DevOps is a methodology that uses a structured approach to tools and practices in both software development and IT. The process involves integrating and automating workflows for various roles within an organization. When implemented effectively, DevOps leads to products that are developed and improved at a faster and more consistent rate than traditional practices.
At its core, DevOps is a culture that breaks down silos between development and operations to increase collaboration. This requires buy-in and participation from the entire organization, including product management, development, quality assurance, operations and security. The objective behind DevOps is to derive highly efficient, stable and reliable products that are supported with regular updates.
While there are many different DevOps frameworks, methodologies and approaches — including Scrum, Kanban and Lean development — many principles are the same, including:
Adopting DevOps can play a large role in creating better products during software development. Teams can be better at resolving issues, making enhancements and adding new capabilities due to the feedback loops and rapid delivery rates. Additionally, the reliability of the software can increase due to less failure rates because issues are addressed quickly.
This unified approach around listening to feedback and making the right changes fast is why many organizations pursue DevOps. However, the large amount of coordination can be a challenge, which is why many organizations work with a partner to support their adoption or optimize their existing processes.
Sometimes referred to as Agile applied beyond the software team, DevOps evolved from the recognition that many of the same principles established to improve the software development process could also be applied to the entire product value stream. The goal of DevOps is to streamline and manage engineering processes from end-to-end, enabling IT teams to accelerate time to market with high quality and reliability.
Because DevOps encompasses the value stream holistically, it involves a wide range of skills across software development and IT operations, including everyone involved in taking a feature from a mere idea to production deployment. By unifying people, processes, technology and culture to create multidisciplinary teams, DevOps helps organizations improve communication and collaboration, reduce time-consuming handoffs between silos and enable greater focus on constant testing and delivery.
To accomplish these goals DevOps not only embraces many Lean and Agile principles, but also provides many of the complementary practices needed to resolve technical and process challenges related to rapid delivery. Bringing together all teams within the value stream with an emphasis on collaboration, automation and testing allows organizations to better support the fast, frequent, high-quality releases that Agile strives for.
The underlying values and cultural shifts associated with both Agile and DevOps offer a new way of thinking about, and addressing the challenges of, uncertainty and ongoing change. When applied in tandem, these approaches yield greater visibility and alignment, faster time to market, higher quality and ultimately greater value for the business.
Agile and DevOps empower teams to maintain focus on their next-best product investment. They provide a framework for optimizing organizational structures, processes and tools to enable sustainable flow of value. These approaches also help to remove or integrate silos to support common goals, creating greater clarity in decision-making responsibilities, and involvement in key domains.
Teams that successfully adopt both Agile and DevOps are able to deploy features to production faster, more frequently, with higher quality and less effort and at a significantly lower cost.