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The Platform Engineering Guide: Principles and Best Practices


Platform Engineering has quickly become one of the hottest topics in DevOps. The explosion of new technologies has made developing software more interesting but has substantially increased the number of things that development teams need to understand and own. Couple this with the ever-increasing cost of development cycles, organizations are interested in anything that will make them more efficient. 

The weight of understanding ever-changing technologies coupled with a "you build it, you run it" approach has led to many development teams seeing their velocity crash. This heavy cognitive load can have severe negative impacts on our ability to effectively complete complex tasks, like coding. Reducing the cognitive pressure on stream-aligned development teams enables them to focus more readily on the code underlying the business's core products. One of the most important resources within a tech company is developer cycles, so finding ways to maximize that investment into the core product is essential.

The recent Puppet State of DevOps report found that organizations with platform teams increased developer velocity, improved system reliability, obtained greater productivity, and implemented better workflow standards. However, creating a healthy, effective platform is not necessarily straightforward.

Understanding how to improve the day-to-day lives of developers at your own company can be more challenging than it sounds. The platform that is built has to not only streamline development but be low-friction, low-cost, and reduce cognitive load on its users. This is why many advocate for treating the platform as a product with an empowered product manager at the helm. 

Rather than taking a trial-and-error approach, we have distilled and collected the expertise from many different software leaders to help readers in building, operating, and evolving their own platforms and platform teams.

We would love to receive your feedback via or on Twitter about this eMag. I hope you have a great time reading it!

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The Platform Engineering Guide: Principles and Best Practices include:

  • Platform Engineering 101: What you need to know about this hot new trend - Platform engineering is a current hot topic with a rapidly growing tooling ecosystem and landscape. This article reviews many of the important trends in platform engineering.
  • Step One to Successfully Building Your Platform: Building it Together - You may feel that investing in an internal platform is a win, but the business may need more convincing. This article covers how to frame your case in a way that the business can understand and support.
  • The Challenge of Cognitive Load in Platform Engineering: a Discussion with Paula Kennedy - In a recent article, Paula Kennedy shared her thoughts on the ever-increasing cognitive load being saddled onto development teams. Although platform engineering is touted as a solution to this challenge, a poorly designed platform will increase the cognitive burden on developers utilizing it. We must also be careful that we are not just transferring that cognitive load onto the platform teams.
  • Hard-Won Lessons from the Trenches: Failure Modes of Platform Engineering — And How to Avoid Them - Platform Engineering is a hot topic with many orgs hoping to reap the benefits. However, it is easy to go astray. This article reviews the common pitfalls of building a platform and how to avoid them.
  • Platform Engineering Needs a Prescriptive Roadmap: a Conversation with Nigel Kersten - Nigel Kersten feels that it is time for a prescriptive roadmap for how to adopt and implement platform engineering. A lack of definition for DevOps enabled early adopters but didn't allow late-majority enterprises to be successful in their adoption of DevOps. The platform engineering community is in danger of repeating this mistake.

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