homeblogwhy its time to write a prescription for platform engineering

Why it’s time to write a prescription for platform engineering

I’m delighted to be speaking at this year’s PlatformCon on June 10. If you know me at all, you know I’m a devoted proponent of platform teams as a fantastic model for DevOps at scale. I hope you’ll join my talk to find out why – but here’s a little teaser, just to whet your appetite.

Platform engineering is rapidly becoming the de facto approach for success with DevOps at scale. While not having a prescriptive model allowed DevOps to flourish in a grassroots sense, it ran into issues once it hit enterprise IT, as there were so many different definitions of DevOps that it was no longer a useful term.

We need a map or prescriptive model for platform engineering or we’ll end up in the same place we’ve gotten to with DevOps - where few people are singing from the same page, and conflicting definitions only increase cognitive load amongst practitioners. A model helps us organize our processes, helps us know what to build, and gives us a framework to guide our purpose for platform engineering.

I’ve been one of the primary authors of the Puppet State of DevOps Report for the last 10 years. At Puppet, we created a helpful maturity and evolutionary model, and it’s a good one! I firmly believe this model is useful for companies, but it’s not prescriptive enough in terms of defining interactions between teams in order to achieve fast flow software delivery at scale.

In my opinion, if people with experience on the ground don’t define a prescriptive model, vendors and consultants will continue to fill the map — and those outcomes may not be ideal.

This is why we need to create a model that gives space for new practices to emerge and be specific with concrete approaches. It’s going to change over time, so it needs to be flexible. It needs to include context so that those without as much background can grasp it. And it needs to embody what platform engineering is intended to be and do.

I say, now is the time for us to create this model.

But what makes for a good prescriptive model? Please join my talk at this year’s PlatformCon to find out!

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