Four key metrics for measuring DevOps productivity

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A recent report found the four best ways to measure DevOps productivity is to look at: duration, mean time to recovery, throughput and success rate. According to the State of Software Delivery report from CI/CD platform provider CircleCI, companies who optimize on those four metrics are some of the most successful software companies out there. 

In a webinar on how to help teams build better software faster, technical content marketing manager at CircleCI Ron Powell and Contentful software engineer Sergiy Tupchiy looked at the four metrics and what it really looks like in practice. 

“It does look different when you try to actually apply the measurement of these to your case. And then it also looks different when you try to describe the value of optimizing on these four metrics to the rest of your organization,” Powell explained in the webinar. 

The first metric, duration, measures the length of a workflow. While teams want to be around five minutes, Powell found the 50th percentile looks something closer to about 10 minutes. 

“If you’re really well above 10 minutes, I think that that’s probably a pretty good place to start, trying to find ways to make improvements,” Powell said. 

Powell said the next category, mean time to recovery, is the most valuable metric and the one organizations should focus on lowering. Companies in the 50th percentile have a mean time to recover of under an hour. 

For the third category, Powell explained monitoring throughput is more valuable than trying to match some other organization that builds software in a different paradigm. 

Lastly, success rate depends on what is being measured. Powell said companies should be looking at 90 to 95% success rate for their main branches. The success rate can dip lower for the feature branches that deal with building cutting-edge software. 

There are some proven ways in which to create a more successful DevOps environment that were outlined by Contentful’s Tupchiy.

One way is to form an internal engineering productivity team and to standardize data sources to define what is applicable and what can be scrapped. 

Engineering teams should also act on the insights and tie in the KPI data with other engineering business systems. 

To learn more about the practices and metrics that will help teams build better software and faster in 2021 watch the webinar here.

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