Chicago 2014 - Proposal

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Challenges Facing DevOps in the Public Sector and Why You Should Care


The IT community in the public sector has a sizeable, but frequently forgotten influence on peoples lives. Have you tried to renew a license plate online recently? How about navigated to get health insurance? Used online learning tools for a public educational institution? Have any of these experiences been pleasant, or what you would expect from a well run modern website? These websites are your tax dollars at work.

Are there reasons why we aren't seeing the cultural ideas of DevOps reaching public sector IT shops as quickly?

Public sector organizations differ greatly from private sector organizations with regards to structure, motivations and funding. Other factors such as government mandates for the existence of these organizations, tenured employees and reliance on antiquated domain specific applications can exacerbate the issues caused by these differences.

In the past year or so, we've seen how the discussions around Enterprise DevOps have opened up discussion of many of these cultural ideas to more traditional corporate settings. For DevOps ideas to gain influence the thousands of public sector IT workers, we need to recognize that they too have a separate subset of problems and challenges and start a conversation about how to tackle these issues. This talk will seek to begin that conversation, explain some of the cultural differences between the public and private sectors, explain some of the challenges the public sector faces when trying to break down silos and explain why and how we should evangelize to public sector employees.

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