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In mobile development and testing, Agile and DevOps are popular terms and a majority of mobile teams exercise either one of these ‘practices’. However, there are differences in how organizations have adopted both Agile and DevOps culture in their daily doings. Some may even see agile and DevOps similar manner.

We’ll take a look at how these two popular and well-adopted methodologies/cultures are different from the mobile testing point of view. For starters, I’d recommend reading the definition of mobile DevOps.

The new way of thinking Agile as part of the development flow can achieve various benefits for organizations to produce yet better and robust mobile apps and ensure the quality criteria during all phases of the development. If you are building an agile process or DevOps approach for your mobile team, download our Mobile DevOps Manifesto guide to learn how to do it step-by-step.

To build and manage operations efficiently and create those features that drive your app usage up and forward, plus provides great user experience, testing with continuous integration and delivery is the core of the process.


Mobile Development Methods

At the most simple definition, agile development and methods adhere to the principles stated in The Agile Manifesto. This is where individuals and their interactions are done over processes, tools and the method is driving the organizational behavior. This also includes various other interactions, such as the creation of documentation and facing with customers and following the plan. And as said, agile methodology and its practices have been adopted differently by organizations and teams.

The DevOps and especially Mobile DevOps is a newer term, used to describe how two different roles, do come together and change and improve doings through better communication and collaboration.



This is one way to look at Mobile DevOps from an organizational point of view. Another is to look at how Mobile DevOps can bring a process change and how organizations can achieve a better level of integration with their DevOps tools and processes.

When comparing the communication between agile methodology and DevOps, the agile way of doing thing includes more scrum meetings, daily habits where everyone is kept on the same page. On the other hand, Mobile DevOps strives to involve more specifications and documents where practices, checkups and operational instructions are presented. Regardless of which methodology or culture we’re looking the process goes the same way:


And there is a distinctive difference to the Waterfall process as the process is iterative in each of its steps. Each and every sprint and the operational procedure goes through these steps. This is where DevOps practice or culture has its strengths compared to strictly siloed and separated groups of doers.

Even with the agile methodology in use, each step in the Mobile DevOps must be carefully evaluated and measured for efficiency and effectiveness. That eventually makes the process more productive, delivers value, and maximizing critical business advantages. If the process is too slow some things can be boosted up, paced up and even eliminated if those do not have any impact on the results. Mobile test automation can really help in enabling continuous, frequent and instant releases that can be then quickly integrated, deployed and testing in automation context, and in a timely manner.

Agile vs. DevOps in Mobile App Testing

To gain benefits from adopted agile and DevOps practices in your organization, it’s always recommended to include testing as part of the process. Testing – and using test automation – as part of the sprint and daily even after every build, the problems arising from your mobile app can be quickly spotted, communicated back to engineering and quickly fixed. In addition, the recommended process for getting application thoroughly tested and verified in the real environment – not only on real devices but real user conditions (network, physical environment) mobile monitoring can be used as part of the process.


Testing in agile typically means that tests and test scripts with automation are executed as often as possible. With Mobile DevOps, this typically means that continuous integration is utilized for helping to get this done, in an automated and timely manner, with continuous testing.

The level of automation is varies based on the organization’s habits and adopted processes and tools. For instance, the agile practice encourages to test as much as possible, but in mobile DevOps, the testing is always seen as automated and tests are running against each and every build produced from the build system and continuous integration. The philosophy behind Mobile DevOps testing is that everything should be automated and that’s probably the most significant difference between these two.

Also, when looking at what tools are used in each practice, there is not that much difference. Continuous integration, delivery and deployment are seen slightly differently, as an agile practice only considers used CI system as a step forward, advancement, but in mobile DevOps culture, it is absolutely a must for organizations to achieve full automation and seamless workflow.

The major difference is also when both practices approach the builds. In a common agile process, every sprint ends with an app that should be deployable and used by the end-users. As we all know this isn’t always the case, but in theory, each sprint should produce significant increment to the product. The Mobile DevOps approaches this with even more strict policy; every build should be deployable and able to be used by the end-users.

Finally, as the automation is praised and highlighted within both approaches, the scalability and parallelism are critical as it brings the real dimension to scale up the test automation, runs the built app on any number of devices, gets instant feedback of performance, behavior and the status of the app.

On how many devices is your application tested during the development process? Let us know in the comment section below!

Ville-Veikko Helppi

Mobile Testing Product Expert