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Paving the road to effective software development

Paving the road to effective software development

One thing we’ve learned over the last few years is that autonomous cross-functional teams - ones that don’t have to stop and wait for someone outside the team to do something - can deliver business value faster. However, it isn’t possible to have every skill on every team, and we do want all those autonomous teams to build in important things like security, observability and cost efficiency.

Many of these things we care about are best owned by a separate team, distinguishing the platform from the products built on it. This isn’t a return to dev vs ops: the platform team builds and runs the platform, the dev teams build and run the services, and the interactions between them need to be as low friction as you can make them, while maintaining a level of security, quality and cost control that your company would expect.

That platform team should see themselves as enablers, providing tooling and services for common capabilities like DNS, content delivery, cloud provisioning, observability, etc.; managing relationships with vendors; and providing insights and oversight to product development teams. For this to work though, there cannot be either a free for all where teams pick whatever tech they want - and there can’t be a mandated single way to do things. The answer is the paved road, and these slides cover what this means for the organisation and the teams, with examples from my time leading this engineering enablement group at the Financial Times.

Sarah Wells

June 12, 2024

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  1. sarahwells.dev Principles for building the paved road • Build what

    people need • Own and support things long term • Don't make people wait • Make things easy to use • Allow people to extend and adapt • Help people do the right thing
  2. sarahwells.dev CNCF Platforms white paper • Platform as a product

    • User experience • Documentation and onboarding • Self-service • Reduced cognitive load for users • Optional and composable • Secure by default https://tag-app-delivery.cncf.io/whitepapers/platforms/
  3. sarahwells.dev https://redmonk.com/jgovernor/2022/02/21/what-is-developer-experience-a- roundup-of-links-and-goodness/ “Why would a developer put up with

    a poor developer experience when they can likely find a job that better aligns with their needs and preferences?”