Measuring Continuous Delivery
Measuring Continuous Delivery
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Measuring Continuous Delivery

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Completed on 2020-08-30

About the Book

In this book, Steve Smith shows how to measure your Continuous Delivery journey, from how fast you are currently going to how fast you want to go.

Continuous Delivery is a set of holistic principles and practices to reduce time to market and provide an organisation with a strategic competitive advantage, but adoption is invariably a challenging and time-consuming journey. Before adoption, the current time to market and desired time to market are often unknown, which makes alignment and collaboration between individuals, teams, and departments difficult. During adoption practices, techniques, and tools are often introduced without acceptance criteria, with makes it hard to assess and learn from the impact of changes.

What does a successful Continuous Delivery outcome look like, how do we move towards that outcome, and how do we measure our progress along the way? To answer these questions, we need an ongoing quantification of delivery stability and speed. 

Who should read this book

This book is for executives, managers, leaders, and practitioners who wish to adopt Continuous Delivery, and are stuck on one or more of the following questions:

  • What would Continuous Delivery look like for my organisation?
  • Where should you start to try and make improvements?
  • How do you know if practice X/technique Y/tool Z has had a positive impact? 

In this book

This book describes the what, why, and how of measuring Continuous Delivery.

Chapter 1 introduces the main theme of the book - how to facilitate a successful adoption of Continuous Delivery, by combining the Improvement Kata with stability and throughput measurements. Chapter 2 outlines the theory behind measures, metrics, and indicators of stability and throughput. Chapters 3 to 7 are a deep dive into Deployment Stability, Deployment Throughput, Build Stability, Build Throughput, and Code Throughput indicators. Chapter 8 shows how to use those indicators to power the Improvement Kata and implement Continuous Delivery.

This book will contain a high-level discussion of Continuous Delivery principles, practices, and techniques. The reader is assumed to have already read at least parts of Continuous Delivery by Dave Farley and Jez Humble, and Lean Enterprise by Jez Humble, Joanne Molesky, and Barry O'Reilly. There will be little advice on specific tools, as there is a smorgabord of good tools available in the Continuous Delivery space and there is never a single, perfect tool.


The foreword to this book is written by Dave Farley, co-author of the  Jolt Award winning Continuous Delivery, published in Martin Fowler’s Signature Series (Addison Wesley, 2010).

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About the Author

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

Steve Smith is a Continuous Delivery & Operability consultant at Continuous Delivery Consulting. Since 2008, Steve has worked on Continuous Delivery and Operability transformation programmes, in leadership and hands-on roles for public and private sector organisations.

Those roles include building a deployment pipeline for 8 teams/70 microliths in a media company with £14Bpa revenue, building an operability toolchain for 60 teams/600 microservices in a UK government department with £500Bpa revenue, and creating a Continuous Delivery & Operability strategy for 30 teams/100 microservices in a high street retailer with £2Bpa website revenue.

Steve is the author of Measuring Continuous Delivery, plus a co-author of A Children's A to Z of Continuous Delivery and Build Quality In. Steve blogs at, chats on Twitter at @SteveSmith_Tech, and is a regular conference speaker.

About the Contributors

Dave Farley
Dave Farley

Continuous Delivery author

Dave Farley is a thought leader in the field of software development, and has a long track record in creating high-performance teams, shaping organisations for success and creating outstanding software. Dave is a co-author of Continuous Delivery, the book that describes what many regard as the state-of-the-art in software development. He is one of the authors of the Reactive Manifesto which describes a modern approach to high-performance, efficient, system design. He was also an early contributor to the Duke Award winning open source LMAX Disruptor project

Table of Contents

  • About Steve Smith
  • About Continuous Delivery Consulting
  • Also By Steve Smith
  • Foreword By Dave Farley
  • Preface
    • Who should read this book
    • In this book
    • How to contact me
    • Acknowledgements
  • 1. Adopting Continuous Delivery
    • Introduction
    • Know Discontinuous Delivery
    • Understand Optimising For Robustness
      • Recognise the costs and theatre
      • Accept the constancy of failure
      • See the countermeasure
    • Learn Continuous Delivery
    • Use the Improvement Kata
      • Create a vision of success
      • Plan an improvement cycle
      • Execute an improvement cycle
    • Measure Continuous Delivery
  • 2. Measuring Stability and Throughput
    • Introduction
    • Know the measures
    • Cultivate the metrics
    • Build the indicators
    • Understand the trends
  • 3. The Deployment Stability indicator
    • Introduction
    • Establish the indicator
      • Deployment Failure Rate
      • Deployment Failure Recovery Time
      • Deployment Stability
    • Implement the measurements
      • Collect the data
      • Calculate the measurements
      • Visualise the results
    • Understand the trends
      • Unstable Deployments
      • Slow To Recover Deployments
      • Sometimes Slow To Recover Deployments
      • Fast To Recover Deployments
      • Stable Deployments
  • 4. The Deployment Throughput indicator
    • Introduction
    • Establish the indicator
      • Deployment Lead Time
      • Deployment Interval
      • Deployment Throughput
    • Implement the measurements
      • Collect the data
      • Calculate the measurements
      • Visualise the results
    • Understand the trends
      • Slow And Infrequent Deployments
      • Sometimes Slow Deployments
      • Fast But Infrequent Deployments
      • Sometimes Infrequent Deployments
      • Too Fast, Too Frequent Deployments
      • Fast And Frequent Deployments
  • 5. The Build Stability indicator
    • Introduction
    • Establish the indicator
      • Build Failure Rate
      • Build Failure Recovery Time
      • Build Stability
    • Implement the measurements
      • Collect the data
      • Calculate the measurements
      • Visualise the results
    • Understand the trends
      • Unstable Builds
      • Slow To Recover Builds
      • Sometimes Slow To Recover Builds
      • Fast To Recover Builds
      • Stable Builds
  • 6. The Build Throughput indicator
    • Introduction
    • Establish the indicator
      • Build Lead Time
      • Build Interval
      • Build Throughput
    • Implement the measurements
      • Collect the data
      • Calculate the measurements
      • Visualise the results
    • Understand the trends
      • Slow And Infrequent Builds
      • Sometimes Slow Builds
      • Fast But Infrequent Builds
      • Sometimes Infrequent Builds
      • Too Fast, Too Frequent Builds
      • Fast And Frequent Builds
  • 7. The Mainline Throughput indicator
    • Introduction
    • Establish the indicator
      • Mainline Lead Time
      • Mainline Interval
      • Mainline Throughput
    • Implement the measurements
      • Collect the data
      • Calculate the measurements
      • Visualise the results
    • Understand the trends
      • Slow And Infrequent Mainline Commits
      • Sometimes Slow Mainline Commits
      • Fast But Infrequent Mainline Commits
      • Sometimes Infrequent Mainline Commits
      • Too Fast, Too Frequent Mainline Commits
      • Fast And Frequent Mainline Commits
  • 8. Making improvements
    • Introduction
    • Bootstrap the Improvement Kata
      • Start to Optimise For Resilience
      • Invest in operability
      • Run bootstrap improvement cycles
    • Plan an improvement cycle
      • Grasp the Current Condition
      • Establish a Target Condition
    • Execute an improvement cycle
      • Iterate towards the Target Condition
    • Accumulate improvement cycles
  • Version History
  • Notes

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