profile image

Kevin LaBranche

Teacher @

About Me

I'm a software developer who finds great joy in teaching and learning from others. I've been honing my craft for over two and half decades. If I'm not in code, I'm near it. I'm often working on practices and processes that improve the engineering excellence of the team.

Currently, I'm in an architecture / lead development position at NAU. I develop best practices tailored to the team and company culture. I'm a strong believer in applying systems thinking to all I do.

I am always looking for opportunities to share what I know and learn from others.

I hang out on Twitter and if you find my blog helpful consider subscribing to my RSS feed.

You can also drop me an email if reaching out to me on twitter isn't your jam.

Developer Advocacy

So what do I do, really? I see myself as a developer advocate for my team and throughout the University. I pursue engineering practices that make development efforts easier, more reliable, safer and thereby faster.

This process is ongoing and iterative. It means understanding the team. Deeply. It entails a lot of listening, learning, collaboration and experimentation as well as a lot of time on my own keeping abreast of all things development and leadership.

I write a lot. All of our practices, I document in our wiki. Keeping knowledge locked up in one's head is detrimental to all. I create video walkthroughs and tutorials to help further the education of our practices.

I work with team members on a weekly basis, helping in any way they need.

Work at NAU

I'm the lead developer of many systems. This allows me to stay grounded in the unique challenges faced at NAU as well as programming in general. One such system that keeps me in the code is our appointments system. The system is fully integrated into Exchange and our campus solutions. The system is used by about 28,000 students and averages 70,000 bookings every year.

I'm the lead on our DevOps practices and usage of Azure DevOps. While Azure DevOps enables CI/CD, Azure DevOps alone doesn't mean one is doing CI/CD. I've worked closely with my team to take the guiding principles of CI/CD into our daily work. Build scripts that work the same locally as they do on Azure DevOps. Teaching short feature branches, writing testable code, utilizing feature flags and practicing safe database changes all help to unlock the value of CI/CD. We currently have approximately a dozen environments comprising of approximately 60 servers. We have over 100 pipelines in Azure DevOps.

During our CI/CD journey I've led the team from nothing to CI/CD practices that have helped us achieve sub hour mean time to recovery and change failure rates under 1%.

I've been hard at work creating or promoting self-service platform capabilities to enable agility at speed without compromise. I developed an automated process for having a complete pipeline with build scripts, CI/CD on day zero.


Before NAU, I was the Programming Division Manager at Coconino County. I was responsible for day to day operations, project management, supervisory and technical leadership of all programming, website development and 3rd party application implementation and support.

Prior to my manager position I worked at the County on an award winning pilot project with the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission.

See my LinkedIn profile for a little more on my background.