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Platform Team Topology: The Untold Answers!

Introduction

In every IT organization, a recurring and somewhat cliched question often arises: How to organize our platform team(s) better for optimal performance? Streamlining a platform team’s structure is essential to ensure that tasks are completed seamlessly and objectives are achieved with maximum efficiency. Moreover, clear communication channels and well-defined workflows are imperative for a well-organized platform team.


As solution delivery leaders and heads of operations, we are often concerned about our team’s experience since they work with many company tools, platforms, and technologies. Additionally, we must enhance team satisfaction and efficiency. In pursuit of these goals, we occasionally encounter challenges in striking the ideal equilibrium between fostering innovation and delivering superior quality. It's worth noting that, without exception, we all remain steadfast in our commitment to the 'faster time-to-value' guiding principle.


Selecting the optimal team topology for your platform team

Choosing the right team topology for our company's platform team can be a complex decision that depends on several factors. Here are some characteristics that we should consider when making a decision:


Company size

Company size usually refers to the size of the company which can be a critical factor in deciding the team topology. For instance, a smaller company often finds advantages in adopting a centralized team model, which fosters close collaboration and streamlined communication. Whereas, larger companies take advantage of a decentralized approach. The choice stems from the need to effectively manage diverse teams and intricate workflows across a broader organizational landscape.


Product portfolio

The company's product portfolio significantly impacts the team topology. For instance, if our company manages various products or services with distinct technology stacks, it might be wise to adopt a decentralized approach with embedded platform teams. On the other hand, a centralized team model could be more efficient if our products share similar technology stacks. Our product portfolio’s composition and technology demands are the key factors that will actively guide our decision-making process when structuring the platform teams.


Technology stack

Considering the technology stack, we find it crucial to note that our company’s technology stack plays a pivotal role in determining the optimal team topology. For instance, if we are dealing with a complex or highly specialized technology stack, we should lean toward a federated or embedded platform team model as a better fit. This active consideration of our technology stack’s intricacies helps ensure that our team structure aligns seamlessly with the specific demands of our technology landscape, enhancing our overall efficiency.


Organizational culture

Organizational culture plays a pivotal role in shaping our team topology decisions since our company’s culture holds significant sway in this regard. For instance, a culture that prioritizes consistency and control tends to align well with a centralized team model on the other hand, when our culture values agility and responsiveness, we lean more toward the adoption of a decentralized or embedded model. This guides our approach to structuring our teams to align well with our company culture.


Business goals

When determining the team topology, it’s crucial to take into account our company’s business goals. For Instance, if we are prioritizing innovation and speed to market, a decentralized model aligns well with these objectives. On the other hand, if our company’s emphasis is on risk management and compliance, a more centralized team model becomes a necessity. Therefore, our team structure should be in harmony with our business goals.

Skill sets and expertise


In determining the most suitable platform team topology, we consider the skill sets and expertise of our technology staff. For instance, when we have a team of specialized professional experts in various technology areas, a federated platform team may be a good fit for promoting optimal performance and collaboration across the organization.


Cost and resource constraints

Budget and resource constraints significantly influence our decision-making when it comes to selecting the right platform team topology for the company. For instance, in smaller organizations, a centralized platform team often proves to be a more cost-effective option whereas, options like a federated or embedded platform team may require more resources and coordination, which must be carefully considered with our budget limitations.


Resource allocation

Lastly, when it comes to resource allocation, our company’s decisions greatly influence our choice of platform team topology. For instance, if we’re operating within the constraints of limited resources, we opt for a decentralized or embedded model as it can tap into the expertise of our existing product teams making them cost-effective while maintaining the agility needed to meet our goals.


Conclusion

All in all, we have found that the key to successful team organization lies in collaborating with experts to select the most fitting topology and then putting those chosen practices into action. Establishing a team Dojo, where members can engage in continuous learning and practical exercises, is considered to be an effective approach to fostering a culture of continuous improvement and acquisition of new expertise.


At Stakater, we have an extensive track record of assisting our customers in making informed decisions and constructing highly functional Dojos. If you’re seeking more detailed insights and are eager to learn more about how we can help you elevate your team organization and productivity, reach out and get in touch with us for further information and personalized guidance.


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