Improving the developer experience with platform engineering

The goal of platform engineering is to provide a quality experience for developers and maintain DX in highly dynamic application environments.

Developer experience (DX) largely depends on the ability to bring together systems, processes and foster a common culture across the enterprise. A package that not only improves productivity, but also stimulates innovation. This is critical, especially in times of economic uncertainty, as professionals struggle to attract and retain talent, including DevOps and developers.

Successful DevOps implementations depend on people, processes and technology. While writing code brings together terms like “software factory,” “pipeline,” and third-party API-enabled dependencies, it doesn’t have to be an assembly line. It is even originally a truly creative activity. When inspired, DevOps teams should therefore be able to create an environment with minimal constraints. Every minute spent doing anything other than simply writing code risks losing that inspiration.

Companies that have a deep understanding of the frequency and quality of code writing are now investing in platform engineering. This concept enables a flexible application development environment that encourages creativity and minimizes disruptions. These efforts are based on modern DevOps processes running on a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform.

Respect the core mission of DevOps

The main reason professionals are adopting DevOps is to accelerate the pace at which high-quality applications are built and deployed. Therefore, it is essential to provide a high-performance DX that simplifies code writing and allows participation in the overall management of the created codebase. Any project that negatively impacts this and slows the pace of deploying high-quality applications must be carefully considered. For example, efforts to improve software supply chain security must be balanced with the additional burden that developers will have to bear to meet security requirements.

Developer satisfaction must remain paramount, while the most talented ones are difficult to find and retain. Developer turnover is high within an organization and IT executives and managers are already seeking to reduce it, inevitably starting by analyzing the tools and workflows available.

These same leaders are also very mindful of the time it takes to effectively train new developers. Due to the slowness of the onboarding process and the increase in skills required, it is natural for companies to seek maximum simplicity. The challenge is that the number of developers with limited experience far exceeds those with extensive experience. Finally, developers also like to experiment, and so there is a need to balance defining a consistent set of scalable DevOps processes with the need to adopt innovative new tools that promise to improve your productivity. If DevOps processes are too rigid, they will not be ready to embrace platform engineering.

Make sure you have the right components for optimal DX

Each DevOps team must determine how to deliver the optimal experience. A self-service portal, also known as an internal developer portal (IDP), is a central element of successful platform engineering adoption. Delivered by a platform engineering team steeped in DevOps best practices, it will enable DevOps teams to meet their self-service needs within a set of well-defined principles.

In addition to providing access to scaffolding techniques that simplify the creation of applications, the portal presents code library models that can be easily extended, as well as reference architectures for creating certain types of applications.

Additionally, monitoring tools help you determine how long it takes different development teams to build certain categories of apps. The metrics they provide form the basis for establishing DX best practices that will emerge as developers of different skill levels build applications.

Therefore, the goal is not only to provide a quality experience to developers, but also to maintain it in very dynamic application environments. Empathy is without a doubt the most important characteristic that a platform engineering team must possess. Developers should consider DevOps teams as allies that help them reduce their workload. If DevOps processes become bottlenecks, the relationship between the engineers who maintain these processes and the application development teams they support will deteriorate. This is why DX is essential, as it is the source of trust between teams – the engine of collaboration and success.

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