Dear Federal CIOs,
It’s time to rethink your IT strategy. I know your development and operations teams have co-existed very nicely for nearly half a century working in parallel and not communicating. The thing is, as you move to the cloud, this well established disconnect and clunky workflow just can’t be allowed to persist. If it continues, all the benefits—the scalability, agility, efficiency, and cost effectiveness —of moving to the cloud will be missed opportunities.
Since we’re already going to be disrupting the IT shop by moving infrastructure and solutions delivery to the cloud, now’s the ideal time to bring Dev and Ops together to streamline not only the cloud migration process but what lies beyond that as well. By creating a unified DevOps team and extending interaction and service delivery not only will you eliminate the disconnect, you’ll also improve service quality.
Let’s face it; with the number of deployable artefacts the Dev team is producing, the Ops team is having a hard time keeping up. While the Ops team is primed to handle four updates a year, the Dev team is sending them 20…a day. By bringing Dev and Ops together, you’ll take care of that disparity and enable optimized release cycles of high-quality, thoroughly-tested end products. And, it will establish a culture where building, testing, and releasing software can happen rapidly, frequently, and reliably.
I know one of the things you worry about is that a DevOps solution isn’t right for the federal IT environment. With Dev and Ops often supported by different contractors, that’s another layer of complexity that needs to be overcome. In order to be successful the two teams need to become one team that communicates well and collaborates frequently—and not just at deployment time.
To truly embrace DevOps, CIOs must lead a culture change; it’s just as important as improved tools and techniques to drive change. The notion that the application lifecycle is only code > build > test > package > release is outdated thinking. DevOps thinking enables the team to address critical post-release phases of configuration and monitoring by becoming part of the feedback loop. Not only does the long-view facilitate communication, it also introduces consistency across environments and the ability to scale infrastructure more rapidly.
So how do you bring the DevOps revolution to your agency?
It’s certainly not by ditching existing processes wholesale and looking for some new tech to buy. It starts with embracing a mentality. Analyze your existing processes rigorously and look for ways to perform tasks more quickly without sacrificing reliability. Identify where manual processes—which are essential when working with mission-critical data and applications—need to be kept. And, most importantly, unify the teams and make sure they communicate what’s most important to their processes and then keep them communicating.
While it’s tempting to go it alone, the very act of an IT revolution is often most successful when an outside perspective with knowledge of the unique environment within federal agencies is brought to bear. After all, no one likes playing bad cop and getting in the middle of two teams, even if the end result will bring ultimately them together. A trusted partner with a strong understanding of next-generation IT, providing a well-trained, disciplined team of practitioners with experience in effecting change, will surely help build momentum, overcome cultural challenges, and deliver success.
DevOps, even within the unique environment of a federal agency, is not just possible it is essential to overall mission success which is critical for helping deliver services to citizens or battlefield intelligence to our frontline warriors. Call me, we can talk, and lay out a roadmap to get you started on the road to a DevOps revolution.
All the best,