DevOps for a digital government. Is it and Oxymoron?

What really is DevOps? I like the definition that Donovan Brown came up with;

DevOps is the union of people, process, and products to enable continuous delivery of value to our end users

He goes on further to explain how value delivery is more important than just shipping software. I believe that too. Which leads me to the reason why I am writing this post. Can DevOps work with governments’ approach to delivering services to its citizens digitally? I think it can and it should be something that is looked at critically. Something that has been capturing the Kenyan news desk this week about the IFMIS system being down for close to a week. The government also launched a portal that is aimed at informing the general public about the projects it’s undertaking.

For most Kenyans, this shows how committed the government is in to digitizing a lot of its activities and service delivery. The e-citizen portal has become an integral part of government service delivery in Kenya. One of the greatest digital projects the government of Kenya has ever done was the Kenya Open Data Portal. This portal is one of my most visited government sites given my line of work and is a good source of data to play around with. For those applying for government tenders, the government tenders portal is a business saver, if it’s user experience is something you can ignore.

What I keep asking myself is, with all this digital assets, how is the government collecting, prioritizing and implementing feedback from users, if at all it is collecting any? It is a well known fact that the Kenya Revenue Authority iTax portal is usually 90% inaccessible during last two months towards the end of the government’s financial year. A normal load-test would really help to identify what the challenges are.

And that is where DevOps and good Application Life-cycle Management practices would help solve some of this challenges and also help the government increase adoption of these portals and platforms.

So yes, ALM and DevOps is not an oxymoron for government. there’s a lot to be explored around this area and if you are interested in having a conversation about this, sign up for the Global Azure Bootcamp happening on April 22nd and we can take this conversation further.