Platform Engineering: Platform as a Product

The platform itself is a valuable product that serves the needs of internal customers – the development teams.

In the rapidly evolving world of software development, one concept that has gained significant traction is treating the platform as a product. In this blog post, we will explore the "platform as a product" concept, discuss its benefits, and offer insights into how to adopt this strategy in your organization.

What is "Platform as a Product"?

Traditionally, software development platforms have been viewed as a collection of tools and infrastructure that support the creation, deployment, and management of applications. However, the "platform as a product" approach shifts this perspective, treating the platform itself as a valuable product that serves the needs of internal customers – the development teams.

In this model, the platform team takes on the role of a product team, focusing on delivering a high-quality, easy-to-use, and continuously improving platform that meets the requirements of the development teams. This includes gathering feedback, prioritizing features, and iterating on the platform to ensure it remains aligned with the organization's goals and the needs of its users.

Why is "Platform as a Product" Important?

Treating the platform as a product offers several advantages for organizations and their development teams:

  • Improved User Experience: By adopting a user-centric mindset, platform teams can design and develop a platform that meets the needs of its users more effectively. This results in an improved experience for development teams, who can focus on building applications instead of dealing with complex infrastructure issues.
  • Faster Time to Market: A well-designed platform empowers development teams to build, test, and deploy applications more quickly and efficiently. This can result in faster time to market for new features and products, giving organizations a competitive edge in their industries.
  • Better Collaboration: The platform as a product approach encourages collaboration between the platform team and development teams, fostering a culture of shared ownership and responsibility. This can lead to better communication and more effective problem-solving throughout the organization.
  • Increased Agility: By continuously iterating on the platform, organizations can more easily adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs. This agility can be critical to success in today's fast-paced, competitive business environment.
  • Reduced Operational Costs: A well-maintained platform can help organizations reduce operational costs by streamlining processes, automating repetitive tasks, and minimizing infrastructure complexity.

Adopting a "Platform as a Product" Approach

If you're considering adopting a platform as a product strategy in your organization, here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Establish a platform team: Form a dedicated team responsible for managing the platform, including developers, operations experts, and product managers. This team should have a clear mandate to build and maintain the platform as a product.
  2. Identify your internal customers: Understand who your platform serves and what their needs are. This will help you prioritize features and improvements, ensuring that your platform remains aligned with the requirements of its users.
  3. Develop a platform roadmap: Create a roadmap that outlines your platform's development and improvement plans. This should include both short-term and long-term goals, as well as a process for gathering and incorporating user feedback.
  4. Measure success: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your platform. These could include metrics such as user satisfaction, platform adoption, and the impact on application development speed and quality.
  5. Continuously improve: Regularly review your platform's performance, gather feedback from users, and make improvements based on your findings. This iterative approach will help ensure that your platform remains relevant and valuable to its users.