November 15, 2023
How to Achieve Elite DevOps Maturity
By establishing clear goals, seeking specific outcomes, and continuously improving across the SDLC, organizations can master DevOps and reap the rewards of elite maturity.

In today's fast-paced digital landscape, organizations are constantly seeking ways to accelerate their software development processes while maintaining product quality. DevOps has emerged as a popular methodology that enables companies to achieve these goals by breaking down silos and improving collaboration across all groups involved in the development process. However, reaching the elite level of DevOps maturity requires a strategic and systematic approach.

Basic Principles of DevOps

DevOps relies heavily on automation and established best practices to streamline the software development life cycle (SDLC). Its primary goals center around accelerating time-to-value and upholding product quality. By following these principles, companies are able to develop technology faster and gain a competitive edge.

Levels of DevOps Maturity

The DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) program, a part of Google Cloud, defines four levels of DevOps maturity: low, medium, high, and elite. According to the 2021 State of DevOps Report by Puppet, only 18 percent of organizations surveyed fall into the elite category, while 78 percent tend toward the explore category. This indicates that most enterprises have a long way to go in their DevOps journey.

Advantages of the Elite Level of DevOps Maturity

Organizations that reach the elite DevOps maturity level experience a number of advantages, including:

  1. Anytime assessments of current DevOps ecosystems
  2. Elevated customer experiences
  3. Data-driven approaches to root-cause analysis and self-healing applications
  4. Guardrails for security, compliance, and governance
  5. Enhanced security through DevSecOps
  6. Faster solution implementations
  7. Enriched analytics with actionable insights

These advantages are worthy goals and achievable for enterprises in the middle of the DevOps maturity ladder.

3 Steps to Achieve the DevOps Elite Level

To reach the elite DevOps maturity level, enterprises must follow three essential steps:

1. Assess the Current Level and Create Objectives

To achieve better results from DevOps, it is important to identify the current maturity level. This can be done by evaluating the current practices and tools being used. Once the current level is determined, objectives can be set to guide the organization in moving up each level. All efforts should drive toward achieving elite status.

2. Set and Push for Data-Driven Goals

To progress across the DevOps maturity levels, specific, data-driven goals should be sought in the following performance categories:

  1. Deployment frequency: The frequency at which code is deployed into production.
  2. Lead time for changes: The time it takes from committing code to running it successfully in production.
  3. Time to restore service: The average time it takes to restore service.
  4. Change failure rate: How often deployment failures occur in production that requires immediate remedy.

The goals in each category will vary depending on the current maturity level. The following table provides an example of the outcomes to target in each category:

Metrics Low Medium High Elite
Deployment Frequencies Once per week - Once per month Once per week - Once per month Once per day On-Demand (Multiple Deploys per day)
Lead Time for Changes 1 - 6 months 1 week - 1 month 1 day - 1 week <1 hour
Time to Restore Service 1 week - 1 month <1 day <1 day <1 hour
Change Failure Rate 46 - 60% 0 - 15% 0 - 15% 0 - 15%

The elite DevOps maturity level may seem out of reach for organizations with low to medium maturity levels, but it is achievable by gradually moving up the maturity ladder.

3. Strive to Achieve Outcomes

To progress towards elite DevOps maturity, organizations should strive for the following outcomes:

  1. Value stream management: Optimize the value stream by managing requirements, idea delivery, and other variables for maximum productivity and efficiency.
  2. Continuous measurement: Measure software reliability and time-to-market to understand progress and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Continuous compliance: Automate compliance processes to ensure continuous adherence to security and regulatory requirements.
  4. Continuous governance: Merge AI-driven insights and recommendations with each outcome to produce a continuous governance engine.

By following these three steps, organizations can start their journey towards achieving elite DevOps maturity.

Start Your Journey to Elite DevOps Maturity

DevOps is more than just a methodology for accelerating software engineering. It is a culture that removes silos and bottlenecks, enabling organizations to gain agility, speed, and a competitive advantage. Reaching the elite DevOps maturity level requires the implementation of effective tactics that can be referenced, scaled, and repeated across people, processes, and technologies.

By establishing clear goals, seeking specific outcomes, and continuously improving across the SDLC, organizations can master DevOps and reap the rewards of elite maturity. Don't wait to get started on your journey to elite DevOps maturity. Seek the guidance of DevOps experts who can set you on your way.

Remember, achieving elite DevOps maturity is a continuous process that requires dedication and a customer-centric approach. With the right strategies and mindset, your organization can leverage DevOps to transform its software development practices and drive success in the digital age.