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10 OKRs for highly effective DevOps teams

James Bohrman ‚ÄĘ
#okrs#strategy#devops

DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development and IT operations. It emphasizes collaboration and communication between development and operations teams, and the use of automation tools to streamline the software delivery process. Effective DevOps teams are essential for companies to release high-quality software products quickly and efficiently.

To measure the effectiveness of a DevOps team, it is important to set Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) that align with the company’s overall business goals. In this article, we will explore 10 OKRs that DevOps teams can use to improve their performance and deliver value to their organization.

Why DevOps teams need OKRs

OKRs are essential for DevOps teams to align their objectives with their company’s overall business goals. OKRs help to focus the team’s efforts on the most important metrics and encourage collaboration and communication between team members. Setting OKRs helps to establish clear expectations and define what success looks like. This leads to better performance and improved outcomes for the organization.

10 OKRs for Highly Effective DevOps Teams

Here are 10 key OKRs that can help DevOps teams achieve high performance and drive better outcomes for their organizations. These OKRs cover a range of key metrics, from deployment frequency to employee engagement, and provide actionable goals that can be measured and tracked over time.

1. Increase deployment frequency

One of the most important DevOps metrics is deployment frequency, which measures how frequently software is deployed to production. The DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) framework shows that high-performing DevOps teams deploy code more frequently and with fewer failures. An OKR for DevOps teams could be to increase the deployment frequency by 50% in the next quarter, using automation tools and continuous delivery pipelines to reduce the time it takes to deploy code. This OKR is important because it ensures that software is delivered to end-users faster, improving the organization’s ability to respond to changing market conditions.

2. Reduce Lead Time

Another important metric from the DORA framework is lead time, which measures the time it takes to go from code committed to production deployment. A DevOps team could set an OKR to reduce lead time by 25% in the next six months by streamlining the development and delivery process and implementing best practices such as code reviews and testing automation. This OKR is important because it helps the organization to deliver value to customers more quickly, making the organization more responsive to market demands.

3. Decrease Change Failure Rate

The DORA framework also measures change failure rate, which is the percentage of deployments that result in failures or defects. A DevOps team could set an OKR to reduce the change failure rate by 50% in the next year by implementing automated testing and quality assurance measures and improving collaboration between developers and operations. This OKR is important because it ensures that software is delivered with fewer defects, improving the customer experience and reducing the cost of fixing defects after deployment.

4. Increase Security Posture

The MITRE ATT&CK framework is a well-known methodology for assessing and improving cybersecurity. A DevOps team could set an OKR to improve the security posture of their systems by achieving a score of 90% or higher in the MITRE ATT&CK evaluation within the next year. This OKR is important because it ensures that the organization’s systems are secure and protects against data breaches and other security incidents that could harm the organization’s reputation and bottom line.

5. Enhance Test Automation

The DORA framework emphasizes the importance of continuous testing throughout the development and delivery process. A DevOps team could set an OKR to enhance continuous testing and achieve a test automation rate of 90% or higher within the next six months. This OKR is important because it ensures that software is tested thoroughly and reliably, reducing the risk of defects and failures in production.

6. Enhance Monitoring

The MITRE Metrics framework focuses on the importance of real-time monitoring and analysis of system performance and security. A DevOps team could set an OKR to enhance monitoring by implementing real-time monitoring and alerts for critical systems and applications, and achieving a mean time to detect (MTTD) of critical incidents of less than 5 minutes within the next quarter. This OKR is important because it ensures that the organization is aware of issues in their systems as soon as they arise, allowing them to respond quickly and minimize the impact on the organization and its customers.

7. Improve Mean Time to Resolution

Another important metric from the MITRE Metrics framework is mean time to resolution (MTTR), which measures how quickly incidents are resolved once they are detected. A DevOps team could set an OKR to improve MTTR by 50% in the next six months by implementing automated incident response and improving collaboration between developers and operations. This OKR is important because it ensures that the organization is able to quickly resolve incidents and minimize the impact on the organization and its customers.

8. Increase DevOps Automation

The DORA framework highlights the importance of automation in DevOps processes. A DevOps team could set an OKR to increase the level of automation in their processes by 25% in the next quarter, using tools such as Ansible, Chef, and Puppet to automate tasks such as deployment, testing, and infrastructure management. This OKR is important because it reduces the time and effort required to perform routine tasks, allowing team members to focus on more high-value activities.

9. Increase Collaboration.

Collaboration is a key aspect of the DevOps philosophy, and improved collaboration between development and operations teams leads to better outcomes. A DevOps team could set an OKR to increase collaboration by 50% in the next quarter by implementing tools such as Slack or Microsoft Teams to facilitate communication and collaboration between team members.

Adding to the discussion on collaboration, a great way to track collaboration efforts is by using Distilled’s Zapier application. By using the Distilled Zap along with the Slack trigger, teams can create a measurement by saving a Slack message when they notice an instance of positive collaboration and then track these occurences in the platform. This is an excellent way to keep track of positive collaboration moments and identify areas where improvements can be made.

Using the Zap template is an easy process. Once the template is set up, team members can save positive collaboration moments in Slack by simply reacting to the message with a specific emoji, which triggers the Zap to save the message and relevant details in the OKR tool. This process enables team members to track and measure the progress of their collaboration efforts, making it easier to identify areas where improvements are needed.

By tracking positive collaboration moments, teams can identify areas where they are excelling and areas where improvements need to be made. This information can then be used to set collaboration-related OKRs and track progress towards meeting those objectives. Additionally, tracking positive collaboration moments can help to boost team morale and encourage team members to continue working collaboratively.

10. Improve Employee Engagement

The well-being and engagement of team members is crucial for a high-performing DevOps team. A DevOps team could set an OKR to improve employee engagement by achieving an employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) of 80 or higher within the next year. This OKR is important because it ensures that team members are satisfied and engaged, leading to higher performance and better outcomes for the organization.

Once the DevOps team has set their OKRs, it is important to track progress towards achieving these goals. One way to do this is to use a tool such as Distilled, which allows teams to track and monitor their OKRs in real-time. To track progress towards an OKR for eNPS, a team could use the Zapier application to create a measurement that is connected to an eNPS software, such as Qualtrics.

When a new eNPS survey response is received in Qualtrics, the Zap can create a measurement in Distilled that reflects the eNPS score. This measurement can then be used to track progress towards the eNPS OKR.

By using this method, the DevOps team can see in real-time how they are progressing towards their eNPS goal. They can also identify areas that need improvement and take action to address any issues that are impacting employee engagement. Tracking progress in this way allows the team to make data-driven decisions and ensures that they are staying on track to achieve their OKR.

Conclusion

DevOps teams play a critical role in delivering high-quality software products quickly and efficiently. To be effective, these teams must set objectives and key results (OKRs) that align with their company’s overall business goals. The 10 OKRs discussed in this article cover essential DevOps metrics, such as deployment frequency, lead time, change failure rate, security posture, continuous testing, and monitoring, as well as collaboration efforts.

Effective DevOps teams track these metrics and use the data to set and achieve OKRs, which leads to better performance and improved outcomes for the organization. By implementing these OKRs, DevOps teams can ensure that they are delivering high-quality software products quickly and efficiently, improving the organization’s ability to respond to changing market conditions.

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