The ability to deliver software faster, with fewer defects, faster resolution of problems, better allocation of limited resources—there are plenty of reasons why the DevOps approach is gaining momentum. But DevOps teams focused solely on speed and quality should keep in mind that faster development of better software is not the end of the story nor is it the raison d’être for implementing DevOps in the first place.

devops ebook cover (1)We believe that for your DevOps efforts to be a true success, you need to show more than how you resolved the conflict between operations and development to get better software results. You need to demonstrate what you do has a positive impact on the business, regardless of what you call the changes you make and the culture you build.

Our latest ebook, “DevOps Without Measurement Is a Fail,” introduces what we think are the five critical drivers of DevOps success, the first of which we’ll talk about in this post. To read about the other four drivers, along with how and what to measure to achieve that success, be sure to read the full e-book.

Tying DevOps back to the business

The first principle of the “Agile Manifesto” states that satisfying customers through continuous delivery of valuable software should be the top priority. Customer satisfaction is one example of a metric for software delivery that relates to business goals. But how can we define and measure the rest of that principle, i.e., the delivery of valuable software? What does that mean for the business?

We can define what valuable software means by relating it back to a set of measurable goals that are most important for the company. For instance, software can be valuable to the company when it helps grow the customer base, increase revenue, reduce customer service costs, or any number of other objectives.

Talk to your company’s business stakeholders and executive suite to understand what the relevant business goals are and which ones can be impacted by delivering innovative software, quickly.

Metrics to track

Depending on your industry, company maturity, market share, and other variables, key performance indicators that your software could potentially influence include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Average revenue per user
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Rate of customer churn
  • Recurring or incremental revenue
  • Renewals and/or subscriptions

Agreeing on the business goals for your software helps everyone on the DevOps team relate what they’re doing back to a measurable set of indicators of success. This data-driven approach improves decision making—from which features to include in your software, to resource allocation and the size of your DevOps team.

Asami Novak is director of content strategy and development at New Relic. Prior to joining the New Relic team, she wrote marketing and ad copy for a variety of B2B and B2C companies. Her editorial writing has appeared in WIRED and Dwell, among other publications. View posts by .

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