engineer + builder + leader
On Platform Teams
October 08, 2023

Platform Team - Be obsessed with your internal customer

There is an adage in the product world or any business that states, “Always treat your customers as royals”. The same lesson applies to how internal customers should be treated. Just because the internal customers are forced to use internal services does not mean they should not be treated like an external customer.

If there has been a breach of SLA, a data corruption, or missing data, it’s important to share this information as early and as clearly as possible with stakeholders and the user base. This ensures that we keep their trust and demonstrate that we believe their data is important to us and we will do our best to recover any data lost.

You are the expert in the platform, but your users are the experts in actually using the platform. Listen to them!

Much like any other product, talk with your users, understand what they want. You have a leg up because you’re working with others at the company

Be service-obsessed

You may have more KTLO work than a non-platform team. Watch this carefully, optimize it when necessary

Maturity model, leverage, and scaling

Platform team does everything and takes input from stakeholders

Platform team does some things, for things stakeholders want that the team will not get to the stakeholders can contribute code and the platform team will review in a timely manner.

Platform team creates the conditions so others can be reviewers like (2) above.

Tools to use

Interviews with stakeholders

Try it out yourself / embed with your users. Eg do CX calls


Collect metrics just like we would with a product

Don’t push water uphill. People will rush to do something that is awesome

Think about how you do your communication. If people don’t understand what you’ve built, they won’t use it

Use squad reviews to your advantage

Assuming that usability of infrastructure isn’t important because their users are engineers. This isn’t true: even engineers obey the laws of distraction, typos and time. Worse, it’s more common for internal users to churn off a platform because of usability than because of legitimate feature gaps (how many times have you been told that it “actually, is possible” to do X task on Y platform, and then heard a complicated work around?), so lack of investment here tends to cause significant–and in my opinion often mistaken–pressure to build new platforms.

Accepting the current status quo as good enough, and languishing with a decent system instead of continuing to push towards something phenomenal.

Features you offer