DevOps transformation essentials: “You cannot improve what you cannot measure”
How can you tell if a DevOps initiative is successful? What do teams need in order to collect and view information from DevOps tools along the pipeline and how can we make the process easier? We talked with Anders Wallgren, Chief Technology Officer at Electric Cloud about how to simplify the process, how important are well-defined metrics to the success of a DevOps strategy and more.
JAXenter: Teams struggle to collect and report on metrics from the myriad of DevOps tools, environments and processes involved. How can we simplify the entire process?
Anders Wallgren: In today’s software-driven world, some teams could be using anywhere from a few to a few dozen different tools and processes in their software delivery pipeline. Trying to collect, report and make sense of all this data is an increasingly difficult task.
Teams require a simple, repeatable way to collect and view information from any DevOps tool along the pipeline, in the context of a single release. With all data centralized in one place, teams can gain instant insights into the status of the releases, easier troubleshooting analysis of bottlenecks or specific tasks along the pipeline, and spot trends at a glance, in real time. One such way to achieve this is by using ElectricFlow now with DevOps Insight Analytics.
DevOps is essentially a journey of Continuous Improvement – and you cannot improve what you cannot measure.
JAXenter: How important are well-defined metrics to the success of a DevOps strategy? How can you tell if a DevOps initiative is successful?
Anders Wallgren: DevOps is essentially a journey of Continuous Improvement – and you cannot improve what you cannot measure. Measurement and metrics (as well as testing and experimentation) are thus a key tenant of any DevOps transformation. Plus, sharing well-defined and measurable goals with your teams means that they have something tangible to work towards. Meeting these specific goals can be very rewarding and improve employee morale in the end.
If you want to determine whether or not your DevOps transformation is successful, you will want to look at metrics like release frequency, failure rate, Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR), cycle times, lead time, and even some of the more qualitative indicators- such as employee culture and its effect on productivity and retention.
JAXenter: What is DevOps Insight and why is it an industry-first? What does that mean for developers?
Anders Wallgren: DevOps Insight is an industry first, providing teams with automated data collection and powerful reporting to connect DevOps toolchain metrics and performance back to the milestones and business value (features, user stories) being delivered in every single release.
By extending ElectricFlow’s existing catalog of off-the-shelf plug-ins, DevOps Insight is able to pull key metrics from any tools being orchestrated as part of the end-to-end delivery process—from user story tracking and build automation to test automation and operations. A software development kit (SDK) allows teams to easily extend the solution to capture custom metrics from new tools.
ElectricFlow with DevOps Insight is the only product of its kind to give executives and technical users alike a timely, repeatable way to understand the status of their releases and the business value being delivered.
JAXenter: What should a first-aid DevOps toolkit contain?
Anders Wallgren: A first-aid DevOps toolkit should contain tools that cover every step of the software delivery process. There should be tools and processes in place for build, release, testing and QA, monitoring and an end-to-end pipeline orchestration platform to bring them all together. Most importantly, you want visibility and traceability across the entire SDLC.
JAXenter: In your view, what are the best DevOps tools right now?
Anders Wallgren: My choices are the following
- ElectricFlow (for end to end pipeline orchestration and DevOps automation, for free)
- Dynatrace (for shift-left performance testing)
- Splunk (for monitoring)
If you liked this interview, you should have a look at Anders Wallgren’s article in which he explains why measurement and metrics are a key tenant of any DevOps transformation. For more information about how to be better at DevOps, read this interview.
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