Google Cloud and DORA recently came out with the latest version of the “2022 State of DevOps Report.” The report explores how organizational capabilities and DevOps practices impact outcomes central to DevOps. These outcomes are categorized into three pillars:
- Software delivery performance: Deployment frequency, lead time for changes, change failure rate, and time to restore service.
- Operational performance: Reliability goals.
- Organizational performance: Profitability goals.
Below, we recap what we consider to be the most interesting takeaways from this report.
1. Reliability is a key driver of organizational performance
This year’s report dedicated an entire section to (and introduced a new metric related to) reliability. The report stated that, “Both the practices we associate with reliability engineering (e.g., clear reliability goals, salient reliability metrics, etc.) and the extent to which people report meeting their reliability expectations are powerful predictors of high levels of organizational performance.”
It went so far as to say that you cannot decouple reliability from overall organizational performance — software delivery performance does not benefit an organization if reliability goals aren’t met: “High software delivery performance is only beneficial to organizational performance when operational performance is also high. Delivering quickly might not matter if your service is unable to meet users' reliability expectations.”
Everybody talks about reliability, but very few people truly focus on it. Our own reporting found that as many as 98% of organizations report they face challenges delivering highly reliable cloud applications. Adding this new metric related to operational performance and reliability is a significant step forward. If you’re not measuring reliability, it’s pretty hard to know whether you are improving it over time.
We’ve dedicated our entire business to solving cloud reliability issues so teams can focus more on creating innovative products and solutions to drive the business forward — and spend less time chasing solutions for reliability issues.
2. Company culture impacts SRE practices
The State of DevOps report also found that an investment in SRE doesn’t automatically achieve reliability. Teams must achieve a certain level of SRE maturity before impacting reliability metrics. But on the path to maturity, teams are susceptible to cultural issues that can greatly impact success.
The report specifically called out a cluster of respondents that achieve high organizational performance — but at great cost, including high burnout rates, susceptibility to errors, and teams who are burdened with more unplanned work
These costs lead to other organizational issues (churn, trouble hiring, etc.) and prevent a business from scaling to its full potential.
The State of DevOps report has time and time again highlighted the importance of company culture and labeled culture as foundational to an organization’s overall success (particularly within DevOps) and the well-being of its employees. In our own experience — and through our reporting — we’ve found that toil and burnout are major drivers of turnover within on-call and SRE teams. In our Benchmarking Production Operations Report, we found that nearly half of all incidents on-call employees deal with are repetitive, and only 27% of employees find on-call work fulfilling.
But low job satisfaction is preventable. With automation, we can reduce toil and free up time for employees to work on high-value projects that bring them more fulfillment. That’s one of Shoreline’s biggest goals — automate away mundane tasks to reduce toil and let employees focus on innovation. Enlisting the help of a tool like Shoreline can improve job satisfaction and contribute to a better culture within your operations team.
3. Teams must adopt a philosophy of continuous improvement
The report also emphasized the importance of continuous improvement, stating, "To make meaningful improvements, teams must adopt a philosophy of continuous improvement. Use the benchmarks to measure your current state, identify constraints based on the capabilities investigated by the research, and experiment with improvements to relieve those constraints.”
Teams that adopt a culture of continuous improvement are more likely to realize the ROI from DevOps practices.
This directly echoes the sentiments shared by our founder Anurag Gupta. Solving all of an organization’s issues — particularly related to reliability — can seem like an impossible task at first. But approaching it from an angle of continuous improvement breaks a massive issue into more manageable chunks. Small improvements week over week add up. Say you typically get 100 support tickets a week. If you categorize those tickets by issue and focus on fixing one issue per week, you’ll see the number of tickets in a typical week gradually decline.
Focusing on continuous improvement is the key to helping operations teams shift from a constant state of firefighting to a more balanced, forward-focused workload.
Improve reliability and culture with Shoreline
Bottom line: The findings from The State of DevOps report underscore the importance of a cloud reliability platform like Shoreline. Shoreline tackles two key areas that improve overall organizational success: reliability and culture.
Not only does our cloud reliability platform impact what Google Cloud and DORA call the “fifth metric” of DevOps success — reliability — it also can tangibly improve some of the major factors that lead to SRE burnout and turnover.