Number of ‘elite’ DevOps organisations triples in a year, says DORA

Data driven devops

If you’re not an elite DevOps performer, maybe you’re not trying hard enough. At least that’s one conclusion you could draw from this year’s Accelerate: State of DevOps report from DORA.

The consultancy’s 2019 report – produced less than a year after it was swallowed up by Google – is based on responses from over 31,000 professionals. It brackets a whacking 20 per cent of teams as “elite” “high performers”, concluding: “This shows that excellence is possible – those that execute on key capabilities see the benefits.”

This compared to 7 per cent being “elite” a year ago. The proportion of lower performers has dropped from 15 per cent to 12, while the proportion of medium performers has grown from 37 per cent to 44 per cent. Last year’s 48 per cent bubble of “high performers” has shrunk to 23 per cent this year.

And what do these elite companies do that’s so different? “We see continued evidence that software speed, stability, and availability contribute to organizational performance (including profitability, productivity, and customer satisfaction),” DORA wrote.

Elite performers deploy code 208 times more frequently than low performers, their lead times from commit to deploy are 106 times faster, while they are 2,604 times faster recovering from incidents, and their change failure rate is seven times lower.

It may or not be a surprise, that “The use of cloud—as defined by NIST Special Publication 800-145— is predictive of software delivery performance and availability. The highest performing teams were 24 times more likely than low performers to execute on all five capabilities of cloud computing.”

But it’s also “how” you use the cloud that counts with “elite performers 24 times more likely to have met all essential cloud characteristics than low performers.” Those characteristics are, briefly: on-demand self-service; broad network access; resource pooling; rapid elasticity; measured service. Which, DORA suggested, might explain some execs frustration that they’re in the cloud, but not reaping the benefits.

The report also notes a lack of consensus on what “what it means to work in a hybrid or multi-cloud environment…hybrid is often self-denied.”

These are just a few of the characteristics of elite performers of course. The report also delved into how they succeeded on continuous delivery and fostered productivity, and noted that effective disaster recovery was a strong indicator of elite performance.

Culture is, unsurprisingly for the DevOps world, a key issue, with a “culture of psychological safely…predictive of software delivery performance and productivity.”

Meanwhile, “the strongest concentration of fully proprietary software is seen in lower performers while the lowest concentration is seen among high and elite performers.

The proportion who work in DevOps teams has grown from 16 per cent in 2014, to stay at a steady 27 per cent for the last three years. Half of the respondents were from the US, while 29 per cent were in Europe.

You can register for the full report here.