The 2020 State of Software Delivery

Published on 01 Apr 2021

White paper - The 2020 State of Software Delivery

The total size of the SaaS market 2019 was USD 141 billion[1]. The increase in remote working brought on by the global pandemic significantly increase the number of businesses relying on cloud and SaaS solutions. This trend is expected to continue in 2021. As the world examines how businesses operate, we are seeing significant changes to how people and organizations approach their work. There is a growing appetite for cloud solutions. SaaS companies need to ensure their engineering and delivery teams are performing efficiently and at the highest levels possible.

See also: How to choose the right tech stack for start-ups? 

Software delivery in 2020

This report by CircleCI draws on the company's unique data about the performance of technology delivery teams. Findings are based on the evaluation of 55 million data points from more than 44,000 organizations and 160,000 projects. It answers the following questions:

  1. What does a high-performing software delivery team look like?
  2. How do you know if your team is doing well?
  3. How can engineering leaders set meaningful goals?
  4. What metrics are important?
  5. What are the industry benchmarks?

Data backed benchmarks for engineering teams

There is no one-size-fits-all set of metrics that can be used to measure the success of and efficacy of engineering teams. However, after examining their data, CircleCI has identified common patterns in software delivery. Based on their observations they recommend the following as benchmarks for engineering teams:

  1. Throughput: the number of workflow runs matters less than being at a deploy-ready state most or all of the time
  2. Duration: teams want to aim for workflow durations in the range of five to ten minutes
  3. Meantime to recovery: teams should aim to recover from any failed runs by fixing or reverting in under an hour
  4. Success rate: success rates above 90% should be your standard for the default branch of an application

CircleCI advises businesses to build resilient teams and to avoid individual burnout. A simple way to achieve this is to increase team size. Larger teams are able to be more flexible, take on more work and respond to urgent issues more quickly without being swamped. Ambitious teams need both tools and people processes that can scale.
Download this ebook to learn more about the benchmarks mentioned above. The report also compares organizations' performance for these metrics in 2019 vs 2020. This giving you a clear understanding of the state of software delivery in 2020.

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1. n.d.'SaaS Statistics', 99 Firms, [available online] available from: [accessed Apr 2021]


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