The whole idea behind DevOps is to combine agile methodology with continuous delivery. This will enable you to produce better products, better processes, have leaner organizations and teams so you can scale to meet the needs of your mission today.
Public Sector Lead, Atlassian
The Enterprise Service Model
DevOps and agile methodology are increasingly bridging the gap between software/IT and business or project management teams.
Public Sector Lead, Atlassian
The use of DevOps or agile development has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years.
It went from one of those approaches to federal modernization that chief information officers talked about — to one that they actually did.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reports on the Federal IT Dashboard that 60% of all major IT projects are using an iterative—agile or DevOps—approach. Of those, 71% are on budget and 81% are on schedule.
This doesn’t mean everything is going well. The dashboard also shows the average project duration is almost 500 days. But that doesn’t tell us how often the projects are delivering capabilities. Back in 2014, OMB said the move to agile or DevOps was delivering capabilities at 20 days faster on average than the waterfall approach.
At the same time, there are several agencies that are demonstrating the power of agile or DevOps. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, the Patent and Trademark Office and the Veterans Affairs Department are just a few of the federal agencies that are seeing tremendous improvement leveraging DevOps.
The Homeland Security Department, for instance, created an agile center of excellence where programs can get help from experts.
Another example is the FCC, which developed new and modernized legacy apps that citizen-facing.
However, agencies need to continue to move down the path to fully implement DevOps so new capabilities can be brought online faster, enabling them to serve citizens more effectively and efficiently.
Phoebe Nerdahl, the public sector lead for Atlassian, underscored this point when she said “DevOps and agile methodology are increasingly bridging the gap between software/IT and business or project management teams,” she said on the Innovation in Government show. “It’s critical to look at how things are being done today and ensure you are making those appropriate changes.
The good news is that once agencies start demonstrating the value of an agile approach, the enthusiasm spreads quickly to non-IT executives.
Nerdahl explained why when she said that Atlassian believes that DevOps is a philosophy, not a standard. Her team is helping agencies to take the DevOps/agile philosophy beyond the technology and software development teams, to a broader use across all types of agency teams
“I think that across the board, in order to deliver and meet the standards our citizens are seeing from a commercial standpoint, our agencies are having to move forward and adopt more rapid methodologies,Nerdahl said. “The whole idea behind DevOps is to combine agile methodology with continuous delivery. This will enable you to produce better products, better processes, have leaner organizations and teams so you can scale to meet the needs of your mission today.”
In many ways, Nerdahl said the expectations of citizens is driving this broader acceptance of DevOps. She said agency customers are used to that “commercial” experience, particularly through a mobile device.
“You are seeing that perception that government is lagging or the perception that government is difficult to interact with,” she said. “By using DevOps and agile development, agencies are able to mitigate that gap so citizens can get that transparent information that they need. They get it faster and can see the path to the answer, and they are more able to be self-sufficient.”
A key factor in moving toward a DevOps and agile approach to development is tapping into the user experience. Nerdahl said she is seeing agencies including both internal and external customers to understand what capabilities are needed and in what order.
“ [Agencies] look at internal employees as part of that user base, and customers in their own right,” Nerdahl said “It is improving the citizen experience and it is also improving the experience of that federal or state and local employee and their day-to-day operations”.She said Atlassian supports a concept called an enterprise service model (ESM) to help bring the business and IT sides closer together.
“We see it mostly with large organizations who are attempting to better the experience of their internal employees, and enable them in a way that they can go out and effectively deliver on their agency mission,” Nerdahl said. “Through ESM, the agency further continues down the path of modernization, rapidly getting the technologies out to their users and, in turn, having their employees produce products that citizens will utilize as well.”
In February, Atlassian will hold its government symposium where several customers, including the General Services Administration, will discuss how the enterprise service model works for them.
“At Atlassian, one of our core values is to be the change you seek. I think we are seeing that more and more with public sector organizations,“ she said. “I think there was a long period of time where it felt like change was impossible. I don’t think that assumption is as strong today as it was five years ago. You have these change makers who are coming in, not necessarily at the executive level, who are implementing these ideas and they grow from an organizational standpoint because they work.”
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Phoebe Nerdahl has over a decade of experience helping government agencies modernize and scale their capabilities across the enterprise. She is an expert in innovative, collaborative technologies that fuel productivity across teams and departments. In her current role as leader of Atlassian Public Sector, Phoebe established the company’s Public Sector group and has led the industry strategy, sales and marketing for the company.
Today, Phoebe and her team are helping government agencies of all sizes adopt and scale agile methodologies, serve constituents more effectively, and work better together.
Jason Miller is an executive editor and reporter with Federal News Radio. As executive editor, Jason helps direct the news coverage of the station and works with reporters to ensure a broad range of coverage of federal technology, procurement, finance and human resource news.As a reporter, Jason focuses mainly on technology and procurement issues, including cybersecurity, e-government and acquisition policies and programs.