Part 7

In the final part of our blog series, we explore the importance of communication.

It's essential to remember that in our fast-paced tech world, communication in software development is just as crucial as code. Especially when we're looking at how the platform team is performing. Let's get to it!

Holding the team accountable

As a chief technology officer (CTO), I would be responsible for checking in and asking some key questions.

I'm a firm believer in teams setting their own goals; it encourages ownership and investment. Remember, it's not about pointing fingers but teamwork and understanding each other. It's a collective journey to a shared end goal and everyone's input and contribution matters.

Translating tech talk into business lingo

Professionals in the software industry, whether upper management or middle, may have a high-level understanding of technical terms, but that doesn't mean they comprehend them as well as platform engineers.

When the platform team achieves something impressive (a common occurrence), it's important to communicate it in a way everyone in the business understands, from human resources to project management.

"We improved the CI/CD pipeline efficiency by 40%!"

This is great, but what does it mean for the business? Maybe it translates to, "We can now launch new features twice as fast, meaning more value for our customers in half the time!" See the difference?

Creating open communication channels

Open and honest communication is the backbone of any successful organization. As a CTO, I’d want to make sure there's always a clear channel for the platform team to communicate, especially when challenges arise.

Skip-level meetings, where team members can directly discuss concerns without the immediate chain of command, are a fantastic way to achieve this.

When challenges are flagged, it's crucial to acknowledge them. It doesn't mean we have all the answers right away, but recognizing and validating concerns is the first step in finding a solution.

Your platform team does incredible work, and it's essential to ensure that everyone understands and appreciates their achievements. But just as crucial is ensuring that they have the channels and support to navigate challenges effectively. So, let's keep those lines of communication open and vibrant!

Everything is iterative

The world of technology as we know it is in constant flux. If there's one thing we've learned, it's that resting on our laurels isn't an option. While we might set some solid foundations today, the only constant is change. That's why everything is iterative. Let's break it down:

  • Team mission and charter: This is flexible. As the business landscape shifts, it might be time to revisit, reassess, and realign. Always keep it fresh and relevant.
  • Organization vs. system: Remember Conway’s Law? Your system will reflect your organizational communication. As your organization evolves, be ready to iterate on your system design.
  • Platform team goals: Just achieved a milestone? Awesome! What’s next? Continuously set, evaluate, and evolve your goals.
  • Ability to prioritize, focus, and deliver: Circumstances change. The techniques and methods that worked wonders today might need to be tweaked tomorrow. Stay agile.
  • Technology stack: With the tech world booming with innovations, it’s worth peeking outside once in a while to see if there's something new that aligns better with your goals.
  • Business outcomes: This is the bottom line. If outcomes aren't aligning with business needs, it's time to rethink.

In essence, flexibility is the name of the game. Embrace the iterative nature of our industry and keep pushing forward, adapting, and thriving.

I hope you enjoyed our seven-part blog series on platform engineering. To learn more, check out our guide.

Published: September 28, 2023

Software developmentDevOps