DevOps or Agile? Actually both! The right way to digital transformation

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In today’s tech-driven business landscape, businesses need to adopt practices, paradigms, and technologies to remain relevant and stay competitive. Digital transformation has become the mantra for everyone to achieve outcomes like improved customer experience, faster time to market, better quality products or services, higher productivity, reduced costs, and higher ROI. Thus, digital transformation services employing paradigms like Agile and DevOps are much sought-after by businesses to have a successful journey. These help companies to stay up the competition curve through better collaboration and improvement in customer experience.

With the adoption of a digital transformation framework, the divide between development and QA on one side and operations on the other has blurred. In fact, methodologies like Agile and DevOps have helped developers and QA specialists in unravelling dependencies. However, the speed of Agile or DevOps adoption across domains has remained a work in progress. This has led businesses to lose out on delivering higher customer satisfaction, revenue, and profits.

So, the question arises as to why organizations across domains are shying away from adopting Agile and DevOps in their pursuit of digital business transformation. The answer can be found in the raft of challenges that organizations often face. These include lack of skills, leadership, investments, vision, and collaborative culture. Thus, embracing digital transformation services is not only about possessing new skills and working patterns but of changing the mindset and behavior – yes, at the leadership level as well. The top factors guiding organizations to adopt Agile and DevOps are:

  • Setting up a collaborative culture among stakeholders spread across departments
  • Obtaining the backing of management at all levels
  • Training people and leveraging resources
  • Managing the pressures of time to allow teams in implementing these practices

When the entire discussion focuses on Agile and DevOps, let us first understand what they are all about and which of the two can have a better impact in forming an effective digital transformation strategy.

Agile vs DevOps

Firstly, the focus on Agile or DevOps came about since the traditional method of software development was found to be inadequate in terms of achieving speed and foolproof quality. This is due to the fact that in the traditional waterfall model of software development, QA or testing comes after development. Also, since executing QA in such a model is through manual means, the scope of testing is greatly reduced. Moreover, the chances of identifying glitches in copious lines of codes are reduced significantly with repetitive testing taking a toll on the manual efforts.

To overcome the inherent inadequacies of the traditional waterfall model, businesses have embraced the Agile model of development and testing. In Agile testing, the development and QA teams work in close coordination by employing a structure called the ‘sprint.’ Here, once a code is developed, the same is passed on to the QA team for testing. If the testing team finds any quality issues it sends the code back to the development team within the sprint. In this simultaneous exchange of codes, no untested code is passed ahead in the SDLC.

This ensures a better quality of products and their quick delivery to the end-users. Thus, Agile focuses on an incremental and iterative method of development wherein a product comprising smaller pieces is integrated. Agile happens to be the outcome of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, released in 2001. It emphasizes on a more adaptive, collaborative, and code-centered approach to software development. It is underpinned on strategies such as –

  • Prioritizing individuals over tools and processes
  • Working software over documentation
  • Customer interaction over contract execution
  • Responding to feedback or change over following the dotted line of a plan
  • Communicating with business stakeholders, soliciting frequent feedback, and addressing quality issues in every sprint
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If Agile testing is an improvement over the waterfall model of software development and testing, DevOps testing goes a step further. It enables an effective digital transformation implementation by connecting multi-skilled and cross-functional teams in a collaborative environment. DevOps envelops processes and business stakeholders such as development, QA, operations, and security across the SDLC and beyond. It focuses on outcomes like continuous testing, integration, and delivery of quality software by utilizing automation.

As a combination of Development and Operations, DevOps offers powerful features to guide any digital transformation implementation. It allows cross-functional teams to collaborate and achieve the business goals. DevOps is underpinned on pillars like Continuous Development, Testing, and Integration and enables the quick delivery of software applications that are qualitatively superior, stable, functionally rich, and secure.

DevOps came into the picture as organizations felt that refining the development process alone is not sufficient to achieve digital transformation. What is truly needed is a comprehensive development-testing-delivery method where customer feedback is addressed quickly. Since the features of any software are not cast in stone but require upgradation periodically in the changing market dynamics, security considerations, and customer preferences, the software should undergo continuous development, testing, and integration. As a part of the digital transformation strategy, DevOps testing follows these best practices.

1. Implement automation whenever/wherever needed to keep the CI/CD pipeline running without much human intervention. It helps to cut costs, turnaround time, and room for error.
2. Include security into the equation in the form of DevSecOps and make everyone accountable to mitigate security related risks and follow strict security protocols.
3. Taking customer feedback, analyzing, and addressing it to enhance the quality of deliverables.

Conclusion

Whether it is Agile or DevOps, both bring in the necessary wherewithal to enhance the process of software development, testing, and delivery. In the era of intense business competition, going the online way by upgrading the legacy systems and incorporating the latest procedures, technologies, and tools is needed to stay competitive and deliver the best customer experience.

Agile and DevOps are not mutually exclusive but part of the software development, testing, and delivery processes to enhance the quality of software. The two methodologies are important pillars in enabling digital transformation.

See more Agile Testing Resources on EuroSTAR Huddle

About the Author

Hemanth

Hemanth Kumar Yamjala has 10+ years of experience in IT Services, predominantly Marketing, Branding, specializing in Digital. Currently a part of the marketing for Cigniti Technologies with functions such as leveraging digital marketing channels for lead generation and promotion.
Find out more about @hemanth-yamjala

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