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2018 State of DevOps Report Now Available

The new State of Devops Report is available, and it is a must-read. This is the best empirical analysis I have read of the practices that make organizations effective at Software Delivery. Here’s one of my favorite examples from the study:

J-Curve of DevOps Adoption

The study tracks the typical progression of a Devops transformation in a J-Curve, from an optimistic start through the valley of despair as the team makes automation high fidelity, to the sunlight of continuous improvement. It’s great to see an understanding of the nonlinear progress.

At Microsoft, we feel privileged to be able to co-sponsor the 2018 State of DevOps Report. Our mission at Microsoft is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. This research identifies the factors that can help empower every team to deliver better software.  I was lucky enough to be asked to give early feedback to Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Gene Kim and Jez Humble on the study design. The final study certainly doesn't disappoint.

 Best of Empirical Software Research

For more than four decades, serious researchers (e.g. Boehm) have been trying to predict what makes high performance in software organizations. Usually, when I have read survey-based research, I’ve joined a chorus screaming: Context! Sampling bias! Misleading methods! Hocus-pocus!

That’s not my reaction to the 2018 State of DevOps Report. You may have read Accelerate, in which the authors reported previous five years’ findings. Building on that data, with comparisons year over year, the 2018 Report goes much farther. Where previous years identified the differences in outcomes among high, medium and low performers, this study extends to “misguided” and “elite” performers as well. I find the authors’ willingness to retest their model unusual and helpful.

Technical DevOps Practices Covered in Greater Breadth

This 2018 research has significantly expanded the scope of work: to include practices around:

  • Cloud, Platform and Open Source
  • Outsourcing
  • Lean and Agile Practices
  • Monitoring and Observability
  • Continuous Testing
  • Managing Database Changes
  • Security

Predictive Model of Software Delivery and Operational Performance

With many studies, it can be hard to identify what factors really make a difference.  Not in this case. The Report identifies how both specific technical practices and organizational culture improve organizational performance. (In several cases, there are factors that diminish performance, such as functional outsourcing.) These relationships are summarized in the chart below.

Technical DevOps Practices Improving Performance

The study uses both technical practices and organizational culture to predict Software Delivery and Operational Performance.

I hope you’ll read the 2018 State of DevOps Report. You will a lot of prescriptive guidance on how to improve your team’s software delivery and operations.

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2018 State of DevOps Report Now Available

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