More Harm than Good? on Dora Metrics, Space, and Devex

According to a DZone article, DORA matrices can lead to an endless cycle of failure to deliver on time, because only speed is measured by DORA matrices, not on-time delivery. This all can further convert to developer burnout leading to tougher expectations, and then more failure in development over time.

The main problem in measuring developer enablement is how easy it is to add features and maintain our service. Good tools specialists, enablement engineers, and qualified people can get great results for the right team, but measuring what they do is very difficult.

To discuss the role of DORA metrics in checking team health, we must approach the most thorny question: whether DORA metrics are an effective tool for evaluating platform engineering. My theory is that you can’t evaluate your platform engineering team based on DORA metrics.

Limitations of DORA metrics

Limitations of DORA metrics include:

  • Reductionism: DORA metrics focus on a limited set of indicators, which can oversimplify software development and delivery. This can hide important aspects like customer satisfaction, team dynamics, and long-term sustainability.
  • Uncertainty: DORA metrics don’t explain what to do when the metrics change. This can cause uncertainty for developers because they don’t know what happens when deployment frequency slows down or the change failure rate increases.
  • Misuse: Misusing DORA metrics or focusing too narrowly can lead to a skewed understanding of developer productivity and platform engineering effectiveness.
  • Culture of fear: Using DORA metrics for punitive measures can create a culture of fear, damage team morale, and discourage innovation.

Also Read:- Vyvymanga: Your Ultimate Destination for Manga | Still Being Tested as an app NYT

Difference between Dora and space metrics

While DevOps Research and Assessment targets the ‘how’ of development, SPACE focuses on the ‘who’.

DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) mainly focuses on optimizing DevOps processes, measuring technical efficiency, and improving:

  • Deployment Frequency (DF): How often do you deploy code to production?
  • Lead Time for Changes (LT): How long does it take to deliver code changes to production?
  • Time to Restore Service (TRS): How quickly do you recover from failures and outages?
  • Change Failure Rate (CFR): How often do deployments cause failures in production?

While, SPACE (Satisfaction, Performance, Activity, Collaboration, and Efficiency) is like a team wellness program, evaluating team capabilities, satisfaction, well-being, and performance, providing insights into:

Satisfaction & Well-being: How happy and engaged is your team? (Think: “Are they enjoying their work and feeling motivated?”)

  • Performance: How effective is your team in delivering quality work?
  • Activity: How efficiently do teams manage to do tasks and workflows?
  • Collaboration & Communication: How well do teams work together and communicate with each other?
  • Efficiency & Flow: How optimized are your processes and resource utilization? 

4 key metrics of Dora DevOps

DORA metrics for DevOps mainly focus on four critical measures:

  1. Frequency of deployments
  2. The interval between deployment and acceptance 
  3. How frequently do deployments fail
  4. How long it takes to restore service—or recover from a failure

Deployment frequency

DevOps teams generally deliver software in smaller, more frequent deployments to reduce the number of changes and risks in each cycle. More frequent deployments allow teams to collect feedback sooner, which leads to faster iterations.

Deployment frequency is the average number of daily finished code deployments to any given environment. This is an indicator of DevOps’ overall efficiency, as it usually measures the speed of the development team and their capabilities of automation.

Reducing the amount of work or the size of each deployment can help increase deployment frequency.

Lead time for changes

Lead time for changes measures the average speed at which the DevOps team delivers code to deployment. It indicates the team’s capacity, the complexity of the code, and DevOps’ overall ability to respond to changes in the environment.

This metric can help businesses to quantify code delivery speed to the customer or business. For example, some highly skilled teams may have an average lead time of some hours for changes, whereas for others, it may be some weeks.

Reducing the amount of work in the deployment, improving code reviews, and increasing automation can help reduce lead time for changes.

Change failure rate

This rate is the percentage of deployments that cause a failure in production. Deployment frequency and lead time for changes are suitable measures of DevOps automation and capabilities, but only if those deployments succeed. The change failure rate is a countermeasure to speed.

This metric can be challenging to measure because many deployments, especially critical response deployments, can generate bugs in production. Understanding the severity and frequency of those issues helps DevOps teams measure stability against speed.

Reducing work as well as increasing automation, can help reduce failure rate.

Time to restore service

The production environment is critical when something goes wrong.DevOps teams must be able to respond rapidly with the below instances:

  1. Bug Fixes
  2. New Code
  3. Updates

A response plan helps the teams understand how to address problems before they emerge, ultimately decreasing the time to restore service.

Must Read:- Apple Stock Fintechzoom | your peels: unlocking the nutritional benefits

Measuring Software Developer Productivity

A developed system is essential for measuring developer productivity. There are three types of metrics to consider:

  • System Level Metrics: These are broad metrics, such as deployment frequency, which give an overview of the system’s performance.
  • Team Level Metrics: Given the systematic nature of software development, team metrics focus on equal achievements. For example, while deployment frequency can be a good metric for systems or teams, it’s unsuitable for one performance tracking.
  • Individual Level Metrics: They concentrate on each developer’s performance.
    In this area, two sets of industry measures have been identified. As stated in the text, the first are the DORA measures, while the second are the SPACE metrics. By adding opportunity-focused measures, McKinsey’s methodology enhances these and provides a thorough understanding of developer productivity. 

Impact on Quality Engineering

Quality Engineering plays a crucial role in ensuring that software products meet high-quality standards. Quality Engineering teams can find opportunities for improvement and obtain important insights into the efficiency of their testing process by monitoring and evaluating DORA indicators. 

Here are a few ways DORA metrics can affect Quality Engineering:

  • Better test automation: DORA metrics can highlight areas where manual testing is slowing down the delivery process. Teams may be inspired to automate more tests as a result, increasing consistency and efficiency.
  • Data-driven decision-making: DORA metrics offer unbiased information that can be utilized to guide decisions regarding the testing procedure. Teams can use this to focus on the areas that will have the most effects on software quality and prioritize their testing efforts.
  • Enhanced cooperation: DORA measurements can aid in dismantling silos between the teams responsible for development and quality engineering. Teams can perform better if they monitor and refine DORA metrics collaboratively.


Although DORA metrics offer insightful information, their abuse, and limited application might distort our perception of platform engineering efficacy and developer productivity.

To solve this issue alternate ways are:

Improving on-time delivery is another solution to this issue. Avoid trying to work around it by having teams work even faster; this will just lead to burnout and more mistakes.

Naturally, measurement is crucial, but it’s also critical to monitor actual results using metrics and risk indicators appropriate for the environment’s risk/reward tolerance.