Your development teams are hard at work, pushing code and developing new features. But how do you know whether or not they’re working on the right things? How do you know where the bottlenecks in your processes are, and how can you fix them?
A metric ton of metrics supposedly help you track everything your engineering org is doing — but not all are created equal. You may need to get answers to hard questions to justify new hires but don’t know how to quantify it for the execs.
That’s what DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) metrics are for. These metrics allow you to visualize how your engineering org is performing and give you the data you need to improve. While the exact metrics your company needs may vary, we’ve compiled a list of three DORA metrics tools that should help you get started. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- What Are DORA Metrics?
- Challenges in Tracking DORA Metrics
- Top 3 DORA Metrics Tools
- Metrics Alone Don’t Improve Dev Teams
What Are DORA Metrics?
The DORA team spent over seven years studying engineering organizations to learn how to measure productivity in software development. Through their research, they were able to identify four key metrics to indicate your development process’ performance:
- Deployment Frequency: This refers to how often an organization successfully releases code.
- Lead Time for Changes (aka Cycle Time): This metric tracks how long it takes for a change to be implemented when a commit is made.
- Mean Time to Recovery (aka Mean Time to Restore): This measures the time to restore service after an interruption.
- Change Failure Rate: This metric represents the percentage of deployments that result in production failures.
Using these DORA metrics, you can better understand how to reliably and efficiently deliver technology solutions and value to your clients. You can use these metrics to evaluate your DevOps team performance and the quality of your engineering teams on a scale from “low performers” to “elite performers.”
Want to see DORA metrics in action? Check out how Github, Honeycomb, and Netflix used DORA to improve their engineering org on our podcast Dev Interrupted.
Challenges in Tracking DORA Metrics
DORA metrics are a great way to quantify your engineering org’s performance, but they aren’t perfect. Like any system, if you use DORA metrics incorrectly, you’ll struggle to see the bottlenecks in your processes — and you’ll miss the mark when trying to improve developer productivity.
For example, here are four issues we’ve seen with new DORA adopters:
- Scattered systems and data: You have access to the data you need, but it comes from all sorts of different reporting tools. That means you’ll have to spend a lot of time trying to gather all related data.
- Inefficient data gathering: You have the data you need, but it’s not in an easy-to-read format. That means you won’t be able to clearly understand and visualize the issues your teams are facing.
- Manual data processing: You’ll need to analyze and process your data, which takes time. But you also have to factor in your Git and Jira data, which can be a hassle to do manually.
- Lack of context for single metrics: You have the metrics you wanted, but following just one metric doesn’t tell you the full story. A high change failure rate may suggest insufficient quality control, even though a high deployment frequency says nothing about the code or product’s integrity.
To get the most out of DORA metrics, you shouldn’t use them merely for passively tracking issues. Instead, they should inspire your engineering leaders to actively optimize their workflows — and one way to do that is with DORA metrics software.
Top 3 DORA Metrics Tools
If you’re looking to truly benefit from DORA metrics, you’ll need to use the right tools. Ideally, they should give you the metrics you need while also helping you overcome the challenges above. We know you’re excited, so without further ado, here are our top three picks for DORA metrics tools:
LinearB works with your git, project management, incident, and release management tools to generate a DORA metrics dashboard quickly and easily for teams and the entire organization. Even beyond the DORA metrics, LinearB can monitor additional KPIs that contribute to your company’s success. But we don’t just stop there. Here’s what our platform allows you to do:
- Keep tabs on crucial leading indicators like pull request (PR) size, PR review depth, PR review time, and the amount of time from deployment to production
- Improve key metrics and positively influence deployment frequency and lead time for changes
- Measure your software delivery performance with our Engineering Benchmarks, so you can see how you stack up to data-backed industry standards
Cortex is a helpful DORA metrics tool if you’re looking to better understand and refine your solutions. It helps your teams see their architecture’s big picture by compiling data from various sources. You can even quickly and easily create a scorecard in Cortex that drives your teams’ success with the help of CQL expressions and integrations. Here’s what the Cortex Scorecards can do:
- Offers several integrations and customizations so you can examine and track DORA metrics right out of the box
- Provides a template scorecard for DORA data
- Reduces the legwork needed to create your own scorecards
Leveraging DORA metrics, CTO.ai’s Insights provides you with actionable data about your company’s performance and utilization in an intuitive dashboard. CTO.ai’s Insights offer a consolidated view of your workload data across time, allowing you to analyze trends better and make intelligent choices. Here’s what you can do with Insights:
- Find the high performers in your company
- Learn to recognize the characteristics that distinguish a high-performing team from a low-performing one
- Identify the areas of improvement for underperforming teams
Metrics Alone Don’t Improve Dev Teams
DORA metrics are here to stay, but how you monitor and implement these metrics into your engineering org makes all the difference in the world. But measuring them with DORA metrics tools alone isn’t enough. And that’s exactly why we created LinearB.
Our DORA metrics software doesn’t just help you track your DORA metrics. We help you build on and improve them, boosting your devs’ productivity and overall output quality.
LinearB provides Engineering Benchmarks to work alongside DORA metrics, so you always have a complete assessment of your engineering org. Powerful tools like gitStream and WorkerB also help your dev leaders automate parts of their workflows to optimize your teams. And Team Goals allows your dev teams to see how they’re progressing and how they can improve.