What’s the Current State of DevOps?

Recently, two different groups released reports on the current state of the DevOps movement. Puppet and Splunk served as primary sponsors of the 2018 State of DevOps Report, which surveyed more than 3,000 people worldwide, most of them from companies implementing DevOps.

In years past, Puppet has worked with the DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) organization on a joint report. However, this year, DORA released its own report, Accelerate: State of DevOps 2018, Strategies for a New Economy, which was sponsored by Google Cloud and a host of other tech companies. It surveyed about 1,900 professionals from around the globe.

Both are well worth reading. And in each of the reports, we found a few nuggets of information that seemed particularly interesting from our perspective as DevOps educators. Here’s a quick overview:

1. Managers and team members have very different perspectives on DevOps. When the Puppet report asked people about the DevOps practices in use at their organizations, executives in the C-suite had much rosier ideas about what was happening than managers and team members did. For example, 57% of C-level folks agreed that at their firm, “incident responses are automated.” However, only 38% of managers and 29% of team members said the same thing. The report noted, “For nearly all practices the C-suite reported higher frequency of use, in some cases with very wide discrepancies.”

2. DevSecOps is becoming more common. Many organizations are deciding that in order to do DevOps right they really need to bring security into the mix. The Puppet report broke survey results out between organizations that are more mature and those that are less mature in their DevOps journey. It found that the more mature organizations were far more likely to have some DevSecOps practices in place. In fact, “Highly-evolved organizations are 24 times more likely to always automate security policy configurations compared to the least evolved organizations.”

3. DevOps can make an organization more successful overall. DevOps advocates have long believed that DevOps practices help companies succeed, and the DORA report found evidence to support that belief. In particular, those teams that have adopted the most DevOps practices, teams which the report describes as “elite” and “high performers” have the best outcomes in terms of productivity, profitability, market share, and other measure. It stated, “Our analysis shows that elite performers are 1.53 times more likely to meet or exceed their goals for organizational performance, and high performers are 1.38 times more likely to meet or exceed their goals.”

4. Elite performers have more learning reviews. One of the key principles of DevOps is that teams have regular retrospectives, or learning reviews, where they take stock of what is going well and what is going poorly, and they attempt to learn from their successes and failures. The DORA survey analysts found that these learning reviews are most successful when organizations make changes in their tooling, processes, or procedures as a result of what they’ve learned. In addition, the report stated, “Our analysis found that elite performers are 1.5 times more likely to consistently hold retrospectives and use them to improve their work.”

5. A climate for learning is an important aspect of DevOps culture. This year’s DORA report confirmed earlier findings about the importance of supporting DevOps learning by paying for training and allowing employees to attend training during work time. “A climate for learning is predictive of performance gains,” it said. “Our research this year confirmed findings from early in our research program that a climate for learning positively affects organizational culture.”

This seems like the perfect place to mention the DevOps Institute’s certification and non-certification courses that are taught by a global network of education partners. We accredit courses on DevOps Leadership, DevSecOps, and many other areas that could help your organization achieve greater levels of DevOps and organizational success.

In addition, the DevOps Institute is working with Electric Cloud and CloudBees to field our own survey about DevOps practices. If you’d like to participate, we invite you to spend 15 to 20 minutes completing the online survey. Those who take part will get first access to the “Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report” in the spring of 2019. Also, if 20 or more people from your organization complete the survey, we’ll provide you with a complimentary snapshot of your skills profile.

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