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The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations

Winner of the Shingo Publication Award
Accelerate measures software delivery performance—and what drives it—using four years of groundbreaking research and rigorous statistical methods.

by Nicole Forsgren, PhD, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

“Excellent! As well as conclusively showing that DevOps outcomes are faster, cheaper AND safer, this book is an excellent case study for robust survey design and analysis.”

—Adrian Cockcroft, VP Amazon Sustainability Architecture, Amazon

Does technology actually matter? And how can we apply technology to drive business value?

For years, we’ve been told that the performance of software delivery teams doesn’t matter—that it can’t provide a competitive advantage to our companies. Through four years of groundbreaking research, Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim set out to find a way to measure software delivery performance—and what drives it—using rigorous statistical methods. This book presents both the findings and the science behind that research.

Readers will discover how to measure the performance of their teams, and what capabilities they should invest in to drive higher performance.

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“This is the kind of foresight that CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs desperately need if their company is going to survive in this new software-centric world.
“This is the kind of foresight that CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs desperately need if their company is going to survive in this new software-centric world. Anyone that doesn’t read this book will be replaced by someone that has.”Anyone that doesn’t read this book will be replaced by someone that has.”

—Thomas Limoncelli, Co-Author of The Practice of Cloud System Administration
What this Book Has to Offer
Four Areas Where Organizations Must Accelerate
Speed to Market

Faster delivery of good and services to end users to delight customers.

Future-Oriented Outlook

Organizations need to engage with the market to detect and understand customer demand.

Regulation & Compliance

High performing organizations anticipate compliance and regulatory changes that impact their systems.


Respond to potential risks, such as security threats or changes in the economy.

"Accelerate summarizes the best metrics, practices, and principles to use for improving software delivery and digital product performance, based on years of well-documented research. We strongly recommend this book to anyone involved in a digital transformation for solid guidance about what works, what doesn’t work, and what doesn’t matter.”

—Tom Poppendieck & Mary Poppendieck, Authors of the Lean Software Development Series of Books
Articles by the Authors
Measure Software Delivery Performance with Four Key Metrics
by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

There are many frameworks and methodologies that aim to improve the way we build software products and services. We wanted to discover what works and what doesn’t in a scientific way, starting with a definition of what “good” means in this context. This post presents the four key metrics to measure software delivery performance.

24 Key Capabiities to Drive Improvement in Software Delivery
by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

Our research, based on four years of the State of DevOps Report, has uncovered 24 key capabilities that drive improvements in software delivery performance in a statistically significant way. The book Accelerate details these findings. This post provides you with a handy list of these capabilities.

Westrum's Organizational Model in Technology Organizations
by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

It is practically a truism in DevOps circles that culture is of huge importance. However, culture is intangible; there exist many definitions and models of culture. Our challenge was to find a model of culture that was well-defined in the scientific literature, could be measured effectively, and would have predictive power in our domain. Not only did we achieve these objectives, we also discovered that it is possible to influence and improve culture by implementing DevOps practices.

Working from Home During a Pandemic: A Tale of Two Cities
by Nicole Forsgren

“We’re doing very well. We’re barely hanging in there. Some people are loving work from home. Some people are hating work from home. So who’s right? Who’s wrong? How do we make sense of it? And what’s the data tell us, because remember, we aren’t just working from home, we’re working from home through a pandemic, and at least in the US, a handful of other crises."... In her 2020 DevOps Enterprise Summit Las Vegas presentation, Dr. Nicole Forsgren broke down the data around what’s happening with work in a pandemic. Below, we pull out the major points that her and her team’s data reveals.

“Whether they recognize it or not, most organizations today are in the business of software development in one way, shape, or form. And most are being dragged down by slow lead times, buggy output, and complicated features that add expense and frustrate users. It doesn’t need to be this way. Forsgren, Humble and Kim shine a compelling light on the what, why, and how of DevOps so you, too, can experience what outstanding looks and feels like.”

Karen Martin, Author, Clarity First and The Outstanding Organization
About the Authors

Dr. Nicole Forsgren is the VP of Research & Strategy at GitHub. She is author of the Shingo Publication Award-winning book Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps and is best known as lead investigator on the largest DevOps studies to date. She has been a successful entrepreneur (with an exit to Google), professor, performance engineer, and sysadmin. Her work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals. 

Jez Humble is co-author of several books on software including Shingo Publication Award winner Accelerate, Jolt Award winner Continuous Delivery, and The DevOps Handbook. He has spent his career tinkering with code, infrastructure, and product development in companies of varying sizes across three continents. He works for Google Cloud as a technology advocate and teaches at UC Berkeley.

Gene Kim is a multiple award-winning CTO, researcher and bestselling author. He was founder and CTO of Tripwire for 13 years. He has written six books. Since 2014, he has been the founder of IT Revolution and the organizer of the DevOps Enterprise Summit.

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