15 KPIs to track devops transformation

Start with a small handful of metrics where you can demonstrate quick wins and then move to more challenging objectives

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When you embark on a transformational journey, you need to have an endpoint in sight—some form of target. The target can and probably will change, but today, as the team is working through changes and implementing new capabilities, its members should align them with measurable goals. They can then use key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine whether and how fast the activities of the team are helping to achieve these goals.

Setting measurable goals and communicating key performance indicators is critical for devops transformations. Devops drives a new set of practices, culture changes, and new ways for IT to collaborate on development and operational goals.

It may be a significant investment for larger organizations and one that requires an ongoing review of priorities: What applications should you develop continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipelines? How do you prioritize what deployment jobs to automate? What patterns of infrastructure are worth automating with infrastructure as code (IaC)? What is the minimal standard for implementing application monitoring and continuous testing?

These are all questions of priority, but there are also questions of impact: Are you really delivering faster with devops? Is quality improving? Are applications more stable? Are you recovering from issues faster?

The art of defining KPIs is in selecting the ones that are most relevant to the goals. To get started, this article surveys 15 KPIs that you can use in your transformation program. I have divided the KPIs into four categories:

  • Business KPIs, which directly impact business goals
  • Change KPIs, which demonstrate IT’s ability to drive application, infrastructure, or service improvements
  • Operating KPIs, which demonstrate operational excellence
  • Cultural KPIs, which target how the IT organization collaborates

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