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Agile, DevOps ... are they only a dream?

You can’t go to an application development conference these days without the terms Agile and DevOps being thrown around more than free t-shirts from vendors. But for all our talk about these prized development approaches and structures, how many of us actually implement Agile or DevOps in a way that helps development and isn’t just the waterfall approach with a fancy new title?

Such is the subject of senior TechTarget editor Valerie Silverthorne’s article on the state of Agile in 2017, where she questions industry analyst Jeffery Hammond about the state of Agile today. His outlook, it seems, isn’t so pleasant when it comes to how people are actually implementing Agile, saying that often teams get bogged down by focusing on “process purity” rather than the actual results — a practice that he think flies directly in the face of the Agile Manifesto. Hammond said that the conversations surrounding Agile are so focused on process that he can’t even stand going to Agile conferences anymore.

DevOps practitioners may fall into the same trap, though perhaps in a different way. Often you hear about companies implementing a “DevOps team” or hiring “a DevOps leader.” Both of those things run opposite of what DevOps is meant to be: an ecosystem of small, independent teams that can carry an app from concept through production as a single unit without having to throw anything to another team.

Maybe the truth is that ideas like Agile and DevOps are just too romantic for reality. For instance, how many letters can we add on to DevOps until it actually encompasses every phase of the application lifecycle? BizDevOps? DevSecOps? BizDevSecOps? And for Agile — is there really going to be a case where development teams are allowed to simply do “whatever it takes” to continuously deploy apps at a breakneck pace? Companies are bound to have rules, and rules mean procedures. It seems to me that most organizations aren’t quite ready to completely let developers off the leash, less they end up with a Mad Max-esque version of what used to be their software development department.

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know with your comments.