Achieving the Perfect Balance: Developer Productivity and Experience within Governance Guardrails

Written by: Drew Piland
4 min read

A Strategic Approach for Platform Engineers

As Platform Engineers, our role is akin to a maestro conducting an orchestra, harmonizing the symphony of developer productivity and experience, all while ensuring strict adherence to governance guardrails. This balance is critical in fostering an environment that sparks innovation without compromising code quality or security. Achieving this balance is challenging, but can be mastered with the right tools and strategic approaches.

The Symbiotic Relationship between Developer Productivity and Experience

In the realm of software development, developers are the lifeblood. They thrive on writing code and crafting features, not being bogged down by DevOps tasks, such as quality gates, vulnerability scans, and speed tests; other tools should automate these. Sure, they need to be aware of vulnerabilities, but they want to avoid having to actively think about performing these sorts of tasks.  

Therefore, it is crucial for an optimized workflow that ensures code quality and security without hampering their productivity. The real magic happens when these processes are invisibly woven into the developers' workflows, allowing them to focus on their core competency: writing stellar code.

The Art of Balancing through Platform Engineering

The balancing act can be significantly simplified through a well-structured platform engineering process. This involves providing self-service options, setting up relevant resources, and automating testing and deployment workflows.

Enterprises can strike the right balance by reusing and standardizing workflows while automating manual tasks. Tools that automatically update configuration files and provide standardized starting points for creating new resources can significantly enhance developer productivity.

Standardization, however, shouldn't be a straitjacket that stifles creativity. Instead, it should serve as a springboard that accelerates productivity while allowing enough room for flexibility and innovation.

Embracing Flexibility in Developer Tooling

While standardization forms a solid foundation, developers often have their preferred tools. Imposing a rigid set of tools can be counterproductive. Instead, they should have the flexibility to augment predefined workflows with additional tools or tests that suit their needs.

The workflow itself is a tool for developers. They need the freedom to add steps that provide the feedback they need to produce high-quality software. Striking a balance requires carefully considering what to standardize and allowing enough flexibility for actively used tools. This is where golden paths come in.

Introducing Golden Paths

Golden paths are well-defined, task-oriented paths to facilitate predictable, consistent software development. They explicitly outline the tools, processes, and guidelines for testing and delivering software. Stated another way, golden paths provide self-service templates for common tasks to accelerate software development.

Golden paths empower developers to use their favorite tools while providing platform engineering teams with a structured framework for managing the complexity of maintaining multiple toolchains. As a result, they can help strike a balance between developer experience and productivity.

Why CloudBees Platform

CloudBees provides platform engineering with the necessary controls, visibility, and traceability to deliver effective, compliant software. With CloudBees, development teams can stick to their routines while platform engineering retains the control and functionality needed for smooth operations.

CloudBees offers an open and extensible platform to streamline all software development lifecycle (SDLC) efforts, fostering golden paths construction while maintaining a secure, stable platform. The CloudBees platform enables:

  • Increased productivity: Developers can rely on the platform to take care of the software delivery process, letting them stay focused on their code.

  • Cross-functional collaboration: The platform helps identify and integrate best practices into reusable 'golden paths' for development teams.

  • Enterprise scale: Regardless of your utilization growth, the platform is designed to support you.

  • End-to-end security and compliance: Automated security and compliance checks are integrated into workflows. By abstracting these from the pipeline, developers remain focused on writing code while providing risk-based evidence to satisfy auditors.

CloudBees is uniquely equipped to help highly-regulated enterprises navigate this delicate balance required to deliver fast, secure, high-quality software. 

Try the CloudBees platform for free.

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