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Incremental developer platform

Published : Oct 26, 2022
This blip is not on the current edition of the Radar. If it was on one of the last few editions, it is likely that it is still relevant. If the blip is older, it might no longer be relevant and our assessment might be different today. Unfortunately, we simply don't have the bandwidth to continuously review blips from previous editions of the Radar. Understand more
Oct 2022
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We've been writing about developer platforms and how to build them in almost every edition of the Radar since 2017. In the meantime, the Team Topologies book has also done a great job of describing the ideal of a platform that supports developers with "self-service APIs, tools, services and knowledge." However, we often see teams shooting for too much of that platform vision too fast. Instead, building an incremental developer platform is key.

Team Topologies recommends to always strive for what they call the "Thinnest Viable Platform" necessary at any given stage, where the first version could even be just a set of documentation on a wiki. The next increment could increase the service level by providing templates or allowing teams to create pull requests. Further increments could then introduce self-service APIs, but only if valuable. In short, even though we've cautioned against fully ticket-driven platform operating models, going from zero to self-service is the other extreme. Pace yourself, treat your platform as a product and build it up incrementally.

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