State of DevOps Report: Key takeaways + applications

Taylor Bruneaux


A solid grasp of DevOps is beneficial and a prerequisite for any team aiming to excel in software delivery. The Accelerate State of DevOps Report emerges annually as an invaluable resource, meticulously documenting the evolution, hurdles, and forward strides in the DevOps sphere. It’s akin to a navigational chart for professionals eager to refine their strategies and accelerate operational excellence.

This annual report is more than just an aggregation of data; it’s a pulse check on the industry. It provides critical insights for anyone looking to elevate their software delivery systems and set relevant, achievable goals. The insights garnered from this deep dive into DevOps trends equip teams with the knowledge to benchmark their practices against the best, anticipate emerging challenges, and seize new opportunities for improvement.

Understanding the nuances and takeaways from the Accelerate State of DevOps Report can be a game changer for those in the trenches of software development. It lays a roadmap for continuous improvement, emphasizing the steps that lead to more effective and efficient team performances and, ultimately, more successful organizational outcomes.

In this guide, we explain the State of DevOps report and how it was created and share our insights on its recent findings.

What is the State of DevOps Report?

The State of DevOps Report is a DevOps survey, produced annually, that gathers data-driven insights from thousands of developers and IT professionals worldwide. This report is pivotal in tracking the adoption of DevOps practices and their impact on organizational performance. The report outlines how high-performing teams achieve excellence in software delivery by examining deployment frequency, failure rates, DevOps tools and security practices.

Who produces the State of DevOps Report?

The State of DevOps Report is produced by a distinguished group of experts, primarily from Google Cloud’s DevOps Research and Assessment team, and significant contributions from other industry professionals. The core team is led by individuals like Derek DeBellis, a quantitative user experience researcher at Google; Amanda Lewis, who leads community development at DORA; and Dave Farley, a well-known figure in the continuous delivery community.

This report is enriched with insights from various engineering professionals, including user experience researchers, developers, technical writers, and industry advisors who contribute their extensive knowledge and expertise each year. Together, they compile a thorough analysis of current trends, challenges, and advancements in DevOps, making it an essential resource for optimizing software delivery and operational performance.

Methodology of the report

Each year, Google Cloud’s DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) team designs a survey targeting various respondents, including software developers, IT operations staff, and technical management from various industries. This survey collects quantitative and qualitative data, providing a comprehensive overview of current DevOps trends, tools, and practices. The methodology measures deployment frequency, change failure rate, and deployment recovery time - commonly known as DORA metrics.

Key insights from The State of DevOps

Recent editions of the State of DevOps Report have shed light on several critical areas:

DevOps adoption and organizational culture

The report underscores the importance of fostering a healthy culture of collaboration and teamwork to achieve DevOps success. Organizations focusing on generative culture, user feedback and a deep commitment to employee well-being show better overall performance and lower levels of burnout.

Technical capabilities and automation

High-performing teams leverage test automation, continuous integration, and flexible infrastructure to improve deployment processes and infrastructure delivery. Tools like trunk-based development and cloud technologies are essential for enhancing technical capabilities and operational performance.

Security and reliability practices

Integrating security practices early in the development stages (DevSecOps) and adopting reliability practices is key to successful software delivery. The report details how companies adopt the cloud to ensure flexibility and security.

Documentation and knowledge sharing

High-quality internal and external tech documentation supports continuous improvement and helps maintain a blameless environment. The report also highlights the importance of regular training sessions and knowledge sharing to minimize knowledge silos within tech teams.

Impact of cloud technology

Cloud adoption is a significant enabler of DevOps teams, offering the necessary infrastructure flexibility and supporting a broad range of automation tools. Public cloud environments, in particular, are associated with higher deployment frequencies and better handling of legacy environments.

Diving deep into the 2023 report with Nathen Harvey

DX’s CEO Abi Noda released a podcast with Nathen Harvey, who leads DORA at Google. Harvey gave insightful perspectives that shed light on the report’s findings. He focused on how software development approaches affect team success and developer well-being.

Here are some of Nathen’s unique takeaways from the most recent report.

User-centricity as a performance driver

One of the report’s standout findings is the focus on user-centricity. Teams that put in the effort to actively engage with user feedback and align their work to meet user needs tend to exhibit a 40% higher organizational performance.

This finding is crucial for both internal platform teams and external product development teams, urging a shift towards understanding user interactions to refine and improve service delivery.

The role of quality documentation

The report illustrates that high-quality documentation significantly enhances the effectiveness of other capabilities like continuous integration and delivery. By improving the documentation experience, organizations can see a multiplier effect on operational and software delivery performance, underscoring the value of reliable, accessible, and current documentation.

Architectural and technical flexibility

According to the report, teams that use loosely coupled architectures have greater flexibility, which enables them to implement changes more quickly and independently. These frameworks positively impacts all performance indicators, from team innovation to operational reliability.

The speed of code reviews

A critical aspect discussed in the report is the speed of code reviews. Faster code reviews are correlated with a 50% increase in software delivery performance, pointing out that improving review processes can be a significant leverage point for teams looking to enhance their delivery speeds.

Evolutions in performance metrics

Shift from MTTR to Failed Deployment Recovery Time

Reflecting a more nuanced approach to learning from failures, the report replaces the term Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR) with Failed Deployment Recovery Time, focusing on the precision of learning and improvement opportunities post-failure.

Refined change failure rate measurement

This year, the change failure rate is measured using a slider, allowing respondents to provide more precise feedback, which reflects a more detailed understanding of deployment success rates.

Reintroduction of the ‘Elite’ category

After a year’s absence, the ‘Elite’ category has reemerged in the research benchmarks, indicating a segment of teams that excel exceptionally in their DevOps practices.

Using the report for continuous improvement

Organizations can utilize the insights from the State of DevOps Report to benchmark their current practices against industry standards.

This benchmarking can serve as a foundation for continuous improvement in these vital areas:

Evaluate DevOps maturity and benchmark practices

Start by using the State of DevOps Report to determine your team’s current DevOps maturity level. Compare your processes against industry benchmarks for key metrics like deployment frequency and developer throughput. Identify opportunities for improvements in areas like failure rates and overall developer experience.

Enhance code practices and documentation

Improve version control and streamline your code review process for faster code review times. Simultaneously, internal documentation should be enhanced to reduce cognitive load, utilizing insights from the report on best practices. This should include engaging Technical Writers to ensure the creation of high-quality documentation.

Optimize tech stack and infrastructure

The transition from rigid infrastructures to more adaptable technological solutions, such as cloud technologies, that support agile practices and digital transformation. Optimize your tech stack by implementing platform technologies and automation tools to enhance deployment processes.

Develop a robust DevOps culture and training

Foster a healthy DevOps culture by adopting a community of practice and grassroots trends. Use the report’s insights to improve DevOps working practices and incorporate formal DevOps training to strengthen your team’s capabilities.

Streamline software supply chain and inter-team collaboration

Strengthen your software supply chain management using secure deployment patterns and ensure rigorous testing during deployment phases. Promote effective team interactions by clarifying roles and fostering collaboration across various teams, from service management to operations.

Continuously improve and leverage community insights

The report advises establishing continuous improvement mechanisms using feedback loops focused on critical outcomes. Leverage insights from community case studies and larger entities’ experiences shared in the report, which can be invaluable for guiding your DevOps transformation journey.

The ‘Accelerate State of DevOps Report’ is a critical touchstone for anyone intent on elevating their software development game. Packed with data-driven insights and expert analysis, this report acts as your industry GPS, directing your team toward operational supremacy.

It offers a fresh perspective on why focusing on user-centricity is paramount, underscores the indispensable role of robust documentation, and champions the flexibility that comes with loosely coupled architectures. The report lays out clear, actionable strategies for continuous improvement across your business’s cultural, technical, and strategic facets.

More than just a snapshot of current practices, this report charts the course forward, positioning it as an essential guide for those looking to make substantive gains in organizational and technical domains.

April 18, 2024

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