By: Adam Sockel, Pluralsight Content Strategist
The Devops Research & Assessment program, or DORA as it’s better known to technologists, has become the widely accepted benchmark to better understand the software development process. The findings of the DORA program highlight that the technology industry continues to improve in recognizing how to create measurable and meaningful improvements in the lifecycle of shipping software changes in products and features.
Tools like Pluralsight Flow are helping leadership and team members alike, creating more frequent and consistent releases, reducing mistakes and testing time, and getting updates to end users faster. However, before empowering your DevOps teams to use DORA’s metrics, you have to first understand what they are and how to improve them.
Understanding DORA metrics
1) Deployment Frequency- Deployment frequency is simply how frequently your team deploys. Naturally, the frequency of deployments directly affects the frequency of changes pushed out to your end users. The key here is not just understanding how often you’re deploying, but the size of the deployments.
The more often you deploy, the smaller the code base will be which means there is less risk. This is because if errors occur, you’ll quickly be able to determine where the issues are in your deployment.
2) Mean Lead Time for Changes (MLT)- This is defined as the cumulative lapsed time from start of deployment to finish. While it’s clear what the benefits of understanding this metric is from a speed standpoint, what tools like Pluralsight Flow can help you identify are the aspects of the process that can be streamlined by showing leaders where to implement comprehensive code review practices.
For example, Flow can help highlight if your testing process is adding days or even weeks to deployment and if there are opportunities to automate aspects of testing during production, thus eliminating bottlenecks.
3) Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR)- This is the measurement of how long it takes to fix a build failure and how long it takes to restore service during a deployment. An initial urge to reduce this by any means necessary might sound like an effective improvement of metrics for your organization but understanding the problem is important first.
Pluralsight Flow can help you understand all three of the above combined metrics to better determine what aspects of the codebase are failing and why. This way, your teams will be less inclined to create simple, dirty hacks to improve MTTR which could create greater problems down the line. MTTR is a key reason why Flow can be pivotal in the successful improvement of your technology teams. Holistically understanding the why can help you more confidently implement fixes.
4) Change Failure Rate (CFR)- This is the measurement of the percentage of changes that result in a failure. Simply put, it’s the ratio of deployments to failures. Where a tool like Flow can help with this aspect is in highlighting for all members of your DevOps teams what their part of the process means to the big picture. Showing your Dev team what is happening in Production will better help them understand the impact of certain changes and why a failure may have occurred.
Providing enterprise visibility into initiatives creates a synchronized team. A holistic understanding of both your process as a team and how essential those aspects of the process are to the end product creates a greater sense of purpose and belonging for your teams. It also greatly improves your overall process.
Pluralsight Flow and DORA
We shared above a few examples of how Pluralsight Flow can help improve your orgs’ DORA metrics. Here are additional ways that creating a deeper understanding of your DevOps process can help improve your processes.
Pluralsight Flow can help improve your orgs’ DORA metrics. It provides a playbook created from customers’ own historical data from which to objectively coach devops engineers. Understanding market best practices is great but connecting those to your own data creates a truly optimal situation.
- Flow helps you map out value streams respective to Jira and Azure DevOps ticket statuses. The Retrospective Report shows lead times based on a done state of “deploy” for tickets. Flow’s ability to present devops metrics at various levels of the organization allows customers to determine how MLT varies across teams, projects, and processes.
- Flow’s Delivery Module supports MTTR in the event of outages or production bugs. Observing the “Queue Time” metric for build failure tickets allows customers to spot process inefficiencies where WIP is piling up in a waiting state, encouraging actionable conversations around factors both detrimental and beneficial to MTTR.
- Flow dynamically includes discussion and activity around Jira and Azure DevOps tickets. This allows managers to quickly familiarize themselves with the failure and support teams without causing further delays. Year over year reporting in Flow shows historical trends which can be used to substantiate investments made, or needed, to prevent such occurrences.
- Various Flow reporting tools including the Work Log Report, Code Fundamentals Report, and the Trends Report can empower your team to better understand their part of the overall process.
Constant improvement with Flow and DORA
As DORA continues to be viewed as the pinnacle of understanding the deployment cycle, it is essential for your org to have tools to reduce bottlenecks and get quality code out to end users more efficiently. When something goes wrong in your DevOps process, you need to see what broke, why it broke, and how to fix it quickly. Flow can help identify top of funnel bottlenecks in your devops workflow, ensuring a full focus on the value stream.
Expectations for devops engineering teams are growing faster than capacity—and engineering leaders are left to balance the equation with disparate, often inactionable data. Pluralsight Flow is the engineering insights solution that provides actionable insights to drive improved delivery, make better decisions, and build high-impact teams.
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