Platform level problems

TLDR; Scaling teams are hard. A platform team done right can help ease the hardships.

At Conde Nast International we grew from a team of 20 engineers to less than 100 in less than a year. We found out that building out a system that will be used in many markets has a lot of moving parts and repetition. For example rebuilding the infrastructure and application configuration. Adding third party add-on software. Building the application using CDN redirects. DNS registration and configuration.

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How to build a platform team now! the secrets to successful engineering

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Platform Authority

The authority of the platform team lies not in the enforcement of standards. But in the subtle steering of the development team into one decision or the other.

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Accountability as a team is important to make sure that whenever the team is making a breaking change the rest of the teams are informed.

Blameless post mortem is a requirement to make each of the member feel safe to make changes. Building a better system at the same time taking ownership of the system.

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  • vendor management
  • pipeline management
  • git and scm
  • observability (logging monitoring tracing)
  • soft skill and people management
  • collaboration with other teams and negotiation with the management
  • common workflow and architecture management
  • security
  • developer training and teaching
  • documentation development

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Having a semi flat structure with multiple senior and principal engineer that could make agile decision is recommended. Also having a big team like this with many moving parts would mean that a technical lead role is unsuitable rather having a engineering manager for platform and solution architect is essential.

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