10 Tips Every Agency Should Follow on Its DevOps Journey

Development and Operations, also known as DevOps, is a trending new IT development that government agencies are putting into practice to make the production of IT faster and more efficient.

But implementing DevOps isn’t as easy as it sounds, and neither is defining it. In yesterday’s online training: DevOps: The Dos and Don’ts for Success in the Public Sector, topic experts discussed what DevOps actually is and how to effectively utilize it at your agency.

The experts included:

  • Peter Chin: Application Development and Architecture Division Chief, US Courts, Department of Program Services
  • Evong Nham: Senior Solutions Architect, Red Hat

DevOps is defined as “a movement to deliver software more effectively by emphasizing collaboration, communication, and integration across different teams (Dev, QA, Ops) in an IT organization,” says Nham.

Or as Chin put it, “DevOps is complimentary to the Agile software development process, as it extends and completes the continuous integration and release process by ensuring the code is production ready and providing value to the business customer.”

The process of incorporating DevOps into an agency’s IT development is a long, multi-step process that can be challenging. To help with best practices, the experts put together a few high-level dos and don’ts every agency should follow to help on their DevOps journey.

Do: Move away from the monolithic. Monolithic architectures are hard to build, hard to maintain, hard to test, and hard to deploy. When monolithic architectures fail it is catastrophic and hard to recover from. “The smaller you are the more agile you can be,” says Nham.

Don’t: Rely on manual practices. Don’t do something manual more than twice. Too frequently organizations rely on people to do low-value manual tasks that tools and technologies could do much faster and just as accurate as a person.

Do: Establish standards before automating. “Automation is only meaningful when you have meaningful standards in place,” says Nham. Without a common baseline, organizations will waste time and money redesigning and rebuilding products if there is no original standard or baseline.

Don’t: Reinvent the wheel. The industry has already created great tools so don’t get in the business of creating and starting anew. It wastes time and money.

Do: Instill pride of ownership. DevOps is about people and culture. If you want to create a great product you have to take ownership and pride of your team.

Don’t: Foster secrecy, judgment, and fear of retribution. Don’t foster a negative culture. Have a deep trust between teams and management. Foster an open environment where you can discuss things at liberty and improve from failure.

Do: Encourage innovation. Encourage innovation and experimentation. If those experiments fail, use them as learning experiences.

Don’t: Create Experts. There should never be just one topic expert in an organization. Create knowledge sharing sessions to teach all employees new things.

Do: Embrace metrics and monitoring. This allows people to know what’s going on at their organization, when it happens. It also creates people to feel accountable and be more proactive in their work.

Don’t: Get overwhelmed. “Starting on a DevOps journey can be like unraveling a huge knot,” said Nham. Don’t give up and become overwhelmed, it will be worth it in the end.

DevOps certainly isn’t simple, but with these helpful tips, any agency can implement it into its workplace. To learn more about DevOps, watch the full training on-demand here or download our industry perspective: Accelerating Your DevOps Journey in the Public Sector.



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