In the most recent release of BMC Helix Dashboards, BMC introduced a new DevOps-focused dashboard, the BMC Helix ITSM DevOps Metrics Dashboard, which uses industry-standard DORA metrics to visualize how organizational software development performance impacts a service or application. In this blog post, we will introduce this new dashboard and discuss how these metrics are a powerful tool for performance optimization, not only for DevOps-driven software delivery, but also for a wider range of agile, incremental, and collaborative IT work.
What are DORA metrics?
DORA metrics were introduced by DevOps Research and Assessment, Google Cloud’s research program, to measure the state of an organization’s software delivery. They focus on some of the key characteristics identified by DORA as being critical to the performance of an organization in delivering successful outcomes based on DevOps practices.
The four key DORA metrics are:
- Deployment frequency: For the service or application being worked on, how often does the organization deploy code to production or release it to end users?
- Lead time for changes: How much time elapses between the initial commit of code into the production deployment process and its successful delivery running code in production?
- Time to restore service: How long does it generally take to restore service to users after a defect or an unplanned incident impacts them?
- Change failure rate: What percentage of changes made to a service or application results in impairment or failure of the service and requires remediation?
DORA subsequently added an additional category, operational performance, which reflects the reliability and health of the service.
DORA metrics in BMC Helix
The new BMC Helix ITSM DevOps Metrics Dashboard brings these metrics and more to life, enabling you to visualize current performance, as well as ongoing performance trends, for change activity against a service. In addition to the four key DORA metrics, the dashboard harnesses the best-in-class ServiceOps and AIOps capabilities of BMC Helix to provide an ongoing view of the health of the service.
The new dashboard also provides the viewer with valuable information about upcoming change activity, as well as additional actionable insights to help drive improvements.
DORA, of course, has its roots firmly in the DevOps world; key members of the group include Gene Kim and Dr. Nicole Forsgren. For organizations practicing DevOps, this dashboard provides the insights specified by DORA for those activities.
However, the dashboard should not be considered only for code deployment. As explained in the 2021 State of DevOps Report, “These four metrics don’t encompass all of DevOps, but they illustrate the measurable, concrete benefits of pairing engineering expertise with a focus on minimizing friction across the entire software lifecycle.”
This pairing of expert-driven optimization with reduced friction draws comparisons with ITIL® 4, which shares many of the same guiding principles that have underpinned DevOps throughout its short life: iterative progression with continuous feedback; collaboration and visibility of work; optimization; and automation.
Indeed, High Velocity IT is one of the four key practitioner books in the ITIL® 4 library, and specifically adapts the learnings of DevOps to the broader IT environment. As the book’s introduction states, “High velocity does not come at the expense of the utility or warranty of the solution, and high velocity equates with high performance in general.”
As such, we anticipate this dashboard will be of great value to organizations that are active adopters and practitioners of DevOps, as well as any technical organization seeking to implement more changes more quickly and iteratively with greater resilience and automation. The benefits described by DORA in its 2022 State of DevOps Report apply to much more than just DevOps: “The faster your teams can make change, the sooner you can deliver value to your customers, run experiments, and receive valuable feedback.”