Announcing the second annual data-driven CI report: shedding light on 2020 DevOps trends

At CircleCI, we have massive amounts of unique data on how technology delivery teams are currently performing. This year’s CircleCI report examines over 55 million data points from more than 44,000 organizations and 160,000 projects.

The global challenges faced in 2020 have highlighted the competitive differentiator that being a well-oiled software delivery team provides. The minute Covid-19 hit and every organization had to become not just remote-first but remote-only, many teams were forced to reckon with the number of manual processes they had in place.

Suddenly, they could no longer rely on the fact that there was a build machine under someone’s desk, and if that machine had a problem, they could just reboot it. Automation quickly became a necessity.

This idea of automation, this idea of being able to move quickly and reliably, has become not just ‘nice to have’; it’s become core to what you have to do as a software delivery team.

Seeing the need for automation, CircleCI has released the report, 2020 State of Software Delivery: Data-Backed Benchmarks for Engineering Teams, to help guide team development and software delivery decisions.


Comprehensive data on engineering team performance has identified four key benchmarks for success

We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all success metrics for delivery; every team is different. However, the software delivery patterns we’ve observed on our platform, especially the data points from top delivery teams, show key similarities that suggest valuable benchmarks for teams to use as goals.

Our comprehensive data on engineering team performance has identified these four benchmarks:

  • Throughput: the number of workflow runs matters less than being at a deploy-ready state most or all of the time
  • Duration: teams want to aim for workflow durations in the range of five to ten minutes
  • Mean time to recovery: teams should aim to recover from any failed runs by fixing or reverting in under an hour
  • Success rate: success rates above 90% should be your standard for the default branch of an application

While some teams may have business-specific reasons for choosing different metrics as goals, any effort to improve engineering productivity or process will hinge on your ability to measure your baseline metrics and make incremental improvements.

Crucial software delivery trends discovered during an anomalous year

In this report, we look closely at team performance during the peak of global economic uncertainty and collective anxiety. We present our recommendations on how technical leaders can set their teams up for success.

For instance, we suggest that leaders focus on building resilient teams and preventing individual burnout. One method for doing this is building larger teams.

Bigger teams are more flexible and can tackle new feature development, support healthy maintenance, and handle urgent issues without being swamped. Ambitious teams need both tools and people processes that can scale.

How does your team measure up to the most successful teams developing software today? Despite global challenges and interruptions to business as usual, thousands of engineering teams are collaborating better and shipping software faster than ever. Software pipeline automation, which lets teams move quickly and ship digital products reliably, has become more crucial than ever to software teams.

Download 2020 State of Software Delivery: Data-Backed Benchmarks for Engineering Teams to find out what the most successful teams are doing to build better and faster in 2020. Download the report here.