DevOps has proved to accelerate project times, reduce reworking and support innovation by breaking down barriers between team members, increasing collaboration and introducing higher levels of automation.
DevOps can also help IT teams meet demands from the business for faster service delivery, higher quality, increased innovation and an improved user experience.
These are all important benefits, but how do you measure them? A recent article from IDG recommends setting and using DevOps metrics that fall into four categories:
- Metrics that meet business goals
- Metrics that drive faster change
- Operational metrics
- Metrics that impact organizational culture.
Assessing Business Impact
DevOps can deliver direct or indirect business benefits in a number of ways. It may have a financial impact by helping to increase revenue or reduce the costs of a business process.
For example, DevOps can accelerate the delivery of new revenue generating services to take advantage of a time-limited market opportunity. It can also reduce the cost of developing and releasing that service — improving profit margins in the process.
DevOps can also increase customer satisfaction by delivering products or services with higher quality and reducing the risk of customer churn.
Measuring Change Processes
This is perhaps the most relevant set of metrics for IT teams — measurements that relate to the speed and quality of project releases and delivery.
These metrics help teams focus on factors such as accelerating the release of new features and improving application quality. The metrics can also be used to measure the return on investment in automation processes.
Measuring the change in lead times is a key metric — how much faster is the lead time between request and delivery, or the time to implement a change? Teams can also measure changes in the number of successful releases over a period of time, such as a month or a quarter.
Automating test processes can help improve the duration and quality of test results. By measuring the number of defects discovered and fixed, or the reduction in testing time, teams can assess the contribution of automation.
Calculating Operational Performance
DevOps techniques can be used to reduce downtime or improve operational performance. For example, if users have experienced slow application performance or downtime through application failure or service availability, Metrics related to accelerated fault discovery and remediation are relevant here.
Measuring the impact on downtime of automating monitoring and notification, and linking fault logs to automated testing procedures is also important.
IT teams are under constant pressure to control and reduce costs. By measuring how automation reduces the time and resources required for development projects, teams can demonstrate how DevOps contributes to cost control.
Assessing Organizational Impact
Organizational impact is the least tangible benefit of DevOps, but it is possible to measure the effects. For example, user surveys can be used to assess the change in employee satisfaction following the introduction of DevOps.
DevOps can also reduce the number of meetings required to maintain project progress as teams operate in a more collaborative way. Measuring the change in meeting duration and frequency can indicate the impact of change.