How can platform teams strike a balance between innovation and stability?

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Learn how to strike the balance between innovation and stability in platform teams and take your software development to the next level.

Note: This blog post was created by the StackSpot Prompt Engineering team with the support of AI tools. This content underwent rigorous review for technical accuracy, content relevance, and well-written quality before its publication. Enjoy the read!

The constant pull between pushing the boundaries of technology and maintaining the unwavering stability that businesses require is a challenging aspect of the role of platform engineer. So, in this blog post, we’ll learn how to strike the balance between innovation and stability in platform teams.

The dual nature of Platform Engineering

It’s easy to envision platform engineering as purely a field of relentless innovation. The appeal of working with cutting-edge technologies, exploring new architectures, and constantly learning can be overwhelming. But, we must not lose sight of the other side of the coin – stability.

The fundamental goal of our work is to provide a stable, reliable, and efficient platform that serves as the backbone of the company’s digital operations. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s what we signed up for.

Recognizing the need for innovation

Innovation is not merely an intellectual pursuit, it’s a response to the evolving needs of businesses, the demands of end-users, and the relentless march of technology itself.

New technologies and practices allow us to deliver solutions faster, make our systems more resilient, and reduce operational costs. From containerization to Infrastructure as Code, innovations are often our best bet to tackle complex, emerging problems.

But like any coin, innovation has its downside. New technologies are often immature, carry unknown risks, and require significant learning and adaptation. Platform engineers’ eagerness to innovate must be tempered by the potential impact on stability.

The paramountcy of stability

Stability is the lifeblood of a platform team’s work. A stable platform translates into predictable and reliable operations, which are critical for business continuity. While innovation fuels growth, stability ensures survival.

Platform stability encompasses not only uptime, but also performance, security, and predictability. Each of these can be impacted positively or negatively by the pursuit of innovation.

Striking the balance

So, how do we strike the balance between innovation and stability in platform teams? It comes down to three principles:

1 – Prudence in adoption

Not every shiny new tool needs to be adopted immediately. While keeping an open mind toward innovation, we must also be prudent in our decisions. Weigh the benefits against the risks. Consider the maturity of the technology, the learning curve involved, and the potential disruption it might cause.

2 – Gradual transition

Big bang changes are rarely a good idea in platform engineering. Instead, opt for a gradual transition. Implement changes in smaller, manageable chunks. Use techniques like canary releases or blue-green deployments to minimize the impact of potential failures.

3 – Learn and adapt

Learning and adaptation are the two constants in this balancing act. When adopting a new technology, commit to mastering it. Understand its nuances, its strengths, and its weaknesses. When a failure occurs, learn from it and use the experience to improve.

Conclusion about how to get Innovation and stability in Platform Teams

Striking a balance between innovation and stability in platform teams is not an easy task. It requires thoughtfulness, discipline, and a keen understanding of both the technological landscape and the business’s needs.

It’s a journey filled with fascinating challenges and immense learning opportunities. Along the way, we must remember to celebrate triumphs in innovation, learn from failures, and above all, keep the engines of stability running smoothly.

By focusing on these aspects, we can ensure that we are not just chasing the latest technology trends but also building robust, stable platforms that deliver true business value. That’s the balance that platform engineers should strive to achieve.

Comment below with your takeaways from this article!

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