Guide for Platform Engineering

Tackling Tool Sprawl: A 5-Step Guide for Platform Engineering

Discover how platform engineering can tackle tool sprawl in software development. Learn the 5 guidelines to follow to address this issue effectively and optimize your development processes. Plus, explore how CloudBees platform can streamline your software development lifecycle.

Understanding the Impact of Tool Sprawl on Developer Productivity

In the fast-paced world of software development, teams often use various point solutions to address specific challenges or tasks. However, this can lead to a complex web of tools known as 'tool sprawl,' hindering productivity. Platform engineering faces new challenges as multiple tools used across teams create inconsistent internal processes., point solutions sometimes fail to integrate seamlessly, worsening tool sprawl and reducing organizational efficiency.

Addressing tool sprawl requires a careful and strategic approach and answers to the following crucial questions

Providing an optimal developer experience is vital for creating exceptional products, often involving tool selection autonomy. However, managing numerous tools can distract developers from their core tasks and introduce compliance and governance issues. Put simply, developers are tired of toolchain management, with 66% stating they want to consolidate toolchains this year.This is where platform engineering comes into play.

How is the data from various tools refined in a central location to get the insights needed to improve processes?

How do we ensure processes are traceable so we can collect the evidence required to adhere to audit requests?

How can we properly manage access, and security and compliance across dependencies?

Step 1

Map out your existing processes to identify and understand all the tools and people involved.

To enhance anything, it's vital to understand the existing processes. Platform engineering optimizes workflows by mapping components within value streams. Strategies like interviews, documentation review, monitoring, and visual aids gain insights into stages, people involved, and tools used.

Step 2

Identify common patterns and create standardized blocks for easy reuse.

By identifying patterns and creating standardized blocks, teams can drive efficiencies. Developing a reusable library of common tasks such as container image building, testing, documentation, and deploying to Kubernetes or cloud services allows for optimal utilization of resources.

Step 3

Find opportunities to trim out repetitive tools.

Simplify your organization's toolchain by trimming out repetitive tools. Standardized blocks can abstract underlying specifics, reducing costs and simplifying the development process. This improves the developer experience and makes tool management easier for the platform engineering team. Optimize your system by removing unnecessary elements.

Step 4

List additional steps the organization requires and ensure blocks are available.

To ensure smooth audits and successful software delivery, it is crucial for organizations to list additional steps, prioritize security and compliance checks, and establish clear procedures. By assigning these responsibilities to platform engineering teams, developers can confidently deploy secure and compliant code, optimizing their experience and boosting overall productivity.

Step 5

Create golden paths based on these blocks that development teams can quickly adopt.

Golden paths are predefined, task-oriented routes that enable development teams to quickly adopt consistent software development practices. These paths outline the necessary tools, processes, and guidelines for testing and delivering software. By integrating relevant blocks into a standardized process, platform engineering empowers developers to use their preferred tools while managing the complexity of maintaining multiple toolchains.