Agile vs DevOps: What's the Difference?

Agile and DevOps are two of the most popular SDLCs as of now. Typically, it is believed that the Agile methodology is all about the processes, while the DevOps approach is all about the technical practices.

While the aforementioned is true to a certain extent, it is an oversimplification of the bigger picture. There are several aspects that the two popular approaches to software development share. Nonetheless, there are also several distinctions amongst the two popular SDLC models.

Before diving deeper into the differences between the Agile and DevOps methodologies, let’s first get a brief understanding of the two entrants.



The DevOps methodology of software development focuses on collaboration, communication, and integration as well as enabling rapid deployment of products.

Specifically, the DevOps type of approach to software development focuses on promoting cooperation amongst the Development and Operations team.

The DevOps methodology enables faster production of code in an automated way, which, in turn, helps in increasing an organization’s speed for application and service delivery. That’s why DevOps interview questions involve a lot of automation-based queries.

There are a wide variety of popular DevOps tools that anyone interested in following the specific approach to software development must know about.

Compared to other SDLC models, DevOps is relatively new. This is evident by the fact that a unique definition for the term hasn’t been developed by the practitioners of DevOps methodology.



Basically, the Agile approach follows an iterative and incremental process to develop software. Such models can be traced back to as early as the late 60s. However, Agile methodology is an amalgamation of a decades-old formula and the latest, contemporary tools.

The Agile methodology involves a continuous iteration of development as well as testing during the entire SDLC process. This software development approach prioritizes iterative, incremental, and evolutionary development.

A software product made using the Agile methodology is divided into smaller units that are integrated for the final testing. There are a wide variety of ways, called processes, to implement an Agile methodology, most notably Kanban, Scrum, and XP.


Agile vs. DevOps


The Agile methodology offers a reduced development cycle and enhanced defect detection. The main advantages of following the DevOps approach is reduced complexity and continuous delivery.


Although automation can help in Agile development, the SDLC methodology doesn’t put an emphasis on the same. Because the DevOps methodology follows the principle of maximizing efficiency during software development, automation is an essential aspect.


The main challenge faced by the Agile methodology is to make the team involved more productive, which can be difficult at times. DevOps faces challenges in terms of streamlining work with development, production, and testing environments.


Out of all the processes available to the Agile approach, Scrum is the most popular. Following this process, meetings happen on a daily basis. Communication pertaining to DevOps includes specifications and design documents.

It is essential for the operations team involved in a DevOps approach to completely understand the software release as well as the hardware and network implications of the same for smoothening the deployment process.


Any member of an Agile team can perform any job. The team member is allowed to do anything that leads to progress in the development of the software product. Hence, there is an increased understanding and bonding amongst the team.

DevOps involves two teams, the development team, and the operations team. Although the approach focuses to amalgamate the two, different members have different functions to perform.


The Agile methodology is an iterative process that focuses on collaboration, customer feedback, and developing smaller, rapid releases. Contrarily, DevOps focuses on bringing development and operations teams as close as possible.


A working software product is prioritized over comprehensive documentation by the Agile methodology. As such, trying to handing over things to some other team for the deployment of a software product can impose serious problems.

Complete documentation is a must-have for the DevOps methodology. This is so because the deployment will be carried out by the operations team.

Although the involvement of automation can lessen the impact of inadequate documentation in a DevOps approach, comprehensive documentation is almost necessary for a complex project.


The entire Agile development is managed using units called sprints. Each sprint has typically a time period less than a month.

The DevOps methodology attempts to meet as many benchmarks and deadlines with major releases. The aim here is to deliver code for production on a daily basis or every few hours.


The Agile approach emphasizes on software development. Once the software is developed and released, the Agile team doesn’t have any association with it. DevOps emphasizes on developing as well as deploying the software in a reliable and secure manner.

Developing software is the most important aspect of Agile methodology. Compared to this, the DevOps approach gives equal importance to developing, testing, and implementation of the software product.


Feedback is an important part of any SDLC methodology. While the Agile methodology makes use of the customer feedback, the DevOps methodology relies on feedback given by the team involved.

Gap Addressed

The Agile methodology addresses the gap between customer requirements and the development and testing teams. The DevOps approach addresses the gap between the development and operations teams.


The Agile methodology is implemented using a number of tactical frameworks, such as safe, scrum, and sprint. As the main purpose of DevOps is a collaboration, it doesn’t have any generally accepted framework.


The main purpose of the Agile methodology is to enable managing bigger, complex projects. Managing the end-to-end engineering process is the primary intent of the DevOps methodology.


The Agile methodology can produce better applications as per the desired requirements. Moreover, it can easily adapt to new changes required.

Thanks to the role of automation and early bug removal, DevOps yields software products with enhanced quality. Developers involved with the DevOps approach follow Architectural and Coding best practices for maintaining quality standards.


The Agile process focuses on functional as well as non-functional readiness. The DevOps methodology, on the other hand, focuses on business and operational readiness.

Shift Left Practice

The Shift Left practice simply means moving tasks as early as possible in the software development lifecycle so as to find and prevent defects beforehand. Here, the left represents the early stages of a software lifecycle.

The Agile methodology strictly follows the shift-left principle i.e. doing early testing. On the other hand, the DevOps approach shifts both left and right.

Speed vs. Risk

Agile teams easily accommodate rapid changes and follow a robust application structure. Accommodating rapid changes in DevOps methodology is somewhat tricky. The involved team must ensure that the changes made must not develop over time and impose a risk for the entire project.

Targeted Areas

The Agile methodology targets software development, while the DevOps methodology targets end-to-end business solutions and faster delivery.


While DevOps aims at continuous testing and delivery, the Agile methodology aims at making continuous changes to the software under development.

Team Size and Training

Following the DevOps methodology, all required skills are divided between the development and operation teams. Contrary to this, the Agile process of software development emphasizes on training the entire team to have almost a similar skill set with almost an identical level of competence.

At its core, Agile focuses on having a smaller team for developing the product. Its philosophy is that the fewer people there are, the faster the process can be. In the DevOps approach, the involved team is much bigger than that of the Agile approach.

Tools Used

A variety of tools are used by both the Agile and DevOps approaches to software development. While Bugzilla, JIRA, and Kanboard are popular Agile tools, the DevOps personnel prefers AWS, Chef, Puppet, and TeamCity OpenStack tools.



The DevOps software development method focuses on communication, collaboration, and integration among the teams involved. The Agile method, on the other hand, focuses on an iterative, incremental, and evolutionary approach of software development.
The Agile approach is ideal when there is a higher degree of flexibility and responsiveness available. The DevOps methodology is ideal for projects that demand to bring the development and operations teams as close as possible.

The success of a software development project depends greatly on making the right SDLC methodology pick. Hope this article will help you choose the most appropriate SDLC approach for your software development project.

Are there some important differences that we’ve left? Or are there some errors? Please let us know about the same and your opinions on the Agile vs. DevOps topic via the dedicated comments window below.