How to Measure the Success of DevOps Practice?

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Introduction

The new age IT world is making revolutionary advances in the ways that nobody predicted. Developing applications such as the cloud, advanced analytics and expanding mobility have transformed the vision of software industry. In today’s IT world it is all about agility with quality. Traditional processes and methods of developing software are challenged to keep up with the complexities that come with these new environments. As a result, DevOps has come to the fore as a new IT philosophy which will help overcome these complexities. The aim of DevOps is to bring collaboration among the different IT teams. DevOps is successful in increasing the agility and in faster software/application deployment. But there is no success without measurement. So DevOps success also needs to be measured.

In this blog post, Moin Syed, Principal Consultant – Advisory & Transformation Services at Cigniti Inc., explains the need to measure the success of DevOps and throws light on the three key areas that define the success of DevOps – Culture, Agility, and Quality.

Importance of Measuring the Success of DevOps

Measuring the success of DevOps is very important because DevOps initiatives target the very processes that determine how IT works. A metrics-oriented mindset is a key to ensuring that DevOps initiatives deliver the intended results. Data-driven decisions and focused improvement activities lead to increased quality and efficiency. Also, the use of feedback to accelerate delivery makes DevOps a successful IT culture. With DevOps, as with any IT initiative, knowing what to measure is always the first step.

How do you Measure the Success of DevOps?

The following suggestions help identify the key measures.

Measuring Culture

This is a tough area to create the mechanism to measure. Because it is very difficult to assign a dollar value. DevOps advocates eliminating stress, creating an environment of collaboration. This enables the people to work more effectively. Some key representative metrics are:

  • Staff retention
  • Change acceptance
  • Resource cross skilling
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Resource utilization

Measuring Agility

Agility again is not clearly defined. One should define the measurable attributes of agility. Some of the reasons why the DevOps is fast gaining acceptance are the ability to deliver software faster, with fewer defects and faster resolution of problems. Some key representative metrics are:

  • Speed of deployments
  • Time taken to fix failed releases
  • Frequency of releases
  • Change lead time
  • Sprint velocity

 Measuring Quality

The success of DevOps is directly related to the value and the quality delivered to the end users. The key objective of any DevOps practice should be to contribute creatively and improve the existing practices. While measuring quality using metrics, one can evaluate, modify, and improve processes over time. Some key representative metrics are:

  • Production outages
  • Defect rate in production
  • Mean time to recovery
  • Deployment rollbacks
  • Success rate of deployments

 Conclusion

As Lord Kelvin (Scottish Mathematician and Physicist) said, “Without measurement there can be no measurable improvement”. DevOps is evolved from a rich history of process improvements. Feedback and measurement are the factors that drive the improvements in DevOps. The success of DevOps is to increase business value by making it agile through continuous delivery of services that satisfy customer needs. There are several tangible and intangible benefits of DevOps. They require measurement to help an organization better appreciate the impact of a DevOps approach. If this goal is not met, then whatever is being done is not working or is not right!