GovCon DC: Drupal in Government

by
Alec Reynolds
| September 18, 2015
Washington DC

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Two continents. Three Drupal events. One summer that would define the future of Drupal. This is the second post in a three-part series detailing the fantastic advances in the Drupal world that Kalamunist Alec Reynolds witnessed in his journeys to NYC Camp, GovCon in Washington DC, and Costa Rica Drupal Camp.

GovCon: Drupal in Government

As more governments have adopted Drupal, their technology contractors have grown their Drupal services. GovCon was a display of how these agencies are evolving technology in government and contributing to the Drupal ecosystem.

A (Slowly) Evolving Landscape

Government contracting has a reputation for being a laborious process, a bureaucratic meatgrinder that only experienced firms can navigate. With this barrier to entry, I’ve assumed that many government-focused firms might be more adept at pushing paper than committing code.

Fortunately, it became apparent at GovCon that Agile software development practices are starting to change the unwieldy nature of government technology contracts. Although one-month “sprints” and year-long contracts may seem a far cry from the “move fast and break things” ethos of a startup, they’re welcome improvements from a world of multi-year release cycles and half-decade contracts.

Government Contractors Bring New People into Drupal

GovCon also demonstrated the power of government contractors to help build the Drupal ecosystem. Not only do government sites like WhiteHouse.gov and Energy.gov provide great case studies, but government contractors create demand for scores of new Drupal developers.

If some of the technology firms at NYC Camp seemed large at several hundred members, the government contractors who dominated the sponsor track at GovCon in Washington DC were of another scale. Indeed, many of them would modestly call themselves “small” at 400 to 500 members. Although only a portion of their teams may be Drupal developers, public sector-focused firms provide a good home for experienced Drupalists and a fertile environment for creating new Drupal developers.

Last Thoughts

I was very hopeful to see the way government technology firms are developing into incubators for Drupal talent. Along with the larger agencies who dominated NYC Camp, these government-focused agencies should foster Drupalists with experience in many different technologies that compliment Drupal.

Big thanks to all the organizers and sponsors for making this event a reality, I had a great time getting to know some of the Beltway Acquia folks and hearing thoughts from team members at Last Call, Bluecadet, Interactive Strategies, and more!

Topics:
Community & Culture
Drupal
Alec Reynolds

Alec Reynolds

Co-Founder

When his long-standing interest in programming and this "internet thing" became relevant to his entrepreneurial inclinations, Alec found himself helping launch a series of startups. This experience has provided Alec with a deep understanding of young businesses and the product development process, where he participates from the code to the customer.

More posts by Alec