DevOps Metrics

By: Craig Cook
19th October 2022

DevOps combines practices, tools, and culture that enhance an organisation’s ability to deliver products faster than traditional processes. DevOps metrics are the data points that demonstrate the performance of a DevOps software pipeline and engineering quality.

What are DevOps metrics?

DevOps combines practices, tools, and culture that enhance an organisation’s ability to deliver products faster than traditional processes. DevOps metrics are the data points that demonstrate the performance of a DevOps software pipeline and engineering quality.

The metrics help increase efficiency by providing quantitative analysis of the teams' performance. They demonstrate actionable insights about the performance of a software development team. Also, metrics directly reveal the capabilities and processes of DevOps software development and help teams notice and remove the bottlenecks in the processes. Therefore, having the means to understand and assess the effectiveness of your DevOps practices will help teams deliver quality code faster and allow continuous improvement.

Just like the proverb says that you can’t improve what you can’t measure, it is crucial to look at several metrics. But how do you get started?

Learn about the four key DevOps metrics

Four widely recognised key metrics are used to distinguish the team's performance: Lead time, Change failure rate, Deployment frequency, and Mean time to recovery (MTTR). Let’s explore each of these metrics.

Lead time

Lead time measures the time from making a commitment and releasing it to production. This metric should be as small as possible to highlight the team’s agility. To measure lead time, teams must clearly define when work begins and ends. Teams generally start tracking lead time when development work is first scheduled in a project management tool like Jira.

Optimising this metric will motivate the team to shorten the overall time to deployment by tackling smaller chunks of work and optimising the integration of the testing process.

Change failure rate

Change failure rate refers to the ratio between unsuccessful and successful changes. Failure here includes changes that lead to service degradation or an outage that requires remediation. Such as deployment failures. High-performing teams generally have 0-15% change failure rates out of all the executed deployments. DevOps teams can use this as a measurement to track their progress. For example, the change failure rate was 50% last week due to two deployment failures. This week, it came down to 25% due to automating the deployment; the goal was to lower it by half.

To measure the change failure rate, it is necessary to know how many deployments have been attempted and how many failed in production. The team has to identify and understand the root cause of the failure. Generally, the practices that enable shorter lead times, such as test automation and working in small batches, reduce failure rates.

Deployment frequency

Deployment frequency measures the number of successful releases to production over a certain period. Understanding the frequency of new code being deployed into production is crucial to define DevOps success. High-performing teams can deploy new code into the production many times a day, while low-performing teams are limited to deploying weekly or monthly. To improve customer satisfaction, DevOps teams aim to increase deployment frequency even if the change is small.

Mean time to recovery

Simply put, Mean time to recover (MTTR) measures the time it takes an organisation to recover from a production failure. To measure this metric, you need to know when the incident happens and when the service is restored. People often misunderstand that MTTR is about the time it takes to fix a build. But it’s about assessing the capabilities of the DevOps team to respond to customer support issues. Their ability to resolve and deploy solutions quickly.

Faster MTTR enhances customer satisfaction because the decreased frequency of failures minimises the lead time. And increased deployment frequency reduces failure rate and mean time to recover.


Measuring DevOps metrics is not easy as it sounds

DevOps metrics effectively gain visibility of your current DevOps state and give you the crucial key to improving your DevOps performance. Having understood the four key metrics, have you considered how to measure your organisation’s DevOps capabilities? DevOps Capabilities are crucial to moving the dial on the four key metrics. Most organisations find it hard to gather these DevOps metrics and measurement capabilities. So what can you do? Think about getting a SKILup assessment.


What is the SKILup assessment?

The DevOps institute has introduced SKILup assessment, which defines the state of your DevOps by measuring and accelerating continuous improvement. It is a comprehensive and five-dimensional model that uses the Likert scale and heat maps to deliver insights into each dimension.

The five dimensions are:

  1. Human aspects
  2. Process and frameworks
  3. Functional composition
  4. Intelligent automation
  5. Technology ecosystem


Catapult CX is one of the only SKILup assessment consulting partners in the UK

We offer what others don’t. We help our clients to understand their DevOps metrics and analyse the data to create their Roadmap. We help teams build the best-suited DevOps model for their organisation and enable teams to improve DevOps performance continuously. So, would you be interested in measuring your DevOps capabilities and improving them simultaneously? Then contact us today.