2015 DevOps Survey: Early Data and Demographic Gaps

The 2015 DevOps Survey has been open for a few weeks now, and thousands of people have filled it out. This year's survey builds on previous work to get at the business value of DevOps, identify practices that contribute to higher IT and organizational performance, and more. We've also added some (intentionally controversial) questions about issues that affect our work but aren’t often discussed in technical circles, such as diversity, burnout, leadership and team structure.

We've been doing the DevOps survey for four years because we have seen that applying DevOps principles and practices can help solve some pressing and difficult business problems. Whether you choose to label these principles and practices "DevOps" or not, the data we gather helps us all understand the results of putting them into place.

While it's encouraging that so many people have filled out the survey, our goal is to make the results as comprehensive and widely applicable as possible. We looked at some early results, and found there are a lot of voices that aren't being represented yet. We hope that by presenting this data early, we can encourage more people from underrepresented groups to apply.

Only 4 percent of respondents are women.

We're committed to diversifying the respondent pool, and including a significant percentage of women in the data — this isn't even representative of the tech industry. We also asked the question “What percentage of your team is women?” The average of all applicable responses was 14 percent. If you’re one of the few women in the room, we want to hear from you.

Twenty-six percent of respondents work at publicly traded companies.

Last year, we found that organizations with high performing IT were 2 times more likely to exceed their productivity, profitability and market share goals. This was the first time anyone had tied IT performance to overall business performance. Then we had an epiphany: What if we could connect IT performance to publicly available financial information? So we sent out a follow-up survey asking for stock ticker symbols. Our preliminary analysis found that publicly traded companies with high-performing IT teams had 50 percent higher market capitalization growth over three years than those with low-performing IT organizations.

We can think of no better business case for DevOps than this. But in order to make definitive claims about company valuation, we need more responses from more companies. If you work for a publicly traded company, please take 15 minutes to help us prove once and for all that IT matters to the business. Even though we can only measure the value delta of publicly traded companies, privately held companies will benefit from this data, too.

DevOps teams

We were surprised to learn that 16 percent of last year's respondents were part of a DevOps department. But even more intriguing was the fact that more than 90 percent of those working in DevOps departments are in companies with high to medium IT performance — a larger percentage than respondents as a whole..

In early results this year, 19.5 percent of respondents are part of DevOps departments, which is a 22 percent increase over last year. Being natural skeptics, we want to know if DevOps departments are doing anything differently from other IT Ops departments. We also want to determine which technical practices and cultural norms are contributing to IT performance. As Gene Kim puts it, it’s studies like this that “demystify high performance, and break it down to specific practices so that the ‘rest of us’ can replicate high-performing outcomes.”

A note on burnout

Recently, the topic of burnout in tech has come up, thanks to brave folks like John Willis. Most of us who’ve worked in tech for a while know what burnout looks like and what contributes to it: poor leadership, low trust cultures, ungratifying work, prolonged stress and unrealistic expectations. We know from last year’s analysis that job satisfaction is the number one predictor of organizational performance. We think DevOps can help improve job satisfaction, and hence, organizational performance. You can do your part by taking the survey and contributing your experience to the knowledge base that will help make IT better for everyone.

How you can help

We've got a few more weeks to improve these numbers. If you haven't taken the survey, please do. If you have taken the survey, please make sure to share it, and encourage others to contribute. There will be long-term benefits as we all learn more about how to make IT better for companies and the people who work in them — but in the short term, there are prizes! Everyone who completes the survey will be entered to win the following prizes:

Learn more

  • Editors note: Download the 2015 DevOps Report, which amplifies these findings and adds a lot more about the relationship between DevOps, IT performance, and overall organizational performance.
  • Read Karōjisatsu, John Willis' great blog post on burnout in tech
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