How to Measure the Success of Your Continuous Delivery Process

Are you following a continuous delivery process but unsure of how to measure its success? Congratulations! You're on the right track! Continuous delivery is a crucial aspect of modern software development, helping teams to deliver more quality software, faster. But continuous delivery can only be successful if the right metrics are in place to measure its performance.

Continuous Delivery: A Brief Overview

Before diving into metrics, let's briefly go over what continuous delivery is. Continuous delivery is an approach to software development that involves delivering working software to users as quickly and efficiently as possible through a release pipeline. Continuous delivery starts with developers writing and committing code, followed by automated testing, building, and deployment, until the code reaches production.

Continuous delivery helps reduce the risk associated with releasing code by allowing developers to release small, frequent changes. As a result, they can receive feedback from users quickly, address issues faster, and integrate new features efficiently.

Metrics to Measure Success

Once you implement a continuous delivery process, the next step is to measure its success. Measuring success will give you an idea of whether your continuous delivery process is working as intended, and where improvements need to be made. Here are some metrics to consider.

1. Lead Time

Lead time is the time it takes from code commit to the code being released to production. This metric is essential because it measures the efficiency of your delivery pipeline. The shorter the lead time, the quicker the feedback loops between development and deployment.

To calculate lead time, you need to track the time it takes for a commit to reach the production environment. It's important to note that in some cases, lead time can be affected by third-party dependencies, infrastructure issues, and other factors outside of a team's control.

2. Deployment Frequency

Deployment frequency measures how often developers deploy code changes to production. The higher the deployment frequency, the more changes are released, improving the delivery pipeline's throughput.

Deployment frequency can also help identify bottlenecks within the pipeline, causing slower releases. If the deployment frequency is decreasing, it's a sign that the pipeline needs improvement.

3. Failure Rate

Failure rate is the percentage of deployments that result in failure. A high failure rate indicates problems in the pipeline, affecting the delivery of high-quality working software.

To reduce failure rates, teams need to identify the root cause of failures and take appropriate actions. This means troubleshooting any infrastructure issues, fixing the failed test cases, and continuously iterating on the delivery pipeline to improve its reliability.

4. Time to Recover

Time to recover measures the time it takes to fix a failed deployment. It is a crucial metric because it determines how quickly the system can return to a stable state after a failure.

Long time to recover metrics need to be identified and fixed quickly, as they can indicate that the team is either unable to identify the problem or lacks the proper tools and procedures to resolve the issues effectively.

5. Change Failure Rate

Change failure rate is the percentage of code changes that result in a production failure. Low change failure rates are a sign that code quality is high and that your deployment pipeline is working correctly.

High change failure rates indicate that the build, test, and deployment process is not working correctly, so it may be necessary to review the entire delivery pipeline.

6. Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)

Mean time between failures, or MTBF, is the average time between failures of a system. This metric measures how reliable the system is.

A high MTBF metric indicates high system reliability, which means that there are fewer failures and higher availability of the system. By contrast, a low MTBF metric indicates frequent downtime and poor performance.

7. Defect Escape Rate

Defect escape rate measures the percentage of defects that escape into production. A high defect escape rate indicates that there are issues with the testing and validation process.

Reducing the defect escape rate requires improving the testing process, increasing tests' scope, and ensuring that the testing environment is identical to the production environment.

8. Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction measures how pleased customers are with the software being produced. This metric is essential because it's a reflection of the software user experience.

Measuring customer satisfaction requires feedback from users, either through surveys or user reviews. Customer satisfaction is a reliable measure of the software's success because it measures how well the software meets users' needs.

Choosing the Right Metrics

Choosing the right metrics is essential to measure success accurately. It's essential to identify the metrics that align with your team's goals and expected outcomes. For example, if your goal is to reduce time to market, then lead time and deployment frequency would be the essential metrics to track.

It's also important to understand that not all metrics are created equal. Metrics should be viewed as a holistic approach that gives an overall picture of how the delivery pipeline is performing. One metric can provide insight, but it should be viewed in the context of the other metrics to make an informed judgment.


Measuring the success of your continuous delivery process can help you identify problems and optimize your pipeline. While there are several metrics to track, it's essential to choose the ones that align with your team's goals and expected outcomes.

Remember that metrics should be continually evaluated and iterated upon to ensure they are still accurate and provide value. Stay on top of your metrics and keep measuring to ensure your continuous delivery process is continually improving.

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