Are You Really ‘Doing DevOps?’ Or is it Just DevOps Washing?

Written by: Cordny Nederkoorn
6 min read

DevOps adoption is increasingly viewed as a requirement to remain competitive. DevOps happens at the epicenter of best practices in people, process and technology. The Jenkins community is home to many DevOps practitioners. So, in the 5th survey of the Jenkins community sponsored by CloudBees this year, we decided to broaden the survey to include more insight around what it looks like to ‘do DevOps’ well.

  • 67% of respondents say they’re doing it.

  • 58% of respondents even identify DevOps as their job title.

But are you really practicing DevOps? Or is it just ‘DevOps-washing’? To truly capture the process and technology best practices required for DevOps transformation, teams must practice both CI and CD pervasively across the business. But the data tells us this isn’t happening.

  • Continuous integration is practiced in 81% of organizations.

  • Continuous delivery is practiced in just 49% of organizations.

Do you see the gap? 67% practicing DevOps vs. 49% practicing CD. The delta is a huge area of opportunity. But the news isn’t all bad. CD adoption is on the rise up 9% from the previous year. CI adoption tipped the scales at 81%, surpassing even those claiming to practice DevOps. What’s really concerning here is that the gap between those purportedly practicing DevOps and those practicing CD is widening - even as CD adoption grows.

Because people are not practicing CD at the same rate as DevOps, they aren’t recognizing the desired value or achieving the expected return on investment on their efforts. CD is the bridge to improve delivery frequency, reduce unplanned work and achieve higher value delivery. Without that bridge you‘re left with an unautomated chasm between ‘Dev’ and ‘Ops’.

CI activities (upstream) on the left side of the SDLC are more likely to be automated while CD activities (downstream) on the right are more likely to be manual.

  • CI-centric activities are automated at a higher rate with Jenkins. 95% of build and 88% of test.

  • CD-centric activities are decidedly less automated with just 68% using Jenkins for deployment and 64% for release activities.

Ops and delivery type work is the most manual.

  • Release management is the most manual work type at 62%.

  • Change approval is 52%.

  • And Environment and Infrastructure configuration is 45%.

To achieve DevOps maturity and recognize the benefits of DevOps, end-to-end automation throughout the entire CI/CD software delivery pipeline is required. And it cannot exist in a vacuum - it must be scalable across the organization.

Cue our High Velocity Practitioners. For this analysis we scored respondents based on DevOps maturity measures. These indicators include deployment frequency, depth of automation, deployment approach and cross-functional collaboration. Respondents were then categorized using the IQR method. The top 25% are referred to as High Velocity Practitioners.

Here’s what they have in common

  1. End-to-end automation of the entire software delivery pipeline.

  2. High collaborative with teams outside the developer bubble.

  3. Are tracking and capturing DevOps metrics.

If you want to ‘do DevOps’ well and keep DevOps from becoming just another buzzword you need to automate, collaborate and measure like your life depends on it.


Unsurprisingly, we see these High Velocity Practitioners automating downstream activities at a higher rate than the survey average.

  • 30% automate governance vs the average of 18%

  • 38% automate security vs the average of 23%

  • 84% automate release vs the average of 63%


99% - nearly all - High Velocity Practitioners collaborate to plan upcoming work vs. the average of 74%. If you’re part of the 26% not partnering outside your dev teams to plan your work, in the immortal words of Bill Engvall , “Here’s your sign.”

We also see High Velocity Practitioners collaborating heavily with security teams. 67% involve security during development vs. the average of 51%. This is no surprise as DevSecOps reflects the collective shifting left of infrastructure and application security. If you want to learn more, we sponsored another fantastic survey all about DevSecOps you can check out here. In that survey Sonatype found that respondents were 338% more likely to integrate automated security when DevOps practices are mature - and this is an affinity our data bares out.


If you adopt all the habits of the High Velocity Practitioners we’ve been discussing so far - the promise is you’ll be ‘doing DevOps’ better. But how do you know? Can you tell if the changes in people, practices and technology are making a positive impact? This is perhaps the most critical question companies undergoing a true DevOps transformation must answer. Are you deploying faster? Is the code higher quality? Do you know where your pipelines are getting clogged up? Do you know why? If you can’t answer these questions DevOps really does become just a Buzzword, an initiative that the C-suite threw a bunch of money at, had rosy (if not unrealistic) expectations for and abandoned. The High Velocity Practitioners get top marks for this category once again.

  • 84% capture software delivery process metrics vs. the average of 66%.

  • 50% automation metrics and reporting with Jenkins vs. the average of 35%.

But most importantly - High Velocity practitioners who track four or or more metrics experience 8% less unplanned work than those who track no metrics at all. Drucker’s famous (and often misquoted) assertion holds true, “What gets measured gets improved.”

DevOps benefits realized by High Velocity Practitioners

So what benefits do these famed High Velocity Practitioners get as the elite class of DevOps maturity? The biggest benefit is they are deploying more often. The goal of DevOps after all is to shorten the distance between idea and end user. There are many best practices to achieve this, but the end result of them all is increased deployment frequency.

  • 30% deploy several times a week vs. 18% of average.

  • 6% deploy once per day cs. 4% of average.

  • 18% deploy multiple times per day vs. 9% of average.

  • 15% deploy on every change or practice continuous deployment vs. 10% of average.

Check out the full 2019 DevOps and Jenkins Community Report.

Stay tuned for the next blog detailing the Continuous Technology Landscape revealed by this years’ report.

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