The Fundamental Difference between Agile ALM and DevOps

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The Fundamental Difference Between Agile ALM and DevOps

The idea of ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) was coined much before the appearance of DevOps. Dev + Ops is the result of the collaboration between the Development and the Operations teams in software engineering. Though both support Agile methodology still they are different on various grounds. In this article, we will explore those differences.

The basic concept of ALM and DevOps

ALM – The idea of ALM originated post the implementation of PLM in the 1980s. ALM is, in fact, the extended mode of managing the lifecycle of a software application. Whereas PLM is the mode of managing the life cycle of a product in the manufacturing industry. Some of the basic concepts of ALM are:

  • It was incorporated to streamline the software application according to the approach it followed, either Waterfall or Agile.
  • The implementation of ALM depends on the specific approach, it accelerates the mechanism but cannot change them.
  • It fits best in the Agile approach; it enhances and accelerates the efficiency of this approach.
  • It supports small iterative repetitive cycles that accelerates production.

DevOps – The birth of DevOps happened post-implementation of the Agile methodology and ALM. Hence, DevOps is an added member of the software management bandwagon. The concept of DevOps was initiated during 2009 and it kept on building from 2013 onwards. The basic concepts of DevOps are:

  • It was initiated to accelerate the Agile approach in software lifecycle management.
  • It is a culture that is practiced deploying software applications faster.
  • It can automate the build, testing and deployment process through Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.
  • It is incorporated for lesser time to market, lesser downtime and more organized software application production.

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Is DevOps a marketing trick? Or a solution for modern-day ALM?

If the customers are not aware of the emerging trends of software application; there is a high chance to get influenced by the gimmicks of the software industry. Many times, the vendors repackage and rebrand their old products by deliberate differentiation between the old and the new trends of software developments and marketing strategies. Many try to dismiss or demean ALM vendors putting them on the back seats calling them as old school.

Having in-depth knowledge about the product can save the customers from this misleading information helping them to get the right solution for their requirements. Some of the basic facts about ALM and DevOps that need to be kept in mind are:

  • ALM is a lifecycle tool that is implemented in the Agile methodology. Since ALM originated much before the advent of Agile it is not fair the dismiss the utility of ALM in Agile methodology.
  • DevOps is an offshoot of the Agile approach; hence it is not fair to declare DevOps is not suitable for ALM.
  • ALM was implemented much before DevOps but it can be integrated with DevOps this fact cannot be denied.
  • The bottom-line is ALM is essential for the implementation of DevOps, so DevOps is at the forefront and the backstage is managed by ALM.

The difference between Agile ALM and DevOps

There are many similarities and differences, but some of the core difference between ALM and DevOps are:

  • Although it is preached at times, but generally DevOps supports the Agile mode of approach it does not support the hybrid model of development yet. But some vendors claim otherwise and usually it is more of a gimmick than of reality. A customer must be aware of this trend. The modern Agile ALM, on the other hand, has similar features as it is a DevOps solution, but it supports all hybrid model development.
  • Usually, DevOps tools are area-specific, such as continuous integration or deployment specific tools which can be easily adapted by the small-scale businesses, on the other hand, ALM has some of these inbuilt features adaptable for the large-scale businesses, hence the requirement of DevOps is taken over by ALM.
  • A good example would be of ALM solution designed to implement a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). This application software is built along with the facility to accommodate the implementation of DevOps. Hence the supporting tools of this software is the same as for DevOps.


Both are used as per their requirements in the software industry. Each has some distinct features and facilities for different requirements. Some features are similar some are different. The features and benefits can compete, but they can never replace each other, each of them has its own distinct place in the software world.

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D Sarkar is a Technical Writer by profession, with a background in Comparative Literature and has been an English Language trainer. When she’s not working, she enjoys sketching, reading and cooking.

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