After committing to DevOps – a software development practice that combines development and information technology (IT) operations – two and a half years ago, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has made major strides in increasing the speed and efficiency of its IT initiatives, according to Kaschit Pandya, IRS Enterprise Operations deputy associate CIO.

In October 2016, the IRS committed to a DevOps model of software development, Pandya said in a keynote speech at the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center Federal DevOps Summit today. He said that after identifying what applying DevOps can do to overcome the IRS’s efficiency challenges for three months, the strides the agency have made since then have been significant.

Since the fall of 2016, Pandya said, the IRS has reduced its full-integration testing and deployment time from 500 minutes for each project to 30 minutes. Its package build and deployment time has decreased from 27 to four hours, and its automated testing time sped up from 15 minutes to one millisecond. Furthermore, the IRS’s ability to deploy releases and upgrades, which previously took a span of 18 weeks, is now nine minutes.

“These are actual, measurable gains that we have seen come our of our DevOps initiatives,” Pandya said. “We are able to demonstrate those achievements that our teams have come up with and use that as our momentum to continue.”

Pandya added that the DevOps strategies overall aim to improve speed and accessibility for taxpayers to access their data without compromising security, which manifests in low-rise releases, faster digital services for users, lower costs, higher efficiency, and higher overall quality.

Even with the progress the IRS has made with DevOps, the process is continuous and requires constant change and collaboration. Moving forward, Pandya said the IRS – much like other agencies and organizations that adopt DevOps solutions – must foster cultural growth and an ability to adapt; streamline the process to select, approve, and procure what it needs; and attract and retain talent.

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