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A DevOps Maturity Assessment Isn’t Enough: Better Ways To Find Gaps And Celebrate Successes

A DevOps maturity assessment isn’t the right way to achieve DevOps.


If you’re still relying on a DevOps maturity assessment, there’s a problem. Maturity assessments aren’t just useless — they can be actively harmful.

DevOps maturity assessments encourage companies to meet specific and arbitrary standards rather than thinking critically about their operations. When a company has tunnel-focus on hitting their maturity metrics, it incentivizes throwing a bandage on problems instead of directly addressing them.

But if a DevOps maturity assessment isn’t what you need, what do you need? What are better ways to find gaps and celebrate successes?

Is Your Organization Still Relying on a DevOps Maturity Assessment?

Maturity assessments are a popular way to begin digital transformation. While they can be useful to analyze your adoption of a specific tool, they have their limits. When applied organization-wide, DevOps maturity assessments have a few significant problems.

  • Maturity assessments are either overly simplistic or overly complex. No one tailors a maturity assessment to an individual organization. A 14-point assessment won’t cover everything the organization needs. A 144-point assessment likely wastes the organization’s time and resources. Organizations have vastly different processes, pipelines, and tech stacks; a single maturity assessment will never work for everyone.
  • Maturity assessments can lead to a false sense of security. It’s tempting for an organization to check all the boxes and feel secure. But because the organization didn’t design its assessment, there may be security and efficiency gaps. An organization can’t know that it’s secure without a deeper understanding of its processes.
  • Maturity assessments will not directly address the organization’s needs. Most maturity assessments are predicated upon a singular idea of what being fast, efficient, or secure means. But not every organization is operating on the same goals or metrics.
  • Maturity assessments can be time-consuming and expensive to implement. A “comprehensive” maturity assessment could include hundreds of controls, many of which will be unnecessary for the organization. The organization will be left with the false belief that its preparedness is equivalent to its efforts.
  • Maturity assessments don’t encourage cultural change. Maturity assessments only find gaps; they rarely celebrate successes. Instead of celebrating outcomes, maturity assessments celebrate the progression from one level to the next. Celebrating outcome-based achievements is critical to encouraging lasting cultural change. 
  • Maturity assessments frequently become obsolete. Technology changes quickly. Maturity assessments do not. A maturity assessment from two years ago is likely outdated, both in terms of technology and practices.

  • Maturity assessments remove the idea of continuous improvement. Once an organization has “achieved maturity,” it’s likely to stop pursuing improvement. There are no other boxes to check and no further levels to gain. So the organization stagnates and falls behind.

A DevOps maturity assessment cannot accurately measure the health of an organization. Its scope is too simplistic and overly general. But more importantly, a traditional maturity assessment lacks the positive feedback loop that unlocks true DevOps success.

Better Ways to Find Gaps and Celebrate Successes

So, why do organizations find themselves following DevOps maturity assessments? Often, they don’t have a better way to find gaps or measure their successes. But if organizations don’t develop internal processes for measuring success and shoring up gaps, they can’t measure their achievements — it’s too much like fitting a square peg into a round hole.

Internal audits, DevOps tools, insightful metrics, and customized assessment frameworks can help companies identify and address major pain points. Instead of checking off controls, focus on achieving goals. At Copado, we use five steps to prioritize improvements and drive DevOps success:

  1. Visibility. Drive collaboration and identify bottlenecks by building a pipeline view of your organization. Gaps are discovered as the organization builds its transparency and visibility.
  2. Quality. Monitor the quality of your releases directly. Fix defects as they occur and automate core testing. Quality is ensured through a collaborative, iterative process that adapts to the organization’s pipeline.
  3. Speed. Accelerate deployment by intelligently applying automation to mundane and routine tasks. As tasks are automated, quality gates assure product quality.
  4. Innovation. Increase ROI and business impact through transparent communication and rapid feedback. Rapid feedback doesn’t just encourage innovation; it increases the celebration of successes.
  5. Resilience. Continue to adapt and improve your organization through the DevOps cycle. Resilience requires continuous improvement, not just meeting standards.

By focusing on these steps, organizations create a system that works for them. A DevOps maturity assessment could ask a company to go through 144 arbitrary controls — regardless of whether or not those controls truly suit the organization. And for most companies, that’s a waste of both time and money.

Every company is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for DevOps. Organizations need to develop their DevOps strategies from the ground up. By building a healthy DevOps foundation, organizations can address gaps and celebrate successes as they arise.

Build Your DevOps Process Today

It’s not surprising that many companies rely on DevOps maturity assessments. At first glance, maturity assessments look like an easy way to assess your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, this cookie-cutter approach often leaves businesses vulnerable.