Steel Thread helped a large US Federal civilian agency successfully negotiate the complex journey towards Agile maturity and transform its software development and delivery approaches by using open source continuous integration and configuration management tools to increase software quality and frequency of release (value) delivered to production.


A highly fragmented organization with little to no collaboration, an abundance of unenforceable process documentation, and many manual processes with the typical error prone issues.

Why Steel Thread?

Steel Thread had prior success implementing similar solutions inside the Department of Defense.


The engagement has a two-pronged approach:

  • Build out an open source platform that supports continuous integration and automated, on demand deployments leveraging mechanisms and best practices used in continuous delivery.
  • Transform the project team on Agile XP best practices using the open source platform (project onboarding).

Cost Savings - Minimize costly production outages.

Visibility - Provide visibility into application development through continuous monitoring.

Repeatability - Establish process standardization through automation.

Reproducibility - Reproduce entire application and supporting assets from source.

  • Spearheaded DevOps transformation to achieve continuous delivery to FISMA compliant environments.
  • Established continuous quality for functional testing, performance testing and security scanning of the application.
  • End-to-End automation, including on-demand deployment across life-cycle environments (dev, integration, quality, performance, etc.).
  • Comprehensive change management including comprehensive governance, versioning, and roll-back.
  • Organizational alignment across development and operations.
  • Perform automated deployments to hybrid clouds (private and public) and to multiple target technologies (Java J2EE, PHP, C/C++, etc).
  • Provided mentored learning approach to improve Configuration Management principles (repeatability, reproducibility and auditability).

Key Accomplishments
Project Time to Completion

Project Time to Completion

2.5 years to 1.5 years

40% reduction in project time to completion

Number of Projects Migrated

Number of Projects Migrated

Goal: 50 projects migrated in 2014

Achieved: 95+ projects as of January 2015

Time to Deploy

Time to Deploy

Manual: Improved from hours to minutes

Auto: Improved from minutes to seconds

One of the most notable achievements was that the completion milestone date was accelerated by 12 months, from 2.5 years to 1.5 years.

Other accomplishments include:

Continuous Integration - Approximately 95 projects are now using the platform for central source code management, and over 40 projects performing continuous integration and continuously publishing code quality metrics to a dashboard. The expectation was for approximately 50 total projects using the platform by the end of 2014 calendar year; now at 95+ projects and continuing to grow, the program is well ahead of plan.

Automated Deployment - Approximately 20% of the current projects using the platform are performing nightly automated deployments to their test environments.

Average Daily Build Frequency - 2,000 builds per day across the enterprise.

Time Savings and Other Metrics

  • Manual deployment times have improved from several hours to minutes using an automated release process that creates “Bundle” packages containing both executables and environments properties.
  • Automated deployment times have improved from minutes to seconds, and are highly repeatable by applying the “Bundle” package to deployment automation and orchestration provided by Ansible.
  • 425+ trained, active users – and counting fast.
  • 300+ repositories (Git and SVN) for source code and automated deployment property files.

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