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Jonathan Hall
Jonathan Hall

Posted on • Originally published at jhall.io on

Scrum vs DevOps

I frequently encounter people wondering how Scrum and DevOps relate to each other. Or as it was recently put to me:

Is DevOps better than Scrum?

I like to answer this question with the aid of this popular DevOps worfklow diagram:

This shows seven distinct activities in the DevOps lifecycle, and how they relate to two broad roals: Development, and Operations.

  1. Plan
  2. Create
  3. Verify
  4. Package
  5. Release
  6. Configuration
  7. Monitor

Scrum, in contrast, defines the relationship between the business (personified by the Product Owner), and the development team, and provides 5 key activites:

  1. Product backlog refinement
  2. Sprint planning
  3. Daily Scrum
  4. Sprint review
  5. Sprint retrospective

When we consider these activity lists side by side, the only direct overlap is in the planning activity ( Plan from DevOps, and Backlog refinement and sprint planning from Scrum).

There is also some small overlap between Scrum’s Sprint review and the DevOps Verify activity, but Verify includes much more, such as unit and integration tests, and possibly even code review, and security audits.

I hope it’s clear here that Scrum and DevOps are quite distinct, so asking which is better isn’t really the right question. In fact they can work very well together. And while DevOps can be successful without Scrum, I would go so far as to say that Scrum actually needs DevOps to be completely successful for software projects.

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