DevOps & SRE

The 2019 Accelerate State of DevOps: Elite performance, productivity, and scaling

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DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA), a pioneer in helping organizations achieve high DevOps and organizational performance with data-driven insights, and Google Cloud are excited to announce the launch of the 2019 Accelerate State of DevOps Report. The report provides a comprehensive view of the DevOps industry, providing actionable guidance for  organizations of all sizes and in all industries to improve their software delivery performance to ultimately become an elite DevOps performer. With six years of research and data from more than 31,000 professionals worldwide, the 2019 Accelerate State of DevOps Report is the largest and longest-running research of its kind.

New insights in 2019

We saw continued evidence that software speed, stability, and availability contribute to organizational performance, and this year we were able to uncover new insights into the practices and capabilities that drive high DevOps performance. Some insights include:

  • DevOps has “crossed the chasm”: Organizations across industries continue to improve their DevOps expertise, particularly among the highest performers. The proportion of elite performers has almost tripled, now at 20% of all organizations. This confirms reports from other industry analysts.

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  • Elite performers are more likely to use the cloud: Fast autoscaling, cost visibility, and reliability are some of the key benefits offered by cloud computing. The highest performing DevOps teams were 24 times more likely than low performers to execute on all five capabilities of cloud computing defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which include on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service.

  • Most cloud users aren’t using it to its full potential: Only 29% of respondents who use cloud met all five of NIST’s above-mentioned criteria. This underscores the fact that organizations who claim to use cloud computing haven’t necessarily adopted all the essential patterns that matter for driving elite performance, which could be holding them back from reaping the benefits of the cloud.

  • For the first time, industry matters: In this year’s report, the retail industry saw better performance both in terms of speed and stability. However, consistent with previous years, we saw continued evidence that no other industry sees better or worse performance. This suggests that organizations of all types and sizes, including highly regulated industries such as financial services, government and retail, can achieve high levels of performance by adopting DevOps practices.

  • DevOps in the enterprise -- Part 1: For the first time, we found evidence that enterprise organizations (those with more than 5,000 employees) are lower performers than those with fewer than 5,000 employees. Heavyweight process and controls, as well as tightly coupled architectures, are some of the reasons that result in slower speed and the associated instability.

  • DevOps in the enterprise -- Part 2: Our analysis shows the highest DevOps performers (that is, the high and elite performers), focus on structural solutions that build community, which fall into one of these four patterns: Community Builders, University, Emergent, and Experimenters. 

  • No “one size fits all” approach, but concurrent efforts drive success: When investing in DevOps capabilities, particularly in large organizations, focus needs to be on both team-level and organization-level efforts. Continuous integration, automated testing, and monitoring are some of the efforts that work well at the team level.  Examples of organization-level capabilities include the ability to set architectural or change approval policies that span across departments and teams. The report breaks down these capabilities and outlines the strategies to adopt so you can execute on a DevOps strategy for maximum impact. 

  • Low performers use more proprietary software than high and elite performers: The cost to maintain and support proprietary software can be prohibitive, prompting high and elite performers to use open source solutions. This is in line with results from previous reports. In fact, the 2018 Accelerate State of DevOps Report found that elite performers were 1.75 times more likely to make extensive use of open source components, libraries, and platforms. 

How do you improve at DevOps?

This year’s report provides two research models to help drive DevOps improvements: performance and productivity. 

The performance research model looks at the constructs and levers you can pull to drive organizational performance, providing insights into how cloud, continuous delivery, disaster recovery testing, clear change management and a culture of psychological safety can positively impact software delivery performance. The research also finds that heavyweight change processes don't work

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The productivity research model shows that organizations can improve engineer productivity by investing in easy-to-use tools and information search, a culture of psychological safety, and by reducing technical debt. Improved productivity also helps drive better employee work/life balance and reduces burnout.

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This year’s report revalidates important findings for the sixth year in a row: First, that it’s possible to optimize for stability without sacrificing speed. Second, DevOps delivers value to customers and end users by impacting both commercial and non-commercial goals. 

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the survey. We hope this report helps organizations of all sizes, industries, and regions improve. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on the report. Here are some ways you can learn more about 2019 The Accelerate State of DevOps Report.