Feedback Loops: The Secret Ingredient for Efficient Platform Engineering Teams
Let’s dive deep into the gaps between application and platform teams in enterprise and large-scale organizations.
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Many organizations that successfully launch and enable a platform engineering team to allow the rest of the engineering teams and developers with applications, infrastructure, tools, and services see challenges over time and eventually fail due to gaps in collaboration and communication with internal and external consumers. Let’s dive deep into the gaps between application and platform teams in enterprise and large-scale organizations. One of the primary reasons is the need for a proper feedback loop to engage often with consumers. Lack of constant engagement with application engineering teams creates alignment gaps and trust. Feedback loops play a role in platform engineering for the following reasons.
Benefits of Feedback Loop in Platform Engineering
- Continuous Improvement: Feedback loops allow platform engineers to gather insights and suggestions from users, developers, and other stakeholders. This valuable information helps identify areas that require enhancement and guides the development of features or improvements. Over time, this iterative process leads to a more efficient, reliable, and user-friendly platform.
- User-Centric Design: Platforms exist to serve users; feedback loops are necessary to understand their evolving needs. Regular feedback from users assists platform engineers in tailoring their work to meet these requirements. As a result, the platform becomes more user-centric. They are aligned with the organization’s goals.
- Issue Resolution: Feedback loops provide an avenue for identifying and addressing issues. When users encounter problems or bugs, they can report them promptly. Platform engineers can respond swiftly, minimizing disruptions and ensuring a user experience.
- Innovation: Through feedback loops, platform engineers gain insights into emerging technologies, trends, and user expectations. This information has the potential to spark ideas and uncover opportunities for incorporating features, technologies, or services that can enhance the platform’s competitiveness and value.
- Enhancing Efficiency and Streamlining: Feedback loops can provide insights into areas of the platform that require optimization or streamlining. For instance, if users consistently report performance issues or bottlenecks, platform engineers can prioritize these areas for improvement to enhance efficiency.
- Alignment with Business Objectives: Feedback loops ensure the platform aligns with business goals. They enable platform engineers to assess whether the platform contributes to the company’s success and adjust if needed.
- Data-Driven Decision Making: Feedback loops serve as a data source for decision-making. By collecting and analyzing feedback, platform engineers can make informed choices about which improvements or changes should take priority.
- Risk Mitigation: Regular feedback helps identify security vulnerabilities, compliance issues, or other risks. This proactive approach allows for mitigation of problems and enhances the stability and reliability of the platform.
- User Satisfaction: Ultimately, the success of a platform is measured by how satisfied its users are. Feedback loops play a role in platform engineering by providing insights into user satisfaction. These insights guide efforts to improve the user experience and maintain a user base.
- Agile Development: Within development practices, feedback loops serve as an element. They enable platform engineers to improve based on changing requirements and user feedback.
Impact of Missing Feedback Loop on Platform Engineering
- Stagnation: When platform engineers don’t receive feedback, they might continue working based on assumptions or outdated practices. This can cause a lack of progress in the platform development, resulting in missed opportunities for improvement and innovation.
- Misalignment: The platform can only align with the changing needs of users and the organization if there is feedback. This misalignment can lead to wasted resources since the platform may need to support the intended applications or services effectively.
- Quality Issues: With feedback, platform engineers may be aware of any issues or bugs in the system. This lack of awareness can result in quality problems such as reliability issues, security vulnerabilities, and performance bottlenecks.
- Wasted Resources: Without feedback, platform engineers may invest time and effort into features or components that aren’t valuable or necessary. This waste of resources can detract from focusing on what matters to users and the business.
- Decreased User Satisfaction: When there is no user feedback, it’s possible that the platform won’t meet user expectations. Consequently, user satisfaction could decrease. Dissatisfied users may seek solutions or workarounds, diminishing the platform’s value.
Impact of Missing Feedback Loop on Application Engineering
- Inadequate Capabilities: Application engineering teams heavily rely on the platform to offer services and functionalities. However, without feedback loops, the platform might need more features or performance levels required by applications, limiting their functionality and potential.
- Inefficiency Concerns: Application engineers may need help working around limitations or deficiencies of the platform. This may result in inefficiencies and longer development timelines, leading to project delays and increased development costs.
- Reliability Challenges: When continuous improvement and optimization are lacking for the platform, applications can face reliability issues. This can cause downtime service interruptions. Negatively impact the user experience.
- Frustration Levels: The limitations or unresponsiveness of the platform to the application engineering team’s needs can lead to frustration. Consequently, it strains the relationship between both teams. Reduces productivity.
- Missed Opportunities: Without feedback mechanisms, application engineering teams may need to be aware of enhancements or features that could boost their applications. As a result, they take advantage of opportunities to create competitive products.
But, when platform engineering lacks feedback loops, it can lead to a misaligned platform. This means the platform will need help to keep up with the changing needs of application engineering teams and users. Consequently, this can result in inefficiency, quality problems, lower user satisfaction, and missed opportunities for both platform and application engineering teams. Establishing feedback loops is essential to encourage collaboration, continuous improvement, and the overall success of both teams and the organization. Feedback loops are vital in platform engineering for creating and sustaining platforms prioritizing user needs. They empower platform engineers to adapt and innovate, ensuring the platform aligns with business objectives and user expectations. These loops are a part of iterative development practices that contribute to the success of the platform and the organization it serves.
Published at DZone with permission of Keshav Prasad Kuruva. See the original article here.
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