Differences Between Dev-Ops & Systems Teams In Agile Agile / Business / Scrum / The Guardian Podcast

Differences Between Dev-Ops & Systems Teams In Agile. Ryn “The Guardian” Melberg describes and allows listeners the opportunity to understand and appreciate the separate value and benefits that Development Operations (dev-ops) and systems teams each deliver to those who use and follow the Agile methodology, on her weekly podcast. The Guardian Podcast can be heard on Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/harold-nicoll) iTunes or on her web site at www.rynmelberg.com. While quite specialized it is the only podcast of its type available anywhere.Software-Development-1

Development Operations

Development Operations or dev-ops as it is known, fits in the Agile process by taking what the team creates and moving it to the production phase, where programs are ready for final assembly. Dev-ops makes the last push to get software into production. Those working in dev-ops are often a very specialized group of people. They seek to implement common quality standards across many teams. They are the people who make the last push to get code into production. To borrow an example from the auto manufacturing industry, it is the move from design to the assembly line, though instead of cars, programs are produced. The dev-ops team also helps to make decisions about which tools are used, but with input from the rest of the team. “Dev-ops is as much about those specialized people as it is anything,” Ryn said. “Dev-ops will allow very creative work done in what few may see as a creative enterprise; writing code.”

The Systems Team

Members of the systems team work on the front end of the operation. Integral in the process, the members help to “stitch” work from different parts of the team together and help to fully integrate code routinely. Help them establish practices that are consistent. “The systems team contributes to testing and continuous integration,” Ryn said. “There is sometimes overlap between the dev-ops and systems team and in smaller organizations they are the same people.”

The New Dev-Ops Movement

Devops is a relatively new concept that combines or borrows from Agile system operations or Agile operations. Dev-ops as a concept comes from lean. “The advent of dev-ops was a reaction to the need to do continuous improvement,” Ryn said. “Dev-ops makes it possible to replace a number of other practices like release train and other bureaucracy to continuous deployment.”

Dev-ops evolved from operations and development engineers who worked together through the entire lifecycle of a project. In this way dev-ops can extend Agile principles from merely code to the entire delivered service. Dev-ops can cover a lot of ground.

How Dev-Ops Fits Agile Process

Dev-ops was created to meet new and changing framework needs. Dev-ops is generally only used in organizations that use some kind of scaled process, or SAFe. “When code goes to dev-ops it is production ready,” Ryn said. “If the Agile teams are not knitted together, this is not possible.” Ryn went on to say that dev-ops need not become a separate methodology as some suggest, because it leverages and fits the values in the Agile manifesto.

When asked if it was possible to credibly make the case that the systems team was no longer needed, and that dev-ops is the new and better way to operate, Ryn responded. “To combine all of this into just dev-ops is asking too much for dev-ops alone,” she said. She allowed that there were exceptions that were dependent on the size of the organization and how the work got planned. “We have a limit on how much individuals can do really well,” she said. “So by trying to combine dev-ops and systems can cause missed time to market goals or missed quality goals because too much was demanded of the same people. There are very few organizations that are willing to miss both time to market and quality goals in the name of combining teams and functions.”


Making these distinctions is beyond organizational hair splitting. Members of the Agile community can benefit from the strengths of dev-ops and the systems team without overstressing either.

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