High-achieving DevOps companies turn software around in 60 minutes

Survey of 30,000 IT pros separates the DevOps winners from the laggards.

Everyone seeks to perfect their DevOps efforts, with varying degrees of success. Many companies practice some rudimentary form of "DevOps," and wonder why it's still difficult to get quality software out the door. But there are some organizations that really get it, and are seeing great results as a result of their DevOps.

Also: What is DevOps? An executive guide to agile development and IT operations

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That's the finding of a recent survey of 30,000 IT managers and professionals, released by DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA), which finds progress in DevOps development. The survey's authors identified 7 percent as "elite performers," delivering software on-demand (multiple deploys per day), and making changes in less than one hour.

The distinctions between these high-end performers and the DevOps laggards are striking. Elite performers report that the time from committing code to having that code successfully deployed in production is less than one hour. By contrast, low performers required lead times between one month and six months. The average for the elites is 60 minutes, versus 26,940 minutes for low performers.

In addition, the elites have 46x more software deployments, 7x lower chqnge failure rate, and recover from incidents 2600x faster than their low-performing counterparts.

What helps separate the elites from the laggards? The DORA report authors -- Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble and Gene Kim -- looked at the cultural issues that need to be addressed to move DevOps forward. "We find that technical and management practices shape culture and that culture in turn helps to improve performance outcomes." Autonomy is a key part of the strategy, they state.

Learning is another key component of a successful DevOps culture:

In DevOps and engineering circles, this is often done through retrospectives, also called learning reviews. In the operations world, learning reviews are often performed after an incident in order to figure out how to improve the system to prevent similar incidents from happening again. In this context they are sometimes known as post-mortems. The goal is the same, however: learning how to improve. In both the Agile and ops worlds, the importance of making these activities 'blameless' is often emphasized.

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