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    DevOps vs. Agile: Differences Developers Should Know

    By The Fullstack Academy Team

    A project manager reviews an agile framework board on a monitor.

    DevOps and agile are two approaches to solving problems and improving communication and collaboration in software development projects. Before selecting an approach, developers should know the differences between the two. An investigation of DevOps vs. agile enables developers to identify which approach best fits their organizational objectives.

    A historical review of DevOps vs. agile reveals that agile methodology came first, and was widely adopted in the 2000s by software development teams. However, agile mainly focused on development, which left those responsible for deploying and managing software products―operations teams—out of the loop. The DevOps approach was created in 2009 to help ensure development and operations teams work together.

    While a comparison of DevOps vs. agile highlights differences, it also reveals similarities. For example, the primary aim of both agile and DevOps is to accelerate software development—all while ensuring quality is not compromised. Both approaches can coexist, or developers can use one method to complement the other to optimize the software development process. (For example, the agile framework allows for rapid changes to evolving requirements, while DevOps enables frequent releases through automation and integration.) As a result, a combination of the two may work best for certain projects.

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    What Is DevOps?

    DevOps (Development Operations) is a set of practices that automate steps, improve communication, and encourage teamwork throughout the software lifecycle. This approach is designed to bridge the gap between development and operations teams—helping companies and organizations deliver high-quality software, adapt to changing needs, and ultimately, keep their customers happy. A survey from Redgate Software shows that nearly 75% of organizations are embracing DevOps as of 2021, which highlights its growing importance in today's software development landscape.

    While fostering a collaborative environment across development and operations teams is the core principle of DevOps, the approach also aims to achieve the following:

    • Accountability. Both development and operations teams are accountable for the software application from beginning to end.

    • Continuous improvement. Automating all the necessary steps for making changes and streamlining processes to achieve high performance, lower costs, and accelerated delivery allows for continuous improvement.

    • Focus on the customer. Teams remain flexible to meet ever-changing consumer demands, and when necessary, pivot to a strategy that helps ensure customer satisfaction.

    What Is Agile?

    Agile is an iterative project management approach originally designed to support software development. Agile breaks down projects into small, manageable tasks (or a series of tasks) called sprints. This allows teams to constantly gather feedback, make adjustments, and deliver working features quickly.

    The agile methodology became popular in the 2000s because it helped overcome the challenges of the most common development process of that era: the waterfall method, which focused first on documentation and strict procedures. Agile freed developers to focus more on collaboration and enabled them to better adjust to changing requirements and scenarios as is typical in software development.

    A key characteristic of agile is that it consists of small teams that can respond to changes quickly. Additional traits of agile include:

    • Agility. In agile development environments, teams are prepared to address needed changes at any time without slowing down progress.

    • Customer feedback. Regular communication and collaboration with the customer help to create a continuous feedback loop to ensure customer requirements are met by the final product.

    • Use of frameworks. Common frameworks used in agile include Scrum, a project management framework, and Kanban, a workflow management approach. With Scrum, teams set sprints and intervals that enable the quick integration of customer feedback into processes. Kanban allows development teams to visualize their work and identify opportunities to improve workflows.

    • Limited dependence on documentation. While documentation is still present, it isn’t of primary importance; spending too much time on it can limit an organization’s ability to deliver software, the primary purpose of agile software development.

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    Similarities Between Agile and DevOps

    While DevOps and agile might seem like separate entities, they share a core philosophy – a focus on delivering high-quality software quickly and efficiently. Here are the similarities between Agile and DevOps:

    • Collaborating Effectively: Both agile and DevOps prioritize breaking down silos and fostering teamwork. Agile requires that developers, designers, and testers work together—in their own teams, then cross-functionally. DevOps extends this collaboration by integrating operations teams into the development process from the very beginning.

    • Embracing Change and Feedback: Agile and DevOps are built for flexibility. Agile development cycles allow for continuous adaptation based on feedback. DevOps practices automate processes and encourage rapid testing and deployment, making it easier to incorporate thoughtful changes throughout the development lifecycle.

    • Delivering Value Faster: Both methodologies prioritize delivering value to the customer or user. Agile emphasizes building features that meet immediate needs in short iterations. DevOps complements this by ensuring these features are delivered quickly and reliably.

    • Fostering Continuous Improvement: Both agile and DevOps are all about getting better all the time. Agile uses retrospectives to identify areas for improvement in each development cycle. DevOps expands on this by automating processes and streamlining workflows for increased efficiency.

    DevOps vs. Agile Practices

    While agile and DevOps share some core values, they have distinct areas of focus within the software development lifecycle. Here's a table summarizing the key differences between DevOps and agile:




    Focus Area

    Managing software development through user stories and iterative sprints, prioritizing working software and customer feedback

    Bridges the gap between development and operations teams, emphasizing collaboration and streamlining the software delivery pipeline through automation (Continuous Integration and Continuous Development, or CI/CD)

    Team Goal

    Development team & customer collaboration

    Development, operations, & security teams Collaboration


    Iterative & incremental development cycles

    Automation & streamlined processes to facilitate faster change implementation

    Key Principles

    Iterative development, customer collaboration, continuous feedback

    Automation, collaboration between development & operations, continuous integration & delivery (CI/CD)


    Working software features in short sprints

    Reliable, secure, and frequently deployed software versions

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    How Do Agile and DevOps Work Together

    While agile streamlines effective software development processes, DevOps optimizes its delivery. Together, they bridge the gap between project planning, development, and operations, creating a seamless workflow.

    Agile's iterative cycles and DevOps' emphasis on continuous delivery (CI/CD) work together to enable rapid feedback loops. And because clear communication is key to success in either approach, agile ceremonies (standups, meetings, etc.) facilitate constant collaboration across all teams.

    Why Implement Agile and DevOps Methodologies Together

    Implementing agile and DevOps together is a recipe for software development success. While the development team churns out high-quality features quickly and efficiently with agile, operations is able to handle deployments with DevOps—creating a seamless, consistent user experience at all times.

    Here's why implementing agile and DevOps methodologies together can be beneficial for software development:

    • Faster Delivery and Happier Customers: Agile's collaborative, iterative approach to project tasks and DevOps' automation (CI/CD) of those tasks lead to healthy feedback loops and quicker feature implementation. This allows you to adapt to changing needs and deliver high-quality features that keep your customers happy.

    • Improved Quality and Fewer Errors: DevOps' focus on automation and continuous testing leads to fewer bugs and higher-quality software. This translates to a smoother user experience and reduced maintenance costs down the line.

    • Increased Efficiency and Reduced Costs: By automating repetitive tasks and breaking down silos, agile and DevOps free up development teams’ valuable time and streamline workflows. This translates to increased efficiency and cost savings.

    • Greater Adaptability: Agile's flexibility allows for embracing change, while DevOps automates processes for faster implementation. This adaptability is crucial in today's ever-evolving tech landscape.

    By combining these powerful methodologies together, you create a dynamic development environment that delivers high-quality software faster, keeps your customers happy, and positions your business for long-term success.

    DevOps vs. Agile: Salary and Job Growth

    For individuals weighing DevOps vs. agile for their career, it’s worth considering the data about salaries and job growth.

    DevOps engineers earn a median annual salary of $139,962 as of June 2024, according to Glassdoor, and the number of jobs is projected to grow 25.5% between 2022 and 2032, according to Burning Glass.

    Glassdoor reports that agile project managers had a median annual salary of about $162,137 as of June 2024. Jobs for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers (which covers agile developers) are expected to increase by 22% between 2020 and 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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    The Future Looks Bright for Both DevOps and Agile Developers

    With the rapid pace of technological advancements and the need to meet the evolving demands of knowledge customers, development teams are always looking to find innovative approaches to solving problems and achieving business objectives such as lower costs and faster customer deliveries.

    Are you looking to take the first step toward a thriving career in DevOps or agile software development? Fullstack Academy’s online bootcamps expose students to an immersive environment that enables students to learn the key skills necessary to enhance their careers and make an impact.

    Learn how Fullstack Academy's Coding bootcamps can prepare you to succeed in your tech career.

    Recommended Readings

    3 Common Barriers to a Successful Career Change—and How to Work Through Them

    A Day in the Life of a Remote Fullstack Cyber Student

    How to Create an Eye-Catching Fullstack Developer Resume


    Atlassian, “Agile vs. DevOps”

    BizTech, “DevOps vs. Agile Development: What Methodology Is Right for You?”

    CMSWire, “7 Key Principles for a Successful DevOps Culture”

    Guru99, “Agile vs. DevOps: What’s The Difference?”

    InfoWorld, “What Is Agile Methodology? Modern Software Development Explained”

    Glassdoor, Average Agile Project Manager Salary

    Glassdoor, Average Development Operations (DevOps) Engineer Salary

    PhoenixNAP, “DevOps vs Agile: Differences + Head to Head Comparison”

    Redgate Software, “The 2021 State of Database DevOps”

    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers

    Make Your Move.

    Take the first step in your journey by submitting an application to one of Fullstack Academy's immersive bootcamps.