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What on earth are DORA Metrics?

Slight Reliability
Stephen Townshend
Developer Advocate (SRE)

If you take a glance at LinkedIn, Twitter, or any tech-focused social content these days you're bound to see people talking about something called "DORA metrics".

So what are DORA metrics? What value do they provide? And how can you get started with them?


The DevOps Research and Assessment Group (DORA) are a group run out of Google who run surveys and do research into what makes organizations successful in the Digital Age. They're probably most well known for their yearly State of DevOps reports and the book Accelerate.

In a nutshell, the world we live in has changed. Technology is now the backbone of how most organisations generate value, and the systems we build and operate are increasingly complex, distributed and changing. Some organisations thrive in these conditions, whereas others struggle. DORA looks into what characteristics or conditions have contributed to those organisations who are succeeding.

The Metrics

Fairly early on in its existence, DORA identified four key indicators of high performing organizations and teams, which are referred to as the four "DORA Metrics":

In recent years, DORA have added a fifth metric:

The Value

Taking the time to measure DORA metrics for your team or organization allows you to better understand how effective you are at delivering and operating software.

They are not a concrete framework that you can just mindlessly apply, there still needs be some careful thought put into exactly what you measure. For example, for change failure rate, what is your definition of a major incident?

It's not about the absolute numbers you calculate, and it's not about comparing your team or organization to anyone else. It's more about:

In essence, DORA metrics provide you a starting point for discussion and an opportunity for self-reflection. They are not perfect, and the numbers should ultimately be taken with a grain of salt, but if they drive constructive conversations then they are serving their purpose.


We will explore how to practically measure DORA metrics in the next article, but be aware that measuring these metrics takes time to figure out...

Be sure to bring it all back to outcomes. What is your organization trying to achieve? And how can we ensure our teams are effectively about to contribute to those objectives?

Additional Resources

For a more nuanced look at some things to watch out for when implementing DORA Metrics have a read of my article DORA Metric Considerations.

To see DORA Metrics in action check out Tim Wheeler's DORA Metrics blog in the Dashbard Gallery.

You can also watch Tim and I discuss DORA metrics in Slight Reliability Episode 53.

Slight Reliability
Stephen Townshend
Developer Advocate (SRE)