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DORA and SPACE metrics to improve your software delivery

If you're a technical leader, you probably want to know how well your team is delivering software and how you can improve it. You may have heard of DORA metrics and the SPACE framework, two powerful tools that can help you measure and optimize the performance of your software delivery. But what are they exactly and how can you use them effectively? – In this article, we'll explain what DORA and SPACE are and how they complement each other.

DORA & SPACE Metrics

What are the DORA metrics?

The DORA (DevOps Research and Assessments) metrics are a set of four metrics that assess software delivery performance based on research from Google and other industry leaders.

They are:

  • Development Frequency: How often is code deployed to production or released to end users?
  • Lead time for changes: How long does it take from code definition to successful deployment of the code in production?
  • Mean time to recovery (MTTR): How long does it take to restore service when a service incident or defect occurs that impacts users?
  • Error rate for changes: What percentage of changes in production or releases to users result in service degradation or require subsequent correction?

The idea behind these metrics is simple: they help measure critical aspects of your software development process so you can identify areas where improvements are needed. Using the DORA metrics, you can set benchmarks for measuring progress over time, set realistic goals for improvement, and track progress toward those goals.

An easy way to start reflecting on the DORA metrics is through surveys. You simply ask the team to give their approval on a scale from 1 to 7, for example (more on this: the DORA Retrospective Templates).

And it's best to take these questions with you to your agile retrospective! That way, your improvement process will already start this sprint. By the way, you can get started right away with our Echometer DORA template, just click on the button below:

Health Check Survey

Deployment Frequency: I am very happy with how often we deploy code to Prod.

Lead Time for Changes: After the first code has been committed, we can implement it very quickly on Prod.

Change Failure Rate: Our code implementations very rarely lead to errors on Prod.

Time to Restore Service: If an error occurs on Prod, we can fix it very quickly.

Open DORA DevOps questions

What would improve our deployment frequency?

What is our bottleneck to implement tasks faster on Prod?

What would make our deployments less error-prone?

What helps us to quickly rectify errors on Prod?

DORA & SPACE Metrics

What is the SPACE framework?

The SPACE framework is an approach to developer productivity developed by a team that included researchers from GitHub and Microsoft. It summarizes five factors that influence productivity at the individual, team, and organizational levels.
These are:

  • Satisfaction and well-being: How happy and healthy are your developers? Do they enjoy their work and feel valued and supported?
  • Performance: How well do your developers deliver the software? Do they meet quality standards and customer expectations?
  • Activity: How much work do your developers do? Do they spend their time on high-value tasks and avoid unnecessary rework?
  • Communication and collaboration: How well do your developers communicate and collaborate with each other and other stakeholders? Do they exchange information, feedback and ideas effectively?
  • Efficiency and workflow: How smoothly do your developers work? Do they avoid interruptions, distractions and bottlenecks?

The SPACE framework provides a more holistic view of developer productivity that takes multiple factors into account. It also helps you identify the root causes of low performance and the best actions to improve.

We also have a survey template for the SPACE Framework in our team development tool Echometer (read more: the SPACE Retrospective template). You are welcome to use Echometer free of charge to reflect on the following five questions in your next retrospective in a time-saving manner and to derive structured measures directly:

Health Check Survey

Satisfaction: Looking at the last few weeks, I am very satisfied with my work.

Performance: When I look at our last steps, we were a really productive team.

Activity: If you look at the level of activity in the tools we use (e.g. responsiveness in chats, mutual feedback), we are a really engaged team.

Collaboration & Collaboration: We improve as a team through intensive communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Efficiency & Flow: We complete most tasks quickly and without delays or interruptions.

DORA & SPACE Metrics

The combination of DORA and SPACE

One of the benefits of using DORA and SPACE is that it provides a comprehensive and balanced view of software development performance.

While the DORA metrics focus on the technical aspects of the software development process, the SPACE dimensions capture the human and social factors that influence a team's productivity.

By combining both frameworks, you'll gain a deeper understanding of your team's strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and challenges you face. You'll also be able to align your team's goals and actions with best practices from both frameworks, which can help you achieve higher levels of performance and satisfaction.

DORA & SPACE Metrics

This is how we can support you in using DORA and SPACE

Echometer is a team health and performance tool that combines psychological know-how from research with proven agile methods from practice. It helps you develop teams and organizations in a sustainable and measurable way by creating a continuous improvement process based on iterative feedback loops.

With Echometer, you can use both the DORA and SPACE frameworks to measure and improve your software delivery performance. Here's how it works:

  • Conduct regular surveys with your team members to measure their satisfaction, well-being, communication, collaboration, efficiency and workflow. You can use the predefined templates based on the SPACE framework or create your own questions.
  • Conduct interactive and psychology-based retrospectives with your team based on the data collected. With Echometer's built-in suggestions, you can stimulate discussions and gain insights on how to improve your team's performance.
  • Use Echometer's built-in Health Checks and graphs to monitor and plan your team's continuous improvement.

Try Echometer for yourself right now for free and without registration:

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