You’ve incorporated DevOps to drive your company’s digital transformation. But how do you measure the success of your DevOps initiatives and effectively communicate these goals to your team? This can be a challenging process since DevOps is not a formal framework and provides limited guidance. The key to success lies in creating metrics that connect DevOps processes to actual business outcomes.
Understanding the Business Challenge
Expectations are high for DevOps to consistently meet the demands of today’s always-on, highly competitive digital economy. However, achieving this is often easier said than done. Streamlining collaboration across teams and different stages of the lifecycle presents several challenges. The interaction between DevOps initiatives and continuous delivery is crucial for business agility and revenue growth.
Focusing on the speed of delivering new products is essential, but it cannot be the sole focus if you want to address the challenges of digital transformation. DevOps teams need the right tools to manage these environments effectively, including comprehensive release lifecycle management capabilities to keep up with the cadence of agile and continuous delivery work streams. Metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are also necessary to track their success and identify areas for improvement or modification.
Best Practices for Choosing the Right KPIs for Your Organization
When determining your DevOps KPIs, it’s important to consider the following best practices:
Tie DevOps Metrics to Business Outcomes
Carefully consider the metrics you need to monitor, keeping in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Choose metrics that answer the most important questions for your organization—those that focus on specific business outcomes. If customer experience is a key focus, prioritize metrics such as the Net Promoter Score. On the other hand, if efficiency is a priority, focus on more cost-centric measurements.
Getting Buy-In from All Stakeholders
Answering these questions requires input from all business stakeholders, who must establish a common set of clear and measurable goals. This framework also allows Development and Operations to be more closely aligned in determining the organization’s ever-changing digital capabilities. It ensures that the focus is on improving customer satisfaction and saving time and money.
It’s worth noting that more organizations are now adopting a data-driven approach to make informed decisions and address service delivery challenges. According to a recent Gartner survey, by 2020, “50% of IT organizations will apply advanced analytics in software development to improve software quality and speed of delivery.” Organizations that fail to embrace this data-driven methodology may be forced to make ad hoc cuts that could lead to catastrophic consequences.
4 Major Types of Metrics
KPIs can be categorized into the following types:
Efficiency & Effectiveness: Traditionally, these metrics focused on measuring development capacity and operational capabilities, such as server-to-admin ratios. However, the focus has shifted to incorporate more customer-centric ratios, such as FTEs to customers.
Velocity: Accelerating software delivery is a key driver of successful DevOps. Monitoring velocity reveals whether you are improving software delivery by highlighting IT’s responsiveness to increasing business demand. These metrics indicate how well the IT team has embraced automation and eliminated manual or isolated tasks to significantly increase time-to-market.
Quality: According to Puppet’s 2017 State of DevOps report, the pressure to deploy faster and more frequently causes lower-performing IT teams to pay “inadequate attention to building in quality.” High-performing teams understand that quality is a shared responsibility and must be built into the software early in the development process.
Culture, Collaboration, and Sharing: Communication, collaboration, and integration between development and operations are crucial in DevOps. Simply having the right processes and technology is not enough. Metrics focused on the people aspect of the organization provide insights into the acceptance or resistance to DevOps.
5 KPIs to Measure DevOps Success
Here are five key KPIs that can measure the success of your DevOps initiatives:
Frequency of Deployment: Increasing deployment frequency has been a strong motivator for shifting development practices. More frequent deployments reduce the likelihood of disruption resulting from complex and infrequent deployments.
Deployment Speed: This metric measures how quickly a single deployment goes from code selection to successfully running in production. High-performing organizations take less than an hour, while low-performing ones may take between one and six months. Automating and standardizing job definitions significantly reduces unnecessary rework and allows organizations to develop more value-added services.
Failure Rates: Deploying frequently and quickly is beneficial, but if changes fail just as often, there is no improvement. Critical software failures can cost organizations between $500,000 and $1 million per hour, resulting in lost revenue and dissatisfied customers.
Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR): MTTR is the average time it takes for a system to recover from any failure. It directly relates to customer experience, acquisition, and retention. Improving MTTR dramatically reduces costs and accelerates software delivery.
Measuring Culture: A collaborative environment between Development and Operations is essential in any DevOps process. Measuring employee morale, retention rates, and responsiveness to change can provide insights into the success of your DevOps culture.
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In summary, measuring DevOps success requires creating metrics that link DevOps processes to real business outcomes. By tying metrics to specific goals, getting buy-in from stakeholders, and focusing on the right KPIs, organizations can effectively monitor their DevOps initiatives and drive continuous improvement.
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