State of DevOps [2019]

The Current State of DevOps

As we complete its first decade, we find there are many reports available on the subject of the current state of DevOps. Most take some time to explain that there is no destination for us to reach with DevOps, that DevOps is a perpetually continuing construct, and that DevOps is a major part of your “digital transformation”. Many of these offer the parochial, self-service opinions of specific software providers and all the solutions and improvements may be obtained by using their products.

DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA)

One major exception is “Accelerate: State of DevOps – Strategies for a New Economy” presented by DevOps Research & Assessment (DORA) , and sponsored by almost twenty vendors, likely making it the most agnostic, impartial evaluation of DevOps available. According to the report’s executive summary, this report “is the largest and longest running research of its kind. It represents five years of work surveying over 30,000 technical professionals worldwide. The results allow us to better understand the practices that lead to higher software delivery performance that can generate powerful business outcomes.”

This DORA report offers some intriguing data along with observations about the current state of DevOps with some prescriptive thinking about the future.

The good news is in their “Performance Profiles” which inform us that the proportion of those surveyed who were considered “high performers” in DevOps constituted 48% of the group. 37% had elevated to the level of “medium performer” and low performers were represented by only 15% of the survey participants.

This year, for the first time, DORA has added a fourth category coming out of the high performance group. They refer to these as “Elite Performers.”

The achievements of the Elite is impressive. Examine frequency of software deployments as an example. Medium and Low performers only deploy code between once per week and once per month. Hardly “rapid.” Compare that with High performers who deploy new upgrades between once per hour and once a day. Significantly more often.

But this new Elite level of DevOps team deploys multiple times per day, often on demand.

Examining this continuum from both ends, here are some comparisons between the elite performers who are now raising the bar and setting the pace for DevOps improvement, and the low performers.

  • Elite performers perform 46 times more frequent code deployments
  • Elite lead time from commit to deploy is 2,555 times faster than low performers
  • Elite change failure rate is 7 times lower and
  • Elites are 2,604 times faster to recover from any incidents that do occur


The National Institute for Standards in Technology (NIST) defines “availability” as “ensuring timely and reliable access to and use of information” which is clearly a key element of the goals of DevOps. DORA fine tunes the definition to include, “At a high level, availability represents an ability for technology teams and organizations to make and keep promises and assertions about the software product or service they are operating. Notably, availability is about ensuring a product or service is also available to and can be accessed by your end users.”

Adding to the analysis of the Elite performers they say they are 3.55 times more likely to have a strong availability element in their practice, 1.53 times more likely to meet or exceed goals relevant to organizational performance, and 1.38 times more likely to meet or exceed their own goals.

This is great news in that it begins to more strongly correlate improvements in DevOps methodologies with improvements on overall company performance in areas such as:

  • Profitability
  • Productivity
  • Market share
  • Number of customers
  • Quantity of products or services
  • Operating efficiency
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Quality of products or services provided
  • Achieving organization or mission goals

To continue to measure this, DORA has introduced a new metric they call software delivery and operational (SDO) performance which will prove useful in tracking future progress.


The most significant outcome of having this information is the recognition that the most meaningful metrics, the most valuable way to view the progress of DevOps initiatives is to look at the quality improvements driven within the company. This will vary depending upon industry and the context in which each company performs, but we can generally view the impact in changes in the way people use their time, how well automation is providing people with more time to spend on higher-value pursuits, and reduced requirement for remediation, among others.

The question for those considering the adoption of DevOps methodologies is whether or not you have the desire for superior performance and the tenacity to see the program through.

Planning a DevOps Initiative? Let Us Help!

Struggling to achieve alignment and collaboration within your organization? Not sure how to begin? We can help. Tiempo has assisted many organizations with adopting DevOps, and completing successful initiatives with minimal disruptive. From strategy and planning to implementation, Tiempo has the resources you need to make your initiative a success.

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