2020 State of DevOps Report is here!

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With only 49 days before this very long year comes to an end, we’re thrilled to announce the 2020 State of DevOps Report is finally here. We’re in our ninth year producing the State of DevOps Report; at this point, more than 35,000 technical professionals from around the world have contributed to this body of research, the longest-running and most widely referenced DevOps research in the industry.

We want to thank everyone who took the time to complete our survey and share it with your colleagues. We committed to giving $1 to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for every completed survey, so we were able to donate $2,415 to the fund. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors — Armory, CircleCI, New Relic, ServiceNow, Splunk, and Sysdig — we donated $45,000 to organizations providing relief to our most vulnerable communities during this challenging time: WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, No Kid Hungry, and Doctors Without Borders.

Every year, we try to bring a new perspective to the DevOps conversation based on what we’re observing in the field, backed by data and statistical analysis. For the past two years, we sought to understand what it takes to scale DevOps practices across an organization. We’ve analyzed numerous technical practices, from the obvious suspects — like infrastructure automation and CI/CD — to practices that involve teams adjacent to dev and ops, such as security. As we’ve learned from the past decade of DevOps, technical practices are important, but practices that are isolated to a few teams simply aren’t enough to help organizations achieve widespread DevOps success.

Internal platforms

This year we decided to examine the structural issues that are holding organizations back, as well as new approaches to achieving DevOps agility that allow you to maintain careful governance. One major structural change we're seeing more often is the shift to internal platform teams. Unlike DevOps teams or product teams, which are responsible for the end-to-end delivery of their product, internal platform teams are responsible for providing a platform that provides the infrastructure, environments, deployment pipelines and other internal services that enable internal customers — usually application development teams — to build, deploy and run their applications.

The platform model can make application teams more efficient by allowing them to focus on their core competency of building and delivering products. It can improve governance and cost efficiency by providing a standardized toolset that is well understood and proven to work for the majority of use cases. It can provide a balance between standardization and team autonomy.

We found that use of internal platforms is higher than we thought. Sixty-three percent of respondents said they had at least one self-service internal platform. Of those who had internal platforms, 60 percent had between two and four. Almost a third of those with internal platforms had 26 to 50 percent of their developers using a platform.

organizational use

We found a strong relationship between DevOps evolution and the use of internal platforms. Highly evolved firms are almost twice as likely as mid-level organizations to report high usage of internal platforms, and are six times more likely to report high usage than low-level organizations. Are you trying to justify an internal platform team and want to understand the ROI benefits? Be sure to check out the case study written by my co-author, Michael Stahnke, VP of Platform at CircleCI, on how they measure the ROI of their platform. You’ll find it in the chapter on internal platforms in this year’s State of DevOps Report.

Change management in the DevOps era

If your company is not yet moving towards a platform approach, and it looks like too large a leap to make right now, don’t despair. You can still speed software delivery significantly by addressing change management process in your company. Our analysis revealed four different approaches to change management based on approval processes (orthodox versus adaptive), automated testing and deployment, and advanced risk mitigation techniques. The four approaches are:

  • Operationally mature. High levels of both process and automation.
  • Engineering driven. High emphasis on automation.
  • Governance focused. High emphasis on manual approvals and low emphasis on automation.
  • Ad hoc. Low emphasis on both process and automation.

Each of these approaches have different levels of change management effectiveness and performance outcomes. We found that change management effectiveness increases as organizations evolve their DevOps practices. Highly evolved firms are nearly three times as likely to have highly effective change management as firms at a low level of DevOps evolution.

The most effective change management is achieved by firms that emphasize:

  • A high degree of testing and deployment automation
  • A high degree of automated risk mitigation
  • Less rigid and much less manual approval processes
  • Writing changes in code
  • Allowing employees more scope to influence change management
  • DevOps processes and culture

Based on our survey data and analysis, we show you what does and doesn’t work, and how you can employ DevOps principles to transform change management into an effective and enabling process. These are the main things you’ll find in our State of DevOps Report this year. But there’s more — some new information on security integration, and interesting stories and examples from leaders in software delivery and systems thinking. We think you’ll enjoy reading the report as much as we enjoyed researching and putting it together. Download it here.

Alanna Brown is Sr. Director, Community and Developer Relations at Puppet.

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