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InfoQ Homepage News Dr. Nicole Forsgren on the DORA & Google Collaboration on the New Accelerate State of DevOps Report

Dr. Nicole Forsgren on the DORA & Google Collaboration on the New Accelerate State of DevOps Report

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DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) and Google Cloud will conduct original research to be delivered as The Accelerate State of DevOps Report focused on software developer issues. The research aim is to surface new findings that provide guidance for improvement in resource management, productivity and quality of technology delivery teams.

DORA institutes a scientific approach to software development, product management and organisational transformation through the use of data-driven research methodologies and the creation of evidence-based tools aimed to help companies understand how to transform their practices.

InfoQ asked Dr. Nicole Forsgren, DORA CEO and co-author of the recently released book 'Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations', to elaborate on the announcement:

InfoQ: In the announcement you say the research is directed at discovering "what issues matter most to developers". Since this is a DevOps report, will you be including other roles?

Dr. Nicole Forsgren: Absolutely! We will of course be addressing teams throughout the software delivery pipeline. As more work is automated (e.g. infrastructure as code among IT operations professionals), there's an opportunity for everyone to be a "developer". This in no way excludes anyone from the participating in the survey or reports like those we have conducted in the past.

InfoQ: The State of DevOps Reports were produced in partnership with Puppet over the last six years, and this announcement acknowledges the move from Puppet to Google Cloud as your key partner. How will you be leveraging the data and insights you have collected during the time the State of DevOps reports have been running?

Forsgren: Much of this year's report will be conducted as it has in the past: in an iterative way, building on what we have found in previous reports, while investigating new practices and processes to identify what really drives and impacts high performance.

InfoQ: In the 2017 report, a key section was that on the subject of transformational leadership. How will the new research continue to explore the roles of leaders and management in technology delivery success?

Forsgren: We are still finalising research design for this year's report, so I can't say for sure, but we will surely investigate key cultural and organisational factors that drive software delivery performance and organisational performance. I'm not sure if we will dive into transformational leadership again, because we had such strong findings last year, and have covered those in depth in Accelerate.

InfoQ: In previous reports, the correlation between a high performing IT organisation and a high performing organisation was established. As time goes on, more organisations are connecting the activities within technology and the "business". How will the research also address roles that span both business and technology (e.g. product owners) and how technology and business groups work together?

Forsgren: In the reports where I am lead investigator, we found that software delivery performance is a key predictor of organisational performance. As I mentioned above, we have not yet finalised research design for this year, but I will note we did find that lean product management drives software delivery and organisational performance. We discuss all of this in depth in Accelerate.

InfoQ: Do you expect to reach a wider or different audience with the partnership with Google Cloud?

Forsgren: We are very excited about our new research collaboration with Google Cloud because of their commitment to openness and knowledge sharing, their strong background in research into factors that drive IT transformation and their fantastic contribution to open technology. Any differences in audience and recruitment will be addressed in my research design.

InfoQ: In the announcement, it says: "Google is also looking at other factors that drive IT transformation and openly sharing their research findings." Are you able to give a couple of key examples of these findings?

(Forsgren asked Cornelius Willis, Google Cloud Platform's (GCP) global lead for technical product marketing to answer, whilst noting Google's reputation for contributing to and sponsoring rigorous research that spans industry and academic partners.)

Cornelius Willis: We do user research on all kinds of things. For example, we look at how customers use cloud services, how developers interact with tooling and APIs, how usage patterns of different combinations of GCP products predict project success and how we can reduce customers' costs by helping them find more efficient ways to use GCP. We've released many notable pieces of technical research over the years - work like the foundational papers on Map Reduce, Dremel and Spanner. The partnership with DORA provides us with accepted industry frameworks and terminology to describe IT transformation, so we can index our research results back to that framing. Google has a history of sharing key insights, including technical architecture, and our intent for the DORA partnership is the publishing on transformation topics in a similar manner.

InfoQ: Are you able to provide more detail on what the joint project looks like?

Forsgren: Google Cloud is a research collaborator on this project and I remain lead investigator on the project.

InfoQ: When will the first The Accelerate State of DevOps Report be available?

Forsgren: We anticipate the next Report will be released this fall.

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