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How DevOps Can Help Create Agility for Your Agency

Level 12

You’ve probably heard a lot about how government agencies need to move on from legacy technology in order to become more agile and built for the future, but what about moving on from a legacy culture?

The traditional approach consisted of development and operations teams working in separate silos, each with their own roles and responsibilities. This mindset is in direct contrast to the DOD’s modernization initiative, which seeks streamlined operations and open collaboration.

A cultural movement

DevOps can be described as a cultural movement that breaks down siloes by combining development and operations teams into a cohesive whole. It offers developers the ability to have a seat at the operations table, and operations managers to actively participate in application development. It fosters greater agility and the ability to develop and deploy IT initiatives faster than ever before and, as such, helps support the agile and iterative practices outlined in the U.S. Digital Services Playbook and technology initiatives like the Joint Information Environment.

There are still some significant hurdles that federal agencies must clear if they’re to get on the DevOps train.

First, agencies must be willing to eschew decades of traditional work processes and adapt to this new approach. This is a very important starting point toward implementing DevOps.

Achieving success with DevOps requires a significant level of adaptability and commitment from everyone within your agency. It’s not enough to have a few forward-thinking developers and operations managers. Everyone needs to get behind the DevOps mentality and be willing to forsake walled gardens and waterfall approaches in favor of collaboration and shared responsibilities.

This culture must be embraced, nurtured, and maintained. You also need to be willing to modernize your technology along with your thinking, because technology certainly plays a role in enabling the culture shift. After all, what good is changing the culture if it doesn’t have the technology to back it?

As such, DevOps requires the support of highly adaptable and automated solutions that support your team’s goals of continuous innovation and delivery. Solutions integral to the support of DevOps include configuration management that enables automation, a code repository, monitoring and logging tools.

Monitoring tools give developers and ops managers the visibility into how the code performs and how the system is running and allows them to quickly and easily identify any faults or resource contention in the application infrastructure. Automation tools allow for rapid releases and scaling tasks as well as auto-remediation of known issues. Lastly, logging tools provide the necessary play-by-play of what’s happening in the DevOps environment that is essential for troubleshooting.

If you and your agency are ready to move toward a DevOps culture, you can prepare yourself for some significant benefits. DevOps allows your agency to embrace a cultural framework that adapts to disruptive technology. This positions you well for both the present and the future of IT, all while giving you the chance to play an important role in that future.

For more information, check out the DevOps panel from thwackCamp 2015.

  Find the full article on our partner DLT’s blog, TechnicallySpeaking.


So many organizations' IT teams remain challenged to accomplish some of the themes above.  For example:

  • Eschew decades of traditional work processes and adapt.
    • This won't happen with many.
  • Move on from legacy technology in order to become more agile.
    • Not likely for some.
  • Seek streamlined operations and open collaboration.
    • Not without the right incentives from above.
  • Adaptability and commitment from everyone.
    • Why is the right thing to do, sometimes the thing that generates laughs of pessimism?

Sign me up with a company that is willing to rely on SW Orion for all its IT silos, and I'll smile and learn the rest of my days.


Unfortunately in some shops monitoring tools are considered evil because they shine a spotlight on a group or teams failure or shortcomings.  Granted this is in a highly silo'd and likely small company.  It is a huge culture change that must occur.

Level 20

I still don't fully get what this is all about...

Level 21

When talking about government and changing the culture the problem has pretty much become too big to solve without just tearing it down and starting over.  The problem is that it's so big it has taken on a life of it's own with goals of self preservation; much of the system exists only for the purpose of making sure it continues to exist creating a self perpetuating mess.

I listened to the panel in ThwackCamp 2015 and I've watched and reader other experts. The industry is close. Many will make the leap successfully while others will be left in place for many reasons... notably cost, constraints, legacy, and expertise (lack thereof).

I chuckled at your closing statement rschroeder​ . But in all honesty wouldn't that be awesome? I am trying to get my company to respect the Capacity Mgmt reporting I produce where I am clearly showing them that they are running out of diskspace and bandwidth. "Upgrade! For God's sake!" "It's just that simple of a decision!" You'd think I was pulling teeth.


Level 13

problem is, how do you hire the right individual? candidates from around here are, lets say, less than ideal.

Level 8

Hope the right one comes along! Lol

About the Author
Joseph is a software executive with a track record of successfully running strategic and execution-focused organizations with multi-million dollar budgets and globally distributed teams. He has demonstrated the ability to bring together disparate organizations through his leadership, vision and technical expertise to deliver on common business objectives. As an expert in process and technology standards and various industry verticals, Joseph brings a unique 360-degree perspective to help the business create successful strategies and connect the “Big Picture” to execution. Currently, Joseph services as the EVP, Engineering and Global CTO for SolarWinds and is responsible for the technology strategy, direction and execution for SolarWinds products and systems. Working directly for the CEO and partnering across the executive staff in product strategy, marketing and sales, he and his team is tasked to provide overall technology strategy, product architecture, platform advancement and engineering execution for Core IT, Cloud and MSP business units. Joseph is also responsible for leading the internal business application and information technology activities to ensure that all SolarWinds functions, such as HR, Marketing, Finance, Sales, Product, Support, Renewals, etc. are aligned from a systems perspective; and that we use the company's products to continuously improve their functionality and performance, which ensures success and expansion for both SolarWinds and customers.