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STABILITY & AGILITY: HOW TO STRIKE THE BALANCE

We’re always trying to find balance, whether it’s with work-life balance or that yoga pose you’ve been trying to nail for weeks. There needs to be a happy medium for all these things and government IT, too.

Conventional and agile IT working together to create harmony is the goal for government agencies. And by leveraging hybrid cloud architectures and bimodal capabilities, creating this balance can be a reality. So, what is bimodal IT? Bimodal IT is a way of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery. Mode 1 is traditional, with a focus on safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is more basic, with a focus on agility.

So, what does this mean and where do we begin? During the recent GovLoop online training, Stability and Agility: How to Strike the Balance, we heard from Adam Clater, Office of the Chief Technologist, North American Public Sector from Red Hat, and Eric Mandel, CEO of Blackmesh.

They explained that the two main challenges to achieving balance are lack of cultural and technological knowledge. When you are changing your IT to a multi-modal infrastructure you need to think of your culture and how it would you would adjust and making sure you have the skills to make these changes.

Culture
Every agency, organization and company has its own culture. Some may be relaxed or serious or creative. In government, culture is generally traditional. Clater and Mandel explained that most government agencies have been around for a while and they have a certain way of doing things. But things are changing, especially in government IT.

Trying to find the balance of the past and bring agility to the culture can be overwhelming. “Don’t try to eat the whole elephant at once,” Clater advised. Mandel agreed, saying you should work in small chunks. He also advised taking on projects that will are likely to be successful. These small successes will encourage your team and everything you succeed in you can keep moving forward.

Technology Skills
As organizations are adopting these new IT approaches, many of their employees may lack the skills to deploy, maintain or operate new systems. As we know, security is a main focus for the government and they don’t want to mess anything up. They have their traditional, safe systems in place, but these new systems need to be implemented.

Finding the people willing to learn or that already know how to use these new tools to change the infrastructure can be a challenge. First, your team needs to accept that things are moving forward. “There are tools and DevOps to focus on integration and agile systems,” said Mandel. Once everyone is on board to try and learn new things, technology skills will become more of a small crack in the road, rather than a pothole.

Culture and technology skills don’t seem that intimidating anymore, right? Taking things in small steps that have a big impact and success is the goal. Having everyone come together and execute is the way you want to overcome these challenges.

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