Some say DevOps is the next step in Agile’s evolution.
Software development is changing rapidly; if you don’t change with it, modern development may leave you behind. DevOps connects information technology operations with development and vice versa; this is a big change for the art of software creation. Agile was not designed with this new level of focus on information technology operations in mind, and must change to include this focus to thrive.
According to Tony Higgins, CTO of Blueprint, the hot new trends that are supposed to replace the methodology actually are extensions of it. DevOps, for example, aims to extend the collaboration happening between development and QA teams to the operations people who are running the production infrastructure. “It’s the next step in the Agile process,” he says.
Survey data correlates with assertions it is growing in large enterprises even as DevOps is expanding. According to VersionOne’s 2016 State of Agile Report, more than 24 percent of respondents who use the methodology work for organizations with more than 20,000 employees, compared to 21 percent last year.
Addressing the State of Agile
Some enterprise software development stakeholders are shifting their sentiments by moving into enterprise Agile from software project-based/development side-only Agile.
To some, the original creed should be unwavering, even though it addresses only software development and not information technology operations. “In an ISV context, which is where Agile ‘grew up,’ this understanding did really well. But now with [it] making rapid inroads into information technology, the context is very different and, in a nutshell, the manifesto is insufficient,” says Higgins. The needs of information technology operations such as those that DevOps is meeting are driving new frameworks so it also can morph to include a Dev and Ops methodology.
“Rather than dying, Agile is transitioning from a competitive differentiator to a core competency,” says Higgins. Whether as part of Agile, what the industry calls DevOps or some new methodology, development is accelerating by building new features and innovations in small, rapid, incremental trips through the pipeline; that approach is originally a core concept of Agile. “Industry folks declaring it’s dead don’t realize that businesses have not given up on it; they’re just looking for better ways to do it,” he adds.
Agile is Growing
According to Higgins, the methodology isn’t something that just “happened” in 2001 when its manifesto came to into existence. “Software development organizations were practicing and evolving the various principles of Agile all along and the manifesto was really a culminating event that codified it,” Higgins explains.
The methodology is spreading much like DevOps, appearing in executive groups such as marketing, sales and information technology. “In marketing, they’re time-boxing their work into iterations with tangible outputs/deliverables. You’re seeing regular ‘stand-ups’ happening with the inside sales group. Agile is making fast and strong inroads into information technology, driving tighter collaboration with operations, and enabling faster delivery,” says Higgins. It is proving to be a repeatable business model that applies to every part of the organization that cares to use it.
Proof it is a core competency lies in the fact that technology must now be able to support it. “Analysis tools that help determine requirements must be able to do so in an Agile environment,” says Higgins.
Enterprises are approaching the methodology in better ways as organizations are seeing that requirements are keys to its effectiveness. “Requirements often have been overlooked in Agile processes, but recently we have seen research firms (Gartner, Forrester) and the market shift their focus to requirements to improve their deployments,” says Higgins.
Both Agile and DevOps are useful in extending the collaboration of development and QA not only to operations people but ultimately also to other departments. “Instituting DevOps, continuous integration tools or any type of automated deployments will inherently require collaboration between departments; this must actually extend well beyond just Dev, QA and Ops and to the rest of the business to ensure that end-to-end visibility is achieved and decisions are not made in isolation,” says Higgins.