Understanding DevOps Excitement in the Federal Space

“For unto us a savior is born, and its name shall be called DevOps.”  – Hal  chapter 9k, verse 1

With a focus on automation, DevOps is taking the leadership of federal government by storm.  Most agencies at a bare minimum are investigating its potential, while many are gearing up for a DevOps push. With some very high profile successes in the federal space,  everyone from vendors to contractors are gearing up to bring DevOps to the federal IT infrastructure.

Federal Agencies love the idea of DevOps because it holds the promise of an efficient lean IT which has eluded many agencies.  Couple that desire with a workforce full of baby boomers retiring right and left, there has never been a better time to force change which is necessary for survival.

And what’s not to like about DevOps?  It’s modern. It’s trendy. It’s cool.    Paired with a set of enabling technologies and processes that help our IT become more nimble and agile, DevOps promises to bring down the walls of silos while providing mechanisms to ensure that the product released is of high quality.

DevOps means many things, but its not the Savior

With all the fervor and hype out there about DevOps, you would think we are witnessing the Messiah being born.   But, one needs to recognize hype when they see it, especially when something is trendy and used to generate sales.  So let me clear the air here, and unequivocally state: DevOps is not the savior.  It cannot slice bread, clean your house, wax your car,  fix broken IT, or walk on water.

But… it can help you become more efficient and effective.  If you can commit to the change required to bring about DevOps philosophies and technologies, it can address many of the challenges facing a legacy federal infrastructure and aging federal workforce, in an era of reduced budgets.

It’s IT Philosophy, Not Just Technology

For those agencies about to begin moving to DevOps, make sure you understand what you are doing. To be successful transitioning a waterfall based IT practice to an agile DevOps practice, there is one overriding principle you need to remember as you start your DevOps Journey:

You are changing your IT philosophy of your custom software development and operations support practices, not just the technology.

Your new philosophy had it’s beginning in the agile manifesto, but is not defined by it. Agile has been focused on improving communication on the development side of the house.  However, industry learned that while it is great to write code quickly, you still have an antiquated pipeline to get code to production.   The solution was to make operations more nimble/agile by creating technology that could enable faster to market deployments. Thus, this new approach of using agile development techniques on the operations side of the house was born.

Get Ready

To get your agency ready for DevOps, your philosophy change requires a holistic approach and focuses on the following  areas

  1. Culture Change
  2. Skill / Knowledge Change
  3. Organization Change
  4. Governance / Regulation Change
  5. Modernization
  6. Technology Change

Stay tuned as I go through what you need to know in these areas in the next few weeks.


About Aaron Francesconi 9 Articles
Agilist and Devops specialist working in the Federal Government Space

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