentation and learning from failure. Regularly review and retrospect on your processes. Then continuously improve them based on feedback and learning.

  • Provide training – Your team may need training in Agile and DevOps practices and in using any new tools you adopt. Consider providing this training in-house, or hiring a modern software development consultancy to help.

  • Measure success –  Identify metrics that will allow you to measure the success of your Agile DevOps implementation. This could include measures of software delivery speed, software quality, customer satisfaction, team productivity, etc.

Remember, shifting to Agile DevOps is a journey, not a destination. It involves a cultural shift and changes in processes and tools that last as long as you deliver software. It takes time for these changes to become embedded in your culture and for the benefits to be fully realized. Persistence, patience, and continuous learning and improvement are essential.

This process takes years to get right. You may not have time to implement Agile DevOps and still build out your roadmap for the next quarter. Luckily, you can hire a modern application development (MAD) service provider who already knows Agile DevOps. 

How do I hire a team who knows Agile DevOps

It can take 6-18 months (or longer) to hire and bring Agile DevOps talent up to speed internally. That’s way too long for most people to wait, and that’s why Codingscape exists. We spin up teams of seasoned Agile DevOps experts for you by next quarter and help transform your whole software delivery organization.

We get up to speed faster than other firms (or internal recruiting) to start delivering software you need. Zappos, Twilio, and Veho are just a few companies that trust us to speed up their software delivery. We’ve also built solutions for Amazon and Apple. We know every layer of Agile DevOps at scale and love to help companies take full advantage of modern application development practices.

You can schedule a time to talk with us here. No hassle, no expectations, just answers.

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Cole is Codingscape's Content Marketing Strategist & Copywriter.