Accelerate Developer Teams with Platform Engineering

Accelerate software development with platform engineering

Engineering organizations often look for ways to improve their engineering teams’ efficiency. The more efficient the team, the faster they can ship new features and products to their customer base. From this need for efficiency, combined with developer empathy, we’ve seen the rise of DevOps and site reliability engineering across the industry.

These trends have pushed companies to automate and standardize infrastructure, CI/CD, and operations. These standardized processes let engineering teams gain back time to write code, develop features, and further improve their product.

However, in today’s world of complex dependencies, disparate tools, and cloud-based infrastructure, many teams still find themselves spending more and more time on understanding and maintaining their platform, infrastructure, CI/CD, and operational tools. When the current toolset doesn’t meet their needs, there’s no one to turn to but their own team. And they’re back to working through infrastructure issues or relearning problems and solutions that others have already solved.

Enter: platform engineering. Platform engineering can help create an environment where development teams can thrive, bringing your teams back to their mission of developing products rather than simply maintaining their tools.

So what is platform engineering? And how will it help accelerate your development teams?

The Evolution of Platform Engineering

To begin, let’s talk about how platform engineering came to be.

As often is the case, the role of platform engineering isn’t completely new. But naming this need within a company gives it a definition and focus. It gives teams and organizations a common language to help them solve platform problems instead of one-off engineering problems.

In the past, companies tried to use managed services to reduce the time development teams spent maintaining their platforms. Whether internal or external, managed services provide tools that teams can use to manage components of their DevOps lifecycle. But managed services didn’t solve the whole problem.

Each service focused on a particular silo of functionality. So a monitoring team focused on monitoring solutions, but not always the integrations with other teams or products. Also, the managed service often provided generic expertise, but not guidance on how the product worked with the company’s specific tech stacks and processes. And looking at a platform holistically and assessing how it was fitting (or wasn’t) in a company’s developer ecosystem wasn’t considered as much as it should have been.

With managed services, you’re often adding another product–and operations of that product. It’s siloed and not integrated with your overall technical strategy. And that leaves a gap. You also need technical vision, direction, consulting, and engineering growth to plug that gap.

So how can platform engineering take us further? By analyzing the platform, its boundaries, and how it solves problems for the (internal) customer. Ultimately, platform engineering provides a product to your application teams. And that product allows teams to deliver faster.

To ensure platform engineering in your organization succeeds, you must consider it a product. The customers of this product are the engineering teams. And in short, the goal of platform engineering is to help these engineering teams succeed.

Platform Engineering as a Product

Let’s go a bit further into the product aspect of platform engineering.

To ensure platform engineering in your organization succeeds, you must consider it a product. The customers of this product are the engineering teams. And in short, the goal of platform engineering is to help these engineering teams succeed.

When companies view platform engineering as a product, its goals and direction become much clearer. For example, perhaps your company’s platform consists of deploying microservices and serverless functions to a particular cloud provider. The platform engineering team should then drive to make that as simple, automated, and reliable as needed for their engineering teams.

Sometimes that means standardizing deployments and rollback strategies or providing tools and libraries so teams don’t have to learn the inner workings of their infrastructure. Either way, platform engineering teams become experts at allowing application dev teams to deliver features without worrying about the rest.

What Platform Engineering Can Do for Your Developers

Though we hinted a bit about this in the last section, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of platform engineering.

First, platform engineering teams should allow development teams to focus on products. So platform teams will focus not on the product itself but on how it runs on or deploys to your particular infrastructure and platforms. The in-depth knowledge of how all these systems work together can then inform specific recommendations for your product.

When you think about the code that powers your infrastructure, remember that it’s not a “write once and forget” endeavor. Whether it’s your infrastructure as code, your CI/CD pipelines, or the tools that provide operational support, it all requires enhancements and upgrades.

Whenever underlying platforms upgrade, the products built on top of them may have opportunity to use new features or optimizations. On top of that, the platform engineering team will drive changes and optimizations as your organization and customer base grows.

Additionally, platform engineering teams can create simple abstractions for development teams to use when interfacing with infrastructure, like databases or monitors.

And the expertise that you gain from all of that will take you further. Over time, the platform engineering team can build a tailored-to-you set of best practices and standards. So if there’s a concurrency pattern that works well for your microservices, platform engineering can roll out and standardize this. The practice and knowledge can become commonplace through libraries or automated checks that validate proper implementation or behavior.

Building a Platform Engineering team?

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Getting Started

To build your platform engineering organization, identify the biggest pain points that your application teams experience. Look at what parts of the development process cause the most stress and inefficiency. And of all the pain points, look at ones where dedicated engineering time can improve the whole organization.

Oftentimes you’ll find that one of the most significant pain points is communication. Teams seem to be re-solving similar problems again and again. One problem that devs struggle with is that there’s a plethora of information on their framework or platform, but it becomes overwhelming. They forget what’s available or where to go to make it happen or simply can’t find what they need.

Over time, platform engineering teams will grow and utilize a number of tools, frameworks, and processes. No one will know it all to start.

With all these tools and communication pain points, the team will quickly develop a need for a central hub of information that’s integrated well with your development ecosystem.. And this is where OpsLevel comes in. With centralized microservice catalogs, teams can have a central hub that provides them with the information needed to build, maintain, operate, and integrate their system with other systems.

Cut down on the confusion and help guide teams through the life cycle of the product by providing all the integrations and entry points in one place. Whether it’s security, service maturity, CI/CD, or monitoring, OpsLevel can give your engineers the central hub that helps them search less and deliver faster.


If your teams struggle to ship features because of the specialized knowledge required or too many manual processes, hold up. You may need a platform engineering team. This team will dedicate their time to improving processes across the software development life cycle for your application teams.

If you want to hear more, request a custom demo of OpsLevel and hear how we can help your teams navigate your microservice ecosystem. Make it easy for your teams to follow established patterns and tools through easy integrations and a one-stop shop.

This post was written by Sylvia Fronczak. Sylvia is a software developer that has worked in various industries with various software methodologies. She’s currently focused on design practices that the whole team can own, understand, and evolve over time.

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