Scaling Product Development From Agile To DevOps

Software development is changing at a breakneck pace. If you don’t keep up, you are not really in the game. This is exactly why Agile is so widely popular and accepted by software developers- to catch up with the changes and customer demands as and when they come. While the Agile methodology focuses on adapting to changes via a continuous iteration of product development, DevOps focuses on collaboration and management of the end-to-end engineering processes. The DevOps market is estimated to grow from USD 2.9 billion in 2017 to USD 6.6 billion in 2022. That probably tells us that if you haven’t transitioned to DevOps yet, it is high time you do! 

According to a survey, 97% of the organizations today practice the Agile methodology and around 90% say that DevOps transformation is on their agenda. In this article, let us discuss how to transition successfully from Agile to DevOps.

Why DevOps

Often, organizations fail to understand the difference between Agile and DevOps and rely heavily on an ‘Agile-only’ approach to improve their deployment process. And while adopting the Agile culture- with regular scrums and standups, gathering continuous user feedback, and driving a working system independent of rigid documentation is great, it may not always be enough. 

The Agile journey is most commonly cut short after the product is released. But what about business results? After investing heavily in nurturing cross-functional teams and tactical frameworks like a sprint, SAFe, and Scrum, Agile only ends up focusing on the software development part. 

To actualize the merits of Agile- shorter SDLC, fewer bugs while offering efficiency across development, testing, operations, and implementations, DevOps could be the answer.

Scaling Product Development From Agile To DevOps: How to go about it

  • Move from manual to automated processes

Agile’s focal point isn’t automation and this is exactly where DevOps is different. DevOps supports the Agile release cycle for quality while replacing anything that is manual. Hence, when you are scaling from Agile to DevOps, be ready to automate every process within or outside of the software development confines. From manual testing to deployment, manual handoffs to manually answering customer queries, start off by replacing the manual (and latency-laden) processes with automation.

  • Cater to the slowest parts of the pipeline

To speed up the end-to-end engineering processes, it is critical to understand the bottlenecks in the flow of development and release. DevOps’ fascination with automation comes handy here and you should leverage it to automate the processes that have maximum choke ups. Sometimes, the slowest parts of the pipeline are human-dependent, and here’s where DevOps’ extensive process documentation for smooth knowledge transfer and proactive collaboration can be implemented for opening up the clogged elements in your pipeline.

  • Opt for automation testing

This is obvious, but important enough to stress upon. Automation is important in Agile but not mandatory, whereas for DevOps, it is the primary goal. DevOps focuses on continuous testing, often known as test-driven development and delivery. It is important to understand that you have to opt for end-to-end automated testing, right from UI, to unit, acceptance, and regression, to achieve 100% code coverage via automation. This helps in addressing the gaps between development, testing, and operations. 

It is recommended to standardize the testing environment, automating pre-testing tasks, cleanups, and post-testing tasks to ensure it is aligned with continuous integration.

  • Avoid rework by initiating quality control from the start

DevOps stresses on automation and early bug removal to ensure quality control from the beginning of the development process. And this is a cultural change, in retrospect. If you want to successfully scale product development from Agile to DevOps, your developers need to adhere to coding and architectural best practices that are critical to maintaining quality standards. DevOps strikes the right balance between speed and risk and hence the DevOps teams should ensure that architectural changes do not create risks to the entire project. Daily production and delivery using DevOps further help in avoiding rework of large code pieces.

  • CI and CD

Continuous integration, continuous delivery, in fact, continuous everything is the soul of DevOps. DevOps helps in accelerated processes without going haywire. The continuous customer/user feedback generation and continuous integration of the same in the product helps the developers to understand what the customers actually want. This can help in determining, shortlisting, and building the features and capabilities that customers would actually end up using. Continuous monitoring of customer feedback is essentially what holds it all together and the reward is improved customer satisfaction!

  • Track the right metrics

Any scaling activity is only as good as the numbers it delivers. But it is critical to track the right metrics for understanding the status, success, or failure of any implementation. This also provides room for further improvement. Instead of sticking to the typical metrics such as the number of lines of codes, the number of bugs or percentage of completion, focus on tracking the lead time, the frequency of deployment, and the time taken for redemption, that is, correcting the bugs. 

Ultimately, do not forget to track and evaluate metrics such as business value, simplicity, end-to-end implementation of the requirement, and customer acceptance.

  • Get started…

Scaling Product Development From Agile To DevOps, can seem overwhelming. But just like the change from conventional waterfall-dominated processes to full-blown Agile acceptance, it can be executed with the help of expert stakeholders and the right partnerships with domain experts.

1 Comment

  • Katelin Wekenborg

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