Differences between Agile, DevOps, and CI/CD are important to know and understand for any software tester, amateur, or expert. 

Agile, now referred to by some of its manifesto authors as agility, is focused on removing process barriers and enabling the key stakeholders, folks like developers and customers, to collaborate more closely on accelerating delivery. 

The term “DevOps” was coined in 2005 by Gene Kim and Paul Duvall, who were then employed by ThoughtWorks.

The word DevOps means combining developer operations—the processes involved in developing applications for release into production environments—with Ops or operations management. It refers to an approach to application development that includes continuous integration, automated testing, and deployment.

Read: DevOps Basics

If Agile is a mindset, DevOps is a culture, and CI/CD is a set of tools that glues agility with DevOps practices. 

Let us understand in more detail the terms involved and tie up everything together. 

What is Agile in Software Development?

In software development, the term agile refers to a set of frameworks and practices that follow the principles in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. 

Agile is the ability to create and respond to change while dealing with and ultimately succeeding in an uncertain environment.

It is important to note that Agile software development is more than practices such as pair programming, test-driven development, stand-ups, planning sessions, and sprints.

Some frameworks that embrace Agile are ScrumSafeLeSS, Extreme Programming, or Feature-Driven Development (FDD). 

All Agile frameworks support principles expressed in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the 12 Principles behind it.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a collaboration between Development and IT Operations to make software production and deployment in an automated and repeatable way. 

DevOps culture focuses on creating efficiency for all stakeholders involved in software development, deployment, and maintenance. 

DevOps helps to increase the organization’s speed in delivering software applications and services. It allows organizations to serve their customers better and compete more strongly in the market. After all, time to market is the key to success. Some organizations have a separate DevOps team, but it is always recommended to integrate them as part of your regular sprint development teams. 

What is Continuous Integration?

CI or Continuous Integration is an engineering practice in which members of a development team integrate their code at a very high frequency at regular intervals. The main goal of continuous integration (CI) is to create a consistent way to build and test applications automatically. It ensures that a change from one developer is suitable for use by the entire organization. Today, you can integrate your build pipelines with tools to scan your code for security vulnerabilities, scan code for coding best practices, thus enabling the developers to have more quality production deployments. 

What is Continuous Delivery?

CD or Continuous Delivery is the practice of ensuring that code is always in a deployable state. Continuous delivery (CD) is to packaging and deployment what CI is to build and test. Teams practicing CD can build, configure, and package software and orchestrate its deployment in such a way that it can be released to production in a software-defined manner (low cost, high automation) at any time. 

What is Continuous Deployment?

CD can also mean Continuous Deployment – a practice in which all changes are automatically deployed into production. CD refers to the delivery phase of a program or application. 

During CD, engineers deploy their work to production environments. This process involves packaging the final product, deploying it to servers, configuring settings, and so forth. Once deployed, users start using the app. Engineers then monitor how well the system performs and make any necessary adjustments before moving on to the next iteration.

What is CI/CD in DevOps? And how are they related to Agile?

Imagine the scenario where teams follow Agile Development (Scrum, Kanban, XP, etc) methodology to install code into the production environment at regular intervals, without breaking a sweat.

Sounds interesting, right!!

DevOps combined both Agile and CI/CD methodologies to create a streamlined approach to rapid delivery of working software. This combination allowed for better communication across departments and enabled teams to collaborate more easily. These ingredients when combined enabled both engineers and operations teams to work in alignment across the entire software development lifecycle – from coding to continuous testing to deployment. The result is a reduction in delays and bottlenecks, allowing businesses to release higher software volumes more frequently than ever before. No longer do you have to do manual software testing or user acceptance testing; everything is automated right into your development pipeline through automation tools. It also leads to better customer satisfaction and increased value delivery. 

What are some of the top CI/CD tools used in DevOps?

Below are some of the top CI/CD tools used as part of DevOps, used by software companies all around the globe to improve the velocity of their agile development cycle: 

Jenkins – Jenkins is a free and open-source automation server. It helps automate the parts of software development related to building, testing, and deploying, facilitating continuous integration and continuous delivery. It is a server-based system that runs in servlet containers such as Apache Tomcat. 

Jenkins X for Kubernetes – It is built on the open-source Tekton project, leveraging its framework for flexible, portable CI/CD systems. It helps automate the parts of software development related to building, testing, and deploying, facilitating continuous integration and continuous delivery. It is important to note that you do not need Jenkins to run Jenkins X, which means increased adoption, especially for teams that work with a Git and Kubernetes stack.

GitLab – GitLab’s core product is a web-based Git repository manager with features such as issue tracking, analytics, and a Wiki. GitLab allows you to trigger builds, run tests, and deploy code with each commit or push. Development teams can build jobs in a virtual machine, Docker container, or on another server.

CircleCI – CircleCI is a CI/CD tool that supports rapid software development and publishing. CircleCI allows automation across the user’s pipeline, from code building, testing to deployment. 

Agile teams can integrate CircleCI with GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, and Bitbucket to create builds when new code lines are committed. CircleCI also hosts continuous integration under the cloud-managed option or runs behind a firewall on private infrastructure.

TeamCity – TeamCity is a JetBrains build management and continuous integration server. It is a general-purpose CI/CD solution that allows the most flexibility for all sorts of workflows and development practices. TeamCity runs in a Java environment and integrates with Visual Studio and all popular IDEs. The tool can be installed on both Windows and Linux servers, supports .NET and open-stack projects.

Buddy –  Buddy is a web-based CI/CD software that can be used to build, test and deploy websites and applications with code from GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab. It employs Docker containers with pre-installed languages and frameworks to build on, along with DevOps, monitoring and notifying actions.

Bamboo –  Bamboo is a continuous integration server that automates the management of software application releases, thus creating a continuous delivery pipeline. Bamboo covers building and functional testing, assigning versions, tagging releases, deploying and activating new versions on production. Bamboo, Bitbucket, and Jira Software can be fully integrated and giving developers full traceability from the time a feature request is made all the way to deployment.

The introduction of automation reduces the time to market, feedback loops are effective, making companies even more profitable. So, there you have it. Agile, CI/CD, and DevOps are all related to each other. If Agile is the foundation, CI/CD and DevOps are the pillars to an iterative development execution style to add value to any software.

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Author: Haman Sharma is a technology enthusiast, and a problem solver. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.