Measuring DevOps: What You Need to Know About Change Volume


By: Mark Lewis, SVP Sales and Marketing

A meaningful DevOps transformation requires a significant investment of resources for an organization in terms of both time and money. With such an overhaul, there is an expectation the transformation will result in growth, improvement, and enhanced competitiveness. If your enterprise undergoes a transformation and still does not stand out in the crowd, was it even worth it? Selecting the right metrics to monitor in your DevOps transformation is key.

Proving value

KPIs should prove the business value of the initiative. Lead time, or the time it takes to move from concept to implementation, is the best indicator of workflow and productivity, and how change volume translates directly into a company’s competitiveness in the marketplace. When lead time is lengthy, it is a clear sign that by the time an innovation reaches the customer, it is already too late to excite the user or stand out in the market. It also says that a competitor may be moving faster than you, gaining a competitive advantage in terms of change volume. Conversely, a short lead time shows your DevOps team is adaptive and agile.

If one can capture the time at which each revision gets initiated in the code pipeline and track its progress to the last action of the deployment pipeline, you’ll have a good measure of the lead time. Spread over a span of time, the mean lead time for changes to production can also be easily measured.

What does it tell us?

The lead time for change metric is a good way of knowing how much time it takes to implement, test, and deliver code – it indicates the path between the beginning of a code commit and the resulting code moving into production. A healthy result on lead time can reveal:

  1. Good speed of deployment
  2. Success of automation and optimization of the code to delivery chain
  3. Strong efficiency of the development process
  4. Responsiveness of the company to the customer’s, or user’s, needs
  5. Fewer bottlenecks and simplification of projects
  6. Confidence of, and collaboration between, various teams from commit to deployment
  7. Possible jump in availability, performance, and scalability

Why does it matter?

Elite performers continue to accelerate their pace of software delivery, reducing their lead time for changes from less than one day to less than one hour, according to a recent Accelerate State of DevOps Report. The study showed that the elite group (20 percent of survey respondents) routinely deploy on-demand and perform multiple deployments per day. But, low performers were deploying between once per month (12 per year) and once per six months (two per year). The lead time of 24 hours for elite performers is in stark contrast to the 2,555-hour average lead time of low performers – 106 times faster.

Brace Up

It is now clear that having a good grip on change volume is a precursor to the success of DevOps. An organization can considerably increase their change volume by taking actions like automating the deployment pipelines of building and testing or releasing small and incremental features instead of big-bang releases. Such smaller chunks can keep customers happy and get them there faster, making the lives, and chains, of developers easier. It improves their degree of responsiveness to customer feedback. Using a continuous delivery process and injecting automated deployment into production are also great ways to improve this metric. And to show everyone that your enterprise has undergone a new and relevant transformation.

Ready to get started? From strategy to delivery and every stage in between, Orasi’s DevOps team will make your journey more efficient and productive.

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