What are Dora Metrics and How they help in improving DevOps performance

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·Jan 2, 2023·

5 min read

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Table of contents

  • What is Dora?
  • What are the four DORA metrics?
  • Why DORA Metrics Matter


Digital transformation has caused all businesses, regardless of their industry, to become reliant on software. This means that they must quickly adjust to customer needs while maintaining a reliable service. To do this, DevOps teams and lean practitioners must continuously improve and update their processes. DORA and Flow metrics are two tools that provide objective data to measure the performance of software delivery teams and help them improve their product. Read on to learn more about these metrics and how they can help you with value stream management. Today, we're going to talk about DORA metrics and why they're important for your DevOps team. But first, let's define -

What is Dora?

DORA stands for DevOps Research and Assessment team. Within a seven-year program, this Google research group analyzed DevOps practices and capabilities and has been able to identify four key metrics to measure software development and delivery performance.

In order to establish this useful guide for DevOps, the Google research group analyzed data from more than 32,000 international professionals in the field – next to an official DevOps report, it also released an ROI whitepaper about DevOps transformation as well as the book “Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations”, co-authored by the DORA team lead Nicole Forsgren.

Their goal was to help teams achieve high performance in software delivery by studying the practices and processes that work best.

This has revolutionized the way DevOps teams operate as these metrics create visibility and deliver actual data that can be used as a base for improvements and decision-making. These metrics are known as DORA metrics.

What are the four DORA metrics?

  1. Change Lead Time

  2. Deployment Frequency

  3. Change Failure Rate

  4. Mean Time To Recovery (MTTR)

Let's start with the first one: Change Lead Time.

Change Lead Time measures the time it takes for work on a change request to be deployed to production and delivered to the customer. In other words, it helps you understand how efficient your development process is. Long lead times may be a sign of an inefficient process or bottleneck in the development or deployment pipeline. To measure lead time, you can compare the time of the first commit of code for a specific issue to the time of deployment.

Next up is Deployment Frequency.

Deployment Frequency measures how often a team pushes changes to production. This tells you how quickly your team is delivering software – in other words, your speed. DORA found that high performing teams aim for smaller, more frequent deployments. This helps improve time to value for customers and reduces risk for the development team (since smaller changes are easier to fix if something goes wrong).

Now let's talk about Change Failure Rate.

Change Failure Rate is the rate at which production changes result in incidents, rollbacks, or failures. In other words, it tells you the quality of the code you're pushing to production. The lower the rate, the better (high performing teams have a change failure rate of 0-15%), but the ultimate goal should be to decrease the change failure rate over time as skills and processes improve. It's important to define what a failure is for your organization, since too broad or too narrow of a definition can encourage the wrong behaviors.

Last but not least, we have Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR).

MTTR is about resolving incidents and failures in production as quickly as possible. The faster you can recover, the less impact there is on your customers and business. To measure MTTR, you can look at the time it takes to resolve an incident from start to finish. The goal for high performing teams is to have a low MTTR, since it means they can recover quickly and get back to delivering value to customers.

Why DORA Metrics Matter

Implementing DORA metrics can help teams identify and mitigate potential risks. By regularly tracking metrics like change failure rate, teams can identify patterns or trends that may indicate a potential problem, and take steps to address it before it becomes a major issue. This can help to prevent downtime and minimize the impact of incidents, which can be especially critical for businesses that rely on their software for critical operations.

But DORA metrics are not only beneficial for software development teams. They can also provide valuable insights for stakeholders and management, giving them a clear understanding of the team's performance and progress. This can be especially useful for communicating with customers and clients, as it demonstrates a commitment to delivering high-quality software quickly and efficiently.

One of the key benefits of DORA metrics is that they are focused on specific, measurable goals. This makes it easy to track progress and identify areas where improvements can be made.

For example, if a team finds that their change failure rate is high, they can focus on improving its testing and quality assurance processes to reduce the number of issues in production. Similarly, if a team finds that their lead time is longer than desired, they can look at ways to streamline their development and deployment processes to speed things up.

Another important aspect of DORA metrics is that they are focused on the customer. By regularly tracking metrics like deployment frequency and MTTR, teams can ensure that they are delivering value to their customers as quickly as possible, while minimizing downtime and disruptions. This can be especially important for businesses that rely on software to drive revenue and growth.

In conclusion, DORA metrics are essential for any software development team looking to improve their performance and deliver high-quality software efficiently. So, teams need to implement DORA metrics as part of their measurement strategy to continuously improve and deliver value to customers at a faster pace.

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