Digital Transformation With Matty Stratton

Posted on Tuesday, Aug 4, 2020
In this episode Matty Stratton makes a special appearance talking to us about Digital Transformation, Government Agencies, the impact of COVID, and thinking ahead.

Show Notes

Nap Time

Matty kicks us off sharing a bit about his new role at RedHat. Working in the “NAPS” area of Digital Transformation, Matty discusses what digital transformation is.

Matty: “My main focus is I help government agencies; especially state, local, and education agencies in North America as they’re trying to transform how they work and basically do all this DevOps stuff that we keep talking about, and how do they kind of serve their mission better with technology.”

Digital Transformation

Matty talks to us about how there really is no right answer to what digital transformation is; it’s more about how you want it to be.

Matty: “This idea of transforming in a digital way, what does that really mean? Does that mean that to some people that means we’re moving in some kind of a more cloud native approach. Some people that just means they’re paying attention to tech, and technology is moving from being a cost center to being part of the business. And to some it just means we needed another C suite person so we can have a Chief Digital Officer, so we can put somebody else as an executive… So that’s why we had digital transformation. Some people think it means working remotely and Covid drove us to digital transformation.”

The Reality

Matty continues to talk to us about the reality of digital transformation being about transforming the way you work and how he likes to think about transformation over modernization. He also talks about the socio-technical system and how you need to think about the people in tech as well. Matty draws parallels between the government sector and the private sector and how you need to have adaptive capacity.

Matty: “the reality is, this is exactly why you need to work on it [digital transformation] in parallel with this adapting that you need to do. Because you have this brittleness that caused you to not have adaptive capacity and you need to have it so you can respond… This is not a thing you do for your entire organization at once.”

Matty talks about transformation as an interactive project instead of trying to tackle everything all at once.

The Five Elements of Transformation

Matty talks about the things to think about when you are talking about transformation and thinking beyond the squad level and scaling to a larger organization.

Matty: “We need to bring that conversation higher than just software development. And we talked about having five elements of transformation, and those five elements are: leadership, product, development, architecture, and then operations. So development is part of it, but usually a lot of times in IT when we’re thinking about transforming, we’re really hyper focused on just that one element of development. We’re thinking about agile, we’re thinking about how we do our software engineering. Each of these elements is really key across all of them together.”

The Sharp End Versus the Blunt End

Matty talks to us about driving an organization to be more open and driving decisions to the “sharp end” which is the folks who are actually doing the work.

Matty: “Think more product based versus project based. We think about having a culture around measurement so that we’re continually having feedback loops; projects end, products don’t… moving towards a product centric mentality is really key.”

Matty continues to talk about how to think about establishing a foundation of resilience, and to think about what the transformation actually means for the business and its teams and people.

The Necessity to have Resilience

Matty talks about what happened with the Texas Workforce Commission in relation to COVID how the systems weren’t built to be ready for COVID.

Matty: “These are systems that weren’t built to manage this flow of information and this strain… these things can happen and it won’t be COVID next time, it will be something else, something you don’t see coming, you can’t predict it. That’s why we need to have adaptive capacity so that we can flex and rebound.” Don’t be Afraid to Make the Changes that Need to be Made Matty and Julie talk about how the current situation is not going to end, so don’t treat it like the “big game” and how to deconstruct the business logic to make changes now.

Matty: “Your refactoring does not mean rip out the entire thing, we build bridges and it’s okay to have disposable systems that just give us along, right, we’re building a shim that will get us to that next place.”

Plans and Structure to Enable the People

Matty talks about how getting the people who are closest to the work are the ones you need to have a plan and structure around because they are the ones who are able to respond to the things you can’t predict. He also talks about aligning folks to the mission to empower folks to do things better.

Matty: “The goal, the thing we’re trying to accomplish to service our customer, to service our user, to service our constituents, and where that connects to, and they will do this if they’re empowered to do it.” Parting Advice Matty shares about empowering folks, and trusting your folks to deliver. This will give the outcomes and the agility to get things done.

Additional Resources:

Digital Transformation wrong answers with Matty


Matt Stratton

Matt Stratton

Matt Stratton is a Transformation Specialist at Red Hat and a long-time member of the global DevOps community. Back in the day, his license plate actually said “DevOps”.

Matt has over 20 years of experience in IT operations, ranging from large financial institutions such as JPMorganChase to internet firms including He is a sought-after speaker internationally, presenting at Agile, DevOps, and ITSM focused events, including DevOps Enterprise Summit, DevOpsDays, Interop, PINK, and others worldwide. Matt is the founder and co-host of the popular Arrested DevOps podcast, as well as a global organizer of the DevOpsDays set of conferences.

He lives in Chicago and has three awesome kids, whom he loves just a little bit more than he loves Doctor Who. He is currently on a mission to discover the best phở in the world.


Julie Gunderson

Julie Gunderson

Julie Gunderson is a DevOps Advocate on the Community & Advocacy team. Her role focuses on interacting with PagerDuty practitioners to build a sense of community. She will be creating and delivering thought leadership content that defines both the challenges and solutions common to managing real-time operations. She will also meet with customers and prospects to help them learn about and adopt best practices in our Real-Time Operations arena. As an advocate, her mission is to engage with the community to advocate for PagerDuty and to engage with different teams at PagerDuty to advocate on behalf of the community.