DevOps Metrics and KPIs: How To Measure DevOps Effectively?
Measuring the success of your organization's DevOps practices are largely dependent on your ability to track and quantify proper key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics that help evaluate success and identify areas of improvement.
A DevOps transformation often represents a significant investment of time, money, and resources to an organization, and can necessitate an overhaul of everything from communication to training to tools. Consequently, the ability to assess performance benchmarks in a clear and accurate way allows you to define objectives, improve efficiency, and track successes to ensure peak productivity.
The intention of a DevOps initiative is to improve collaboration and communication between development and operations teams in a way that facilitates accelerated software delivery while reducing outages, downtime, and issues that negatively impact the end user experience.
Choosing which key metrics to monitor is contingent on the specific challenges and needs of your company. DevOps KPIs should provide a comprehensive view that details the impact and business value of DevOps success. Choosing the appropriate performance metrics to track can help guide future production and technology-related decisions while justifying the implementation of existing DevOps efforts.
Having a well-defined set of goals is the best starting point for establishing key metrics. Business stakeholders should agree on which business outcomes will have the greatest return on investment, and the DevOps team should identify KPIs that will help them prioritize DevOps processes that will help those business driven initiatives.
The following list can provide basic guidance as you evaluate which performance metrics may have the most impact on the growth and development of your business.
Delivering updates, new features, and software improvements with greater efficiency and accuracy is crucial to building and maintaining a competitive advantage. The ability to improve deployment frequency leads to greater agility and faster adherence to changing users’ need.
Measuring deployment frequency daily or weekly can provide better insight into which changes were the most beneficial or what areas are still in need of improvement. A sudden decrease in frequency may be a sign that workflow is imbalanced or encumbered by other projects or staffing issues. Deployment frequency metrics that indicate steadiness or small but consistent increases are ideal for sustainable growth and development.
Change failure rate
When it comes to a subject as complex as DevOps, there is no single metric that exists as the sole indicator of success, and deployment frequency is the perfect example. Although increasing frequency seems like one of the ultimate goals of a DevOps transition for greater agility, it must be assessed in conjunction with failure rate. If the more frequent changes being deployed fail too often, the end result could be a loss of revenue and customer satisfaction.
If your KPIs indicate a higher change failure rate as deployment frequency improves, it may be time to scale back and work on long-term solutions for existing issues.
Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR)
MTTR is a key performance indicator that gauges your company's efficiency in resolving issues. The ability to evaluate the business impact and customer experience repercussion provides insight needed to fully understand and prioritize problems. MTTR measures average recovery time from failure to resolution, and provides answers about whether customers lost access, experienced errors, or abandoned the application. Improving MTTR reduces impact of said problems, costs and protects customer satisfaction.
Measuring the average time it takes for a concept to go from an idea to implementation is an effective metric for evaluating workflow and productivity. Reduced lead times indicate that your DevOps team is adaptive, productive, and capable of addressing feedback promptly.
The agile methodologies associated with DevOps should enable a short turnaround time for system changes, which allows your company to meet customer needs and capitalize on emerging trends.
The philosophy of DevOps supports making changes often, but the metrics for deployment frequency can be misleading if you're not also measuring the volume of change between deployments. The end goal shouldn't be a constant stream of minor but insubstantial changes; instead, focus on impactful updates that provide a better experience with less disruption. Tracking the amount of change with each deployment allows for a more accurate representation of progress.
Defect escape rate
Regardless of how experienced your DevOps team is, errors happen -- particularly as changes are being made. Software development requires innovation and defects should be expected and planned for as part of the process.
The defect escape rate is a metric that assesses the collective quality of software releases by evaluating how often errors are discovered and rectified in the pre-production process versus during production.
The motivating factor of innovation often involves improving customer satisfaction, and for good reason -- a seamless user experience is good customer service, and frequently translates to an increase in sales. As a result, customer tickets are an effective quantifier of the success of your DevOps transformation. Ideally, customers shouldn’t be serving as quality control by discovering errors and issues, so a reduction in customer tickets is a strong indicator of quality application performance.