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The Evolution from Agile to DevOps to Continuous Delivery
The Evolution from Agile to DevOps to Continuous Delivery

The software development industry has always chosen its path of evolution by keeping its focus solely on delivering excellence to their customers if not exceed. Organizations are always looking for ways to accelerate their software development process to ensure enhanced business outcomes, which is probably why we see technology evolving quickly.

Presently, even though the software development industry is chiefly agile, it has been seeing a lot of growth in DevOps adoption for improving the SDLC process. This growth in DevOps adoption is further laying the path for Continuous Delivery, which is another fine practice to enhance your value creation process.

While the industry has been evolving and moving towards Continuous Delivery, it is their coexistence that brings the best results ultimately. Agile methodologies be it Scrum, or XP have been able to speed up the process of dev-ready code. But the problem of last mile still existed – this meant that even though the code is Dev ready, if your Centralized QA and Centralized Ops are not involved from day 1, your idea will take time to get to the market which results in businesses losing revenue because of the delay. However, with the onset of DevOps mindset and Continuous Delivery practices, the industry was able to connect the IT and operations teams with dev teams to bring Agility into your SDLC process’, improve responsiveness and time to market.

In this article, we will discuss about how the evolution from Agile to DevOps to Continuous Delivery has been beneficial for organizations, and how these methodologies coexist to help organizations produce the effective results.

Journey from Agile to DevOps

As we stated earlier, the software development industry chiefly runs on Agile methodology today. When Agile was introduced initially, the main objective was to break down software projects into smaller components to improve effectiveness. As the benefits became prominent, organizations began to use Agile way of working in other departments as well. The idea of breaking projects into smaller tasks/chunks and dividing them among teams so that each task gets done efficaciously gained a lot of traction. It helped organizations to:

  • Deliver at regular intervals
  • Gain feedback regularly
  • Managing dependencies
  • Regular monitoring at all levels

However, the moment it shifted to testing and deployment, the Agile methodology didn’t produce efficient results as the Agile teams, Centralized QA and Ops teams ended up working in silos. So, the lack of collaboration and ineffective communication caused several issues to surface, such as:

  • Problem of last mile
  • Businesses losing revenue since the idea is not yet live
  • Slowing down value creation process
  • Lack of trust between the teams

DevOps emerged as a solution to this problem, with the purpose of connecting the development and operations teams and putting an end to the silos functioning.

The iterative approach taken up with the implementation of Agile methodology helps organizations to provide enhanced quality products and improve their working efficiencies. But it is not enough on its own to optimize the SDLC.

Hence, the evolution from Agile to DevOps not only made sure that working in silos was eliminated, but it also ensured that the Agile methodology was optimized to its full potential.

DevOps and Continuous Delivery

DevOps is all about creating a culture of better collaboration between every team responsible for your Value stream delivery and not just the development and operations teams (as the name might indicate), while continuous delivery is about the ability to get all changes – bug fixes, config changes, new features, enhancements – into the hands of your end users in a safe, quick, and reliable way.

DevOps and Continuous Delivery together offer a myriad of benefits, such as:

  • Cost Optimization
  • Increased collaboration
  • Better risk mitigation
  • Enhanced organizational and team’s productivity
  • Faster time to market

While the aim of DevOps is to maintain and foster communication and a balance between all teams responsible for your value stream delivery, continuous delivery focuses more on leveraging automation to enhance the speed of deliveries from code check-in through till production.

Acting as an extension to Agile thinking and DevOps culture, continuous delivery leverages agile methodologies in several ways and shares a common background to focus on taking quick actions and delivering the highest value to customers.

It is safe to say that Continuous Delivery has evolved from Continuous Integration, an essential practice in Xtreme Programming (one of the Agile flavors), taking forward the benefits of agile and DevOps, and adding its own set of advantages to provide the best possible outcomes.

With the implementation of Continuous Delivery, several organizations can meet their business demands and position themselves strategically with in their respective marketplace. It enables organizations to provide high quality, frequent and systematic releases of value to stakeholders.

How is Continuous Delivery beneficial for organizations?

Continuous delivery has lot to offer to organizations. Continuous delivery aims to fully automate the end-end SDLC process from code check-in through till production. You can go live with every check-in aka Continuous Deployment or go live until the last environment before production, which ensures your software is production ready at all times.

With this approach of DevOps, the team will be always ready on 'Delivering any time' to the production. There are several ways through which organizations can achieve success with continuous delivery. Some of them are:

  • Streamlined Workflows

    Continuous Delivery streamlines workflows with the help of automation. Automated workflows help organizations to ensure that the processes are always carried out and completed in the same way. Continuous Delivery would also support customized workflows, which helps organizations to meet all unique requirements, if any.

  • Optimized People Costs

    With the help of automation, Continuous Delivery helps organizations to optimize personnel costs. As several manual procedures are eliminated, organizations can invest that time and effort saved in innovation to better serve their clientele. CI / CD pipelines carry out operations and report feedback / issues to which the teams cater to immediately.

  • Enhanced Operational Confidence 

    Continuous delivery plays a significant role in improving the operational confidence of organizations by:

    1. Ensuring regulatory compliance
    2. Real-time monitoring, alerts, and remediation
    3. Eliminating errors that happen due to manual intervention

    By enhancing the operational confidence of the organization, it also helps in increasing the DevOps return on investment and overall organizational efficiency.

  • Better Collaboration

    Continuous Delivery works on breaking down the silos between the various functions. Due to the transparent nature of your CI / CD pipelines, visibility is always prominent, and this leads to better collaboration among the teams for rapid delivery of software.

  • Increased Velocity

    Automated processes and delivery pipelines assist organizations to provide new features and software quickly to their clients, while responding to requirement changes and market fluctuations effectively. This helps organizations to stay afloat in the competitive market and improve their business.

  • Ensured Business Sustainability

    It is essential for organizations to stay consistent with their delivery speeds and quality. Well-structured pipelines can help organizations to meet their customers’ needs consistently and innovate better, leading to more business stability.

When Agile emerged, it had a very strong and disruptive impact on the software development industry. It made the fact clear that waterfall approaches can no longer be considered reliable, and it was now the time for a more collaborative and transparent framework to run your SDLC projects. However, when the challenges of Agile methodologies surfaced in respect to the problem of last mile, DevOps emerged as a robust solution. It ensured that organizations were still able to leverage the benefits of agile methodology while continuing to push the boundaries. DevOps then paved the way for Continuous Delivery to ensure that your software is always production ready thereby helping the Business decide when to go live!

Continuous Delivery makes it easier for organizations to focus on delivering value to your end-users. Agile is the beginning and Continuous Delivery is the end goal, and it is DevOps culture that bridges these two together. So, organizations must focus on extending their capabilities from ‘Doing Agile’ to ‘Being Agile’, so that they can achieve the best results possible.

Looking to extend your agile thinking and processes into DevOps and CD, drop us an email today - [email protected]. Our team of DevOps Experts would be happy to answer your queries and strategize your digital transformation roadmap.