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Leaders across the Federal Government feel pressure to increase the pace of mission impacts and responsiveness to citizens by incorporating DevOps into their departments. But where’s the best place to start to ensure swift and enduring results? Jeff Fossum, digital transformation architect, offers his thoughts on how to adapt and where to begin.
For any government agency looking to leverage DevOps to deliver mission impacts faster, the first question to ask is where and how to begin your DevOps journey. While the pace of commercial DevOps is impressive, it can feel daunting for an organization that hasn’t tried DevOps before. That's the first place where Booz Allen can help. We've been on the DevOps journey for years. Experience tells us that every agency is different. You don’t have to implement or excel in every single DevOps practice before you can begin delivering software faster. We understand that DevOps is not an end in and of itself—it's a maturity model to accelerate delivery of software into production.
“You don’t have to master or implement every DevOps practice to begin delivering software faster. I like to think of it as a maturity model, where you accelerate the delivery of software to users and production over time.”
- Jeff Fossum, digital transformation architect at Booz Allen
One key to succeeding at DevOps is not trying to do everything at once. Identify the practices that will have the greatest impact at your agency and focus on those. Booz Allen has helped agencies improve their missions with a modest DevOps push. That means employing just a few tools to get started, like a modern configuration management system and a pipeline to support continuous integration and automated testing. Correctly implemented, these steps alone should be enough to increase the speed of software delivery. Over the course of a year with a few simple DevOps updates, your agency can save weeks of production release time and have real impacts on your users.
As your DevOps culture and processes mature, you will likely begin to form tightly integrated teams of software developers, testers, security engineers, and IT operations specialists. A multi-disciplinary team allows security and operations to be woven into the software design process—an approach known as DevSecOps. DevSecOps works to ensure better outcomes and sustainability across your portfolio. One way it does so is by allowing new software features or fixes to be delivered to production almost as quickly as they’re developed. With duplicate cloud environments that allow agencies to simply flip a switch and put new software into production, deployments can be done at the end of every 2-week Agile sprint. If you’re counting, that’s 26 new software releases per year. Not bad, right?
Some federal missions have circumstances (e.g., time, resources, urgency) that require full implementation of all DevOps practices. From continuous deployment to continuous monitoring, the full DevOps suite allows for code to be checked in and channeled through a pipeline immediately into production. With no downtime, your agency can provide a continuously improving set of features to millions of citizens without missing a beat.
Want to hear more from our experts? Listen to Jeff Fossum discuss his approach to your future DevOps journey. Watch the full video here.