Government Agencies: Top 10 Things to Think About Before Your Next DevOps Procurement
Updated: Jun 6, 2019
Initiating and executing DevOps projects is challenging in almost any organization. Government organizations have their additional unique challenges that will need to be considered when planning a new DevOps contract. Ardigent leveraged our expertise gathered from a number of DevOps projects in several different agencies to compile a short list of recommendations to help you streamline your acquisition planning process:
Desired Outcome – define the desired outcome in business terms. Why are you undertaking the initiative, what business outcomes are you targeting to improve? DevOps initiatives are most successful when planned in the context of desired business outcome.
Metrics - define the key performance indicators to measure success and set desired performance targets. Some common metrics include deployment frequency, deployment downtime duration, and implementation cycle time. Organizations can include additional project-specific metrics.
Quality – build automated quality gates into the CI/CD pipeline to eliminate manual quality assurance steps. Create a backlog for burning down the tech debt of automating the legacy manual test cases and prioritize along with the rest of the functional features: “Slow down to go faster!”
Governance – as the delivery framework changes, the governance framework needs to change in lockstep as well. Consider embedding the governance processes into the DevOps processes and automating them as much as possible.
Reuse – after the first successful DevOps pilots, conduct and enterprise-wide introspective about the technologies, tools and techniques that worked the best. Create an enterprise vision and a plan for which approaches worked well and can be hardened and scaled as enterprise-wide services for future reuse.
Practice Maturity – even after the initial first successes, always plan for additional improvements. Continue maintaining a rolling 6-12 mo roadmap for incorporating new practices and growing the organizational DevOps maturity.
Freedom for Innovation – build flexibility into the contract terms to allow teams to change course, at government direction. Even with shorter 1-2 yr contracts, sometimes government stakeholders and teams need to pivot and deviate from the original PWS statement in order to meet new demands. A cumbersome contract modification process may stifle innovation.
Organizational/Contractual Silos – even the most tech-savvy DevOps teams can be slowed down to a grinding halt by internal organizational inefficiencies and communication breakdowns. Position your DevOps initiative for success by building an internal cross-functional alliance that will support the DevOps team with timely decisions and removing organizational hurdles.
Government Personnel Training – overseeing cutting-edge DevOps contracts requires equal level of technical savvy from the government business owners, IT staff, and acquisitions personnel. Plan for an internal training and continuous learning program to ensure skills are upgraded on par with the industry changes.
Contract Retrospective – with reduced cycle times of daily releases, providing annual CPARS feedback is not enough. DevOps teams need frequent feedback about their contractual performance to help them make timely adjustments. Consider quarterly, or even monthly, contractual reviews and score cards.
We are happy to engage in more in-depth conversation about our experiences executing successful DevOps programs for federal clients and sharing our lessons learned.