Agile vs DevOps

Agile is a methodology focused on lightweight software development cycles, with fast releases, iterations, and continuous improvements; DevOps is an organizational function that combines and integrates development and operations. In short, DevOps might help operationally to execute an agile methodology, but DevOps might also use other methods, even though Agile is among the most used in software development.

PhilosophyAgile is a software development methodology that emphasizes iterative development, collaboration, and customer feedback.DevOps is a cultural and technical movement that focuses on collaboration between development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) to automate and streamline the software delivery process.
FocusAgile primarily focuses on the development phase of the software lifecycle, with an emphasis on delivering high-quality, incremental releases.DevOps extends beyond development and includes the entire software delivery pipeline, from development to testing, deployment, and operations.
PrinciplesAgile is guided by the Agile Manifesto, which includes values such as individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change.DevOps is guided by principles like automation, collaboration, continuous integration, continuous delivery, and monitoring.
RolesAgile defines specific roles, such as Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team, to facilitate collaboration and prioritize work.DevOps promotes cross-functional teams where individuals from development, operations, and other areas work together to achieve common goals.
IterationsAgile uses iterations (sprints) to deliver increments of working software, typically lasting 2-4 weeks, with regular review and adaptation.DevOps focuses on continuous and automated delivery, reducing the need for fixed iterations.
AutomationWhile automation is encouraged in Agile (e.g., automated testing), it may not cover the entire software delivery pipeline.DevOps places a strong emphasis on automation for tasks like code deployment, testing, infrastructure provisioning, and monitoring.
FeedbackAgile emphasizes frequent customer feedback and collaboration, often through ceremonies like sprint reviews and daily stand-up meetings.DevOps promotes quick feedback loops through automated testing, continuous monitoring, and real-time reporting.
DeploymentAgile may require separate deployment and operations processes, potentially leading to delays in delivering software to production.DevOps aims to integrate development and operations, allowing for faster and more reliable deployments to production.
CultureAgile encourages a culture of collaboration, openness, and adaptability but does not explicitly address the cultural aspects of operations.DevOps places a strong emphasis on cultural transformation, fostering a culture of shared responsibility and collaboration between Dev and Ops teams.
ToolingAgile may use various tools for project management, collaboration, and testing, but it does not prescribe specific toolsets.DevOps often involves a specific set of tools for automation, such as configuration management, continuous integration, and continuous delivery (CI/CD) tools.
ScopeAgile focuses on software development methodologies (e.g., Scrum, Kanban) and may not address broader operational concerns.DevOps encompasses both development and operations, addressing the entire software delivery lifecycle.
Use CasesAgile is well-suited for software development projects that require iterative development, frequent releases, and close customer collaboration.DevOps is suitable for organizations that aim to improve the speed, quality, and reliability of software delivery by bridging the gap between development and operations.

Agile Methodology

Agile started as a lightweight development method compared to heavyweight software development, which is the core paradigm of the previous decades of software development. By 2001 the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was born as a set of principles that defined the new paradigm for software development as a continuous iteration. This would also influence the way of doing business.

DevOps Engineering

DevOps refers to a series of practices performed to perform automated software development processes. It is a conjugation of the term “development” and “operations” to emphasize how functions integrate across IT teams. DevOps strategies promote seamless building, testing, and deployment of products. It aims to bridge a gap between development and operations teams to streamline the development altogether.


  • Iterative Approach: Both Agile and DevOps emphasize an iterative approach to software development. They break down development into smaller cycles to facilitate continuous improvement and adaptation.
  • Customer-Centric: Both methodologies prioritize delivering value to customers. Agile focuses on delivering valuable software features, while DevOps aims to provide stable and reliable software services.
  • Collaboration: Both methodologies promote collaboration and communication between different teams involved in the software development process. Agile emphasizes collaboration between development teams and stakeholders, while DevOps emphasizes collaboration between development and operations teams.
  • Continuous Improvement: Both Agile and DevOps advocate for continuous improvement. Agile achieves this through regular retrospectives and adapting the development approach, while DevOps achieves it by continuously enhancing development and deployment processes.
  • Flexibility: Both methodologies are flexible and responsive to changes. Agile adapts to changing requirements through iterative development, and DevOps adapts to changing deployment needs by automating processes.


  • Scope and Focus:
    • Agile: Primarily focused on software development methodologies and practices. It’s concerned with how software features are planned, developed, and delivered.
    • DevOps: Aims to bridge the gap between development and operations by focusing on automating and improving the entire software development lifecycle, including deployment and maintenance.
  • Functions Involved:
    • Agile: Primarily involves development teams and stakeholders. Its main goal is to deliver valuable features to end-users efficiently.
    • DevOps: Involves collaboration between development, operations, and other IT teams. Its focus is on streamlining the deployment and operation of software systems.
  • Timeframe:
    • Agile: Operates within development cycles or sprints that can range from a few weeks to a few months.
    • DevOps: Is an ongoing process that extends beyond individual development cycles. It involves continuous deployment, monitoring, and improvement of software systems.
  • Automation:
    • Agile: While automation can be part of Agile practices (like automated testing), it’s not a central focus.
    • DevOps: Automation is a core principle. DevOps aims to automate various aspects of development, testing, deployment, and operations to achieve efficiency and reliability.
  • Goals:
    • Agile: Focuses on delivering features and software that meet customer needs and can adapt to changing requirements.
    • DevOps: Aims to ensure the reliability, stability, and scalability of software systems in production by automating processes and enhancing collaboration.

Key Highlights

  • Agile Methodology:
    • Definition and Focus: Agile is a methodology for software development that emphasizes lightweight development cycles, fast iterations, and continuous improvements.
    • Contrast to Traditional Development: It contrasts with the traditional heavyweight software development approach prevalent in previous decades.
    • Manifesto for Agile Software Development: In 2001, the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was established, outlining principles that advocate for continuous iteration in software development, which also has implications for business practices.
  • DevOps Engineering:
    • Definition and Integration: DevOps is an organizational function that integrates development and operations teams to streamline software development processes.
    • Automated Development: DevOps involves a series of practices aimed at automating various aspects of software development, including building, testing, and deployment.
    • Origin of Term: The term “DevOps” is a combination of “development” and “operations,” highlighting the collaboration between these IT functions.
    • Seamless Processes: DevOps strategies aim to create seamless and efficient workflows, bridging the gap between development and operations to accelerate and enhance the entire development lifecycle.
Software DevelopmentAgile is an approach to software development that emphasizes iterative development, customer collaboration, and the delivery of working software in short cycles (sprints).DevOps is a set of practices that aims to automate and integrate the processes of software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) to achieve faster and more reliable software delivery.
Project ManagementAgile project management uses methodologies like Scrum or Kanban to manage projects, with a focus on adapting to changing requirements and delivering value incrementally.DevOps can be seen as a complementary approach, integrating development and operations teams, tools, and processes to improve the entire software development lifecycle.
Product DevelopmentAgile product development involves continuous feedback from customers and stakeholders to refine product features and prioritize work based on changing market demands.DevOps plays a role in ensuring that the developed product can be deployed, monitored, and maintained effectively in production, enhancing the overall product lifecycle.
Quality AssuranceIn Agile, testing is integrated into the development process, and automated testing is often used to validate software changes, ensuring that each increment is of high quality.DevOps incorporates automated testing, continuous integration, and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines to ensure that code changes are thoroughly tested before deployment.
IT OperationsAgile mainly focuses on the development aspect, while IT operations, including deployment and maintenance, are not part of its core principles.DevOps is primarily concerned with the collaboration between development and operations teams to streamline the deployment and management of software in production environments.
Release ManagementAgile teams may release new features or updates incrementally, but the frequency and stability of these releases can vary depending on the organization’s practices.DevOps emphasizes frequent and reliable releases, with automation and monitoring to ensure that changes can be deployed to production rapidly and without causing disruptions.
Customer SupportAgile principles encourage close collaboration with customers and end-users, enabling rapid responses to feedback and the ability to pivot based on real-world usage.DevOps practices extend beyond development to include post-production monitoring and support, ensuring that issues are quickly identified and addressed in live environments.
Project ScalingAgile frameworks like SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) offer strategies for scaling Agile practices to larger organizations with multiple teams working on complex projects.DevOps is often used in conjunction with Agile at scale to enable efficient and automated coordination between multiple development teams and their associated operations.
SecurityAgile considers security as part of the development process but may not emphasize it comprehensively. Security practices can vary across Agile implementations.DevOps incorporates security into its practices, fostering a “DevSecOps” approach that integrates security measures throughout the development and deployment pipeline.
Culture and CollaborationAgile promotes a collaborative and iterative culture within development teams, focusing on cross-functional collaboration and the empowerment of team members.DevOps extends the culture of collaboration across development and operations teams, encouraging shared ownership of the entire software delivery process and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Read Next: Agile, DevOps.

Connected Agile & Lean Frameworks


AIOps is the application of artificial intelligence to IT operations. It has become particularly useful for modern IT management in hybridized, distributed, and dynamic environments. AIOps has become a key operational component of modern digital-based organizations, built around software and algorithms.


AgileSHIFT is a framework that prepares individuals for transformational change by creating a culture of agility.

Agile Methodology

Agile started as a lightweight development method compared to heavyweight software development, which is the core paradigm of the previous decades of software development. By 2001 the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was born as a set of principles that defined the new paradigm for software development as a continuous iteration. This would also influence the way of doing business.

Agile Program Management

Agile Program Management is a means of managing, planning, and coordinating interrelated work in such a way that value delivery is emphasized for all key stakeholders. Agile Program Management (AgilePgM) is a disciplined yet flexible agile approach to managing transformational change within an organization.

Agile Project Management

Agile project management (APM) is a strategy that breaks large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. In the APM methodology, each project is completed in small sections – often referred to as iterations. Each iteration is completed according to its project life cycle, beginning with the initial design and progressing to testing and then quality assurance.

Agile Modeling

Agile Modeling (AM) is a methodology for modeling and documenting software-based systems. Agile Modeling is critical to the rapid and continuous delivery of software. It is a collection of values, principles, and practices that guide effective, lightweight software modeling.

Agile Business Analysis

Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA) is certification in the form of guidance and training for business analysts seeking to work in agile environments. To support this shift, AgileBA also helps the business analyst relate Agile projects to a wider organizational mission or strategy. To ensure that analysts have the necessary skills and expertise, AgileBA certification was developed.

Agile Leadership

Agile leadership is the embodiment of agile manifesto principles by a manager or management team. Agile leadership impacts two important levels of a business. The structural level defines the roles, responsibilities, and key performance indicators. The behavioral level describes the actions leaders exhibit to others based on agile principles. 

Andon System

The andon system alerts managerial, maintenance, or other staff of a production process problem. The alert itself can be activated manually with a button or pull cord, but it can also be activated automatically by production equipment. Most Andon boards utilize three colored lights similar to a traffic signal: green (no errors), yellow or amber (problem identified, or quality check needed), and red (production stopped due to unidentified issue).

Bimodal Portfolio Management

Bimodal Portfolio Management (BimodalPfM) helps an organization manage both agile and traditional portfolios concurrently. Bimodal Portfolio Management – sometimes referred to as bimodal development – was coined by research and advisory company Gartner. The firm argued that many agile organizations still needed to run some aspects of their operations using traditional delivery models.

Business Innovation Matrix

Business innovation is about creating new opportunities for an organization to reinvent its core offerings, revenue streams, and enhance the value proposition for existing or new customers, thus renewing its whole business model. Business innovation springs by understanding the structure of the market, thus adapting or anticipating those changes.

Business Model Innovation

Business model innovation is about increasing the success of an organization with existing products and technologies by crafting a compelling value proposition able to propel a new business model to scale up customers and create a lasting competitive advantage. And it all starts by mastering the key customers.

Constructive Disruption

A consumer brand company like Procter & Gamble (P&G) defines “Constructive Disruption” as: a willingness to change, adapt, and create new trends and technologies that will shape our industry for the future. According to P&G, it moves around four pillars: lean innovation, brand building, supply chain, and digitalization & data analytics.

Continuous Innovation

That is a process that requires a continuous feedback loop to develop a valuable product and build a viable business model. Continuous innovation is a mindset where products and services are designed and delivered to tune them around the customers’ problem and not the technical solution of its founders.

Design Sprint

A design sprint is a proven five-day process where critical business questions are answered through speedy design and prototyping, focusing on the end-user. A design sprint starts with a weekly challenge that should finish with a prototype, test at the end, and therefore a lesson learned to be iterated.

Design Thinking

Tim Brown, Executive Chair of IDEO, defined design thinking as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” Therefore, desirability, feasibility, and viability are balanced to solve critical problems.


DevOps refers to a series of practices performed to perform automated software development processes. It is a conjugation of the term “development” and “operations” to emphasize how functions integrate across IT teams. DevOps strategies promote seamless building, testing, and deployment of products. It aims to bridge a gap between development and operations teams to streamline the development altogether.

Dual Track Agile

Product discovery is a critical part of agile methodologies, as its aim is to ensure that products customers love are built. Product discovery involves learning through a raft of methods, including design thinking, lean start-up, and A/B testing to name a few. Dual Track Agile is an agile methodology containing two separate tracks: the “discovery” track and the “delivery” track.

eXtreme Programming

eXtreme Programming was developed in the late 1990s by Ken Beck, Ron Jeffries, and Ward Cunningham. During this time, the trio was working on the Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System (C3) to help manage the company payroll system. eXtreme Programming (XP) is a software development methodology. It is designed to improve software quality and the ability of software to adapt to changing customer needs.

Feature-Driven Development

Feature-Driven Development is a pragmatic software process that is client and architecture-centric. Feature-Driven Development (FDD) is an agile software development model that organizes workflow according to which features need to be developed next.

Gemba Walk

A Gemba Walk is a fundamental component of lean management. It describes the personal observation of work to learn more about it. Gemba is a Japanese word that loosely translates as “the real place”, or in business, “the place where value is created”. The Gemba Walk as a concept was created by Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System of lean manufacturing. Ohno wanted to encourage management executives to leave their offices and see where the real work happened. This, he hoped, would build relationships between employees with vastly different skillsets and build trust.

GIST Planning

GIST Planning is a relatively easy and lightweight agile approach to product planning that favors autonomous working. GIST Planning is a lean and agile methodology that was created by former Google product manager Itamar Gilad. GIST Planning seeks to address this situation by creating lightweight plans that are responsive and adaptable to change. GIST Planning also improves team velocity, autonomy, and alignment by reducing the pervasive influence of management. It consists of four blocks: goals, ideas, step-projects, and tasks.

ICE Scoring

The ICE Scoring Model is an agile methodology that prioritizes features using data according to three components: impact, confidence, and ease of implementation. The ICE Scoring Model was initially created by author and growth expert Sean Ellis to help companies expand. Today, the model is broadly used to prioritize projects, features, initiatives, and rollouts. It is ideally suited for early-stage product development where there is a continuous flow of ideas and momentum must be maintained.

Innovation Funnel

An innovation funnel is a tool or process ensuring only the best ideas are executed. In a metaphorical sense, the funnel screens innovative ideas for viability so that only the best products, processes, or business models are launched to the market. An innovation funnel provides a framework for the screening and testing of innovative ideas for viability.

Innovation Matrix

According to how well defined is the problem and how well defined the domain, we have four main types of innovations: basic research (problem and domain or not well defined); breakthrough innovation (domain is not well defined, the problem is well defined); sustaining innovation (both problem and domain are well defined); and disruptive innovation (domain is well defined, the problem is not well defined).

Innovation Theory

The innovation loop is a methodology/framework derived from the Bell Labs, which produced innovation at scale throughout the 20th century. They learned how to leverage a hybrid innovation management model based on science, invention, engineering, and manufacturing at scale. By leveraging individual genius, creativity, and small/large groups.

Lean vs. Agile

The Agile methodology has been primarily thought of for software development (and other business disciplines have also adopted it). Lean thinking is a process improvement technique where teams prioritize the value streams to improve it continuously. Both methodologies look at the customer as the key driver to improvement and waste reduction. Both methodologies look at improvement as something continuous.

Lean Startup

A startup company is a high-tech business that tries to build a scalable business model in tech-driven industries. A startup company usually follows a lean methodology, where continuous innovation, driven by built-in viral loops is the rule. Thus, driving growth and building network effects as a consequence of this strategy.

Minimum Viable Product

As pointed out by Eric Ries, a minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort through a cycle of build, measure, learn; that is the foundation of the lean startup methodology.

Leaner MVP

A leaner MVP is the evolution of the MPV approach. Where the market risk is validated before anything else


Kanban is a lean manufacturing framework first developed by Toyota in the late 1940s. The Kanban framework is a means of visualizing work as it moves through identifying potential bottlenecks. It does that through a process called just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing to optimize engineering processes, speed up manufacturing products, and improve the go-to-market strategy.


Jidoka was first used in 1896 by Sakichi Toyoda, who invented a textile loom that would stop automatically when it encountered a defective thread. Jidoka is a Japanese term used in lean manufacturing. The term describes a scenario where machines cease operating without human intervention when a problem or defect is discovered.

PDCA Cycle

The PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle was first proposed by American physicist and engineer Walter A. Shewhart in the 1920s. The PDCA cycle is a continuous process and product improvement method and an essential component of the lean manufacturing philosophy.

Rational Unified Process

Rational unified process (RUP) is an agile software development methodology that breaks the project life cycle down into four distinct phases.

Rapid Application Development

RAD was first introduced by author and consultant James Martin in 1991. Martin recognized and then took advantage of the endless malleability of software in designing development models. Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a methodology focusing on delivering rapidly through continuous feedback and frequent iterations.

Retrospective Analysis

Retrospective analyses are held after a project to determine what worked well and what did not. They are also conducted at the end of an iteration in Agile project management. Agile practitioners call these meetings retrospectives or retros. They are an effective way to check the pulse of a project team, reflect on the work performed to date, and reach a consensus on how to tackle the next sprint cycle. These are the five stages of a retrospective analysis for effective Agile project management: set the stage, gather the data, generate insights, decide on the next steps, and close the retrospective.

Scaled Agile

Scaled Agile Lean Development (ScALeD) helps businesses discover a balanced approach to agile transition and scaling questions. The ScALed approach helps businesses successfully respond to change. Inspired by a combination of lean and agile values, ScALed is practitioner-based and can be completed through various agile frameworks and practices.


The SMED (single minute exchange of die) method is a lean production framework to reduce waste and increase production efficiency. The SMED method is a framework for reducing the time associated with completing an equipment changeover.

Spotify Model

The Spotify Model is an autonomous approach to scaling agile, focusing on culture communication, accountability, and quality. The Spotify model was first recognized in 2012 after Henrik Kniberg, and Anders Ivarsson released a white paper detailing how streaming company Spotify approached agility. Therefore, the Spotify model represents an evolution of agile.

Test-Driven Development

As the name suggests, TDD is a test-driven technique for delivering high-quality software rapidly and sustainably. It is an iterative approach based on the idea that a failing test should be written before any code for a feature or function is written. Test-Driven Development (TDD) is an approach to software development that relies on very short development cycles.


Timeboxing is a simple yet powerful time-management technique for improving productivity. Timeboxing describes the process of proactively scheduling a block of time to spend on a task in the future. It was first described by author James Martin in a book about agile software development.


Scrum is a methodology co-created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland for effective team collaboration on complex products. Scrum was primarily thought for software development projects to deliver new software capability every 2-4 weeks. It is a sub-group of agile also used in project management to improve startups’ productivity.


Scrumban is a project management framework that is a hybrid of two popular agile methodologies: Scrum and Kanban. Scrumban is a popular approach to helping businesses focus on the right strategic tasks while simultaneously strengthening their processes.

Scrum Anti-Patterns

Scrum anti-patterns describe any attractive, easy-to-implement solution that ultimately makes a problem worse. Therefore, these are the practice not to follow to prevent issues from emerging. Some classic examples of scrum anti-patterns comprise absent product owners, pre-assigned tickets (making individuals work in isolation), and discounting retrospectives (where review meetings are not useful to really make improvements).

Scrum At Scale

Scrum at Scale (Scrum@Scale) is a framework that Scrum teams use to address complex problems and deliver high-value products. Scrum at Scale was created through a joint venture between the Scrum Alliance and Scrum Inc. The joint venture was overseen by Jeff Sutherland, a co-creator of Scrum and one of the principal authors of the Agile Manifesto.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating errors or defects in a product, service, or process. Six Sigma was developed by Motorola as a management approach based on quality fundamentals in the early 1980s. A decade later, it was popularized by General Electric who estimated that the methodology saved them $12 billion in the first five years of operation.

Stretch Objectives

Stretch objectives describe any task an agile team plans to complete without expressly committing to do so. Teams incorporate stretch objectives during a Sprint or Program Increment (PI) as part of Scaled Agile. They are used when the agile team is unsure of its capacity to attain an objective. Therefore, stretch objectives are instead outcomes that, while extremely desirable, are not the difference between the success or failure of each sprint.

Toyota Production System

The Toyota Production System (TPS) is an early form of lean manufacturing created by auto-manufacturer Toyota. Created by the Toyota Motor Corporation in the 1940s and 50s, the Toyota Production System seeks to manufacture vehicles ordered by customers most quickly and efficiently possible.

Total Quality Management

The Total Quality Management (TQM) framework is a technique based on the premise that employees continuously work on their ability to provide value to customers. Importantly, the word “total” means that all employees are involved in the process – regardless of whether they work in development, production, or fulfillment.


The waterfall model was first described by Herbert D. Benington in 1956 during a presentation about the software used in radar imaging during the Cold War. Since there were no knowledge-based, creative software development strategies at the time, the waterfall method became standard practice. The waterfall model is a linear and sequential project management framework. 

Read Also: Continuous InnovationAgile MethodologyLean StartupBusiness Model InnovationProject Management.

Read Next: Agile Methodology, Lean Methodology, Agile Project Management, Scrum, Kanban, Six Sigma.

Main Guides:

Main Case Studies:

About The Author

Scroll to Top