How a Platform Team Helps Your Developers

12 minute read     Updated:

James Walker %
James Walker

Platform teams support the work of development teams by building internal tools and platforms that automate processes, unify operations, and enable self-service developer access to infrastructure resources.

A dedicated platform team enables engineers to focus on developing your core product with enhanced productivity and efficiency, using the tools provided as part of the platform. This can improve application quality, reduce time to market, and lessen the overhead associated with system design and maintenance.

In this article, you’ll explore these benefits and what you need to know when introducing a platform team to your organization.

What Is a Platform Team?

Platform teams are groups of software developers, infrastructure operators, and site reliability engineers who fulfill the internal requirements of product engineering teams. Sometimes also referred to as DevOps specialists and other similar terms, platform teams create the technological systems that let you build and deploy your apps.

The concept of platform engineering has risen to prominence over the past decade, alongside the interest in DevOps, cloud computing, and software development methods driven by continuous integration, continuous delivery (CI/CD). It can mean slightly different things in different places, with various organizations using platform teams to manage infrastructure, DevOps processes, internal tools, and companion services, as well as production apps. Subteams and working groups may also offer specialist experience in areas such as data and security.

Here, you’ll examine platform teams in the context of DevOps and the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC). The overarching aim is to support your internal teams by providing any resources they need for their work, ultimately enabling more value to be delivered to customers.

Core Functions of a Platform Team

Equipping developers to succeed means platform teams wear many hats within the overall DevOps sphere. Here are some of the tasks that a typical platform team completes:

  • Self-service infrastructure provisioning: Platform teams systemize infrastructure interactions—such as the creation of compute nodes and databases—as automated processes that developers can initiate via self-service actions in a CLI or web app.
  • Standardized development environments: Similarly, platform teams standardize the functionality and structure of development environments, letting devs spin up new ones on demand.
  • Automated testing and deployment pipelines: Shifting responsibility for CI/CD pipeline configurations to platform teams can improve pipeline consistency, performance, and security across your organization.
  • Unified monitoring and observability: As platform teams manage infrastructure, environments, and pipelines, they’re also ideally positioned to configure observability suites that developers can access to investigate app health and performance.
  • Documentation and knowledge sharing: Documenting how processes work and which tools are involved is essential to a platform team’s work and ensures knowledge can be shared throughout the organization. Developers can thus be informed of which actions are available to them.
  • Tool maintenance and evolution: Platform teams are responsible for continually maintaining platform implementations. They iterate to improve efficiency and performance while also applying any changes required by new tools, working methods, and infrastructure requirements.

These capabilities reveal how platform teams focus on refining the DevOps cycle on behalf of developers. The internal platforms they create provide foundational tools for use throughout the software delivery process, enabling higher-quality work to be produced in less time.

How Platform Teams Help Your Developers

Adding a platform team to your engineering architecture is an effective step toward addressing the complexity of modern software delivery. It restores the role of developers back to authoring new code for your products, which provides several tangible benefits.

Increased Developer Productivity

For many organizations, an increase in developer productivity is the most obvious change. Platform teams free up developers from mundane DevOps tasks that they’re often ill-equipped to handle.

Infrastructure provisioning, pipeline configuration, and the collation of observability data are all specialist skills that detract from a developer’s core work. Reassigning these responsibilities to dedicated platform experts allows devs to focus on innovating around the core areas of your products.

Fewer distractions, combined with access to simple self-service tools, means devs can increase their throughput and contribute more value to the organization.

Improved Application Quality

Standardized internal platforms can also improve the quality of the applications you deliver to customers. Increased use of automated processes and CI/CD pipelines that reliably build and test apps makes it less likely that changes will silently introduce bugs.

Similarly, the use of on-demand developer environments can eliminate subtle differences between environments. This prevents flakiness and unexpected behavior in production when compared to what a developer observed while a feature was being built.

Because platform teams are responsible for defining, documenting, and iterating upon development processes, they also enable the unification of engineering methods across different dev teams. This can further improve quality as all engineers push code through the same pipelines, improving consistency and making it easier for different teams to collaborate.

Reduced Time to Market

Platform teams spend all their time making your development and deployment processes more efficient. This helps cut the lead time for launching new products and features and accelerates your time to market.

Ready-made platform tools mean devs don’t need to worry about creating infrastructure for new apps. They also don’t have to configure a deployment pipeline, work out how the app’s health will be monitored, or decide how to start new development and test environments.

All these capabilities are already captured within the platform, allowing devs to focus on the meaningful work involved with the new launch. Once the solution is ready to go live, it can be deployed using the familiar platform functionality via the same process that’s already being used for your other assets. With improved operational agility, you can more readily react to market demand and competitor activity.

Enhanced Developer Experience

Better tools, more consistent processes, and higher productivity have a positive effect on developer satisfaction. Being able to create infrastructure, run tests, and stand up new testing environments when they’re needed also promotes developer autonomy, which makes devs feel more valued in their roles.

Anything you can do to remove friction from software delivery helps reduce the development workload and keep devs motivated. Even if a platform only saves individuals a few minutes per day, that can still have a profound effect on a developer’s sense of satisfaction if they’re freed from completing repetitive manual tasks. Those savings add up to a substantial gain at the organizational level when applied across teams of hundreds or thousands of developers.

Hence, a platform team fosters a happier developer experience, leading to a positive feedback loop that further increases productivity. In turn, this can contribute to improved engineer retention rates that let you continually deliver value more reliably, as you’re freed from the interruptions caused by team members being replaced.

Reduced Operational Costs

Establishing a platform team demands a significant initial investment. You’ve got to hire or reassign team members and then provide them with time to design the initial platform implementation. Integrating the platform into your existing developer processes also takes time; it can temporarily reduce productivity while devs learn the new working methods.

Beyond this one-time setup, however, committing to a platform positions you to reduce operational costs over the life of your product. What you spend on maintaining the platform can be recouped through optimized resource utilization, lower staff turnover, and shorter lead times to deliver new features to customers.

The standardization advantages provided by internal platforms can also reduce your operating costs. Gating infrastructure access behind a platform means you might be able to serve multiple apps and development environments from a smaller set of resources without incurring any security concerns.

Ultimately, any increase in efficiency is going to improve your bottom line. Platform teams support developers by providing ready-to-use DevOps technology stacks that reduce context-switching and cognitive load; this allows more output to be delivered with fewer resources.

Collaboration between Platform Teams and Development Teams

Although platform teams exist independently of development teams, the two groups shouldn’t be too separated. Both are still part of the same DevOps process, so collaboration is vital in order to align goals and objectives. Platform teams need to listen to changing developer requirements, while devs should be prepared to respect occasions when security or performance concerns prevent capabilities from being added to the platform.

Therefore, it’s crucial to provide clear communication channels between the two types of teams. Regular meetings, updates, and sync-ups in shared spaces—physically or virtually—allow analysis of what’s working and where improvements could be made.

Best Practices When Working with Platform Teams

When you start a platform engineering team, you should follow a few best practices to maximize your chances of success:

  • Document everything: Documenting how and why processes have been implemented is essential to preserving long-term maintainability.
  • Optimize for performance, observability, and scalability: Platforms need to be flexible to support current and future developer requirements without compromising velocity or your ability to inspect your systems.
  • Embrace new tools and technologies: Platform teams should help developers unlock the promise of new technologies. Part of a platform team’s responsibility should be trialing new tools and techniques and then analyzing how they affect software delivery outcomes.
  • Future-proof the team: Platform teams should themselves be future-proofed. Using tools and services that are portable across clouds and infrastructure types will make your internal platforms more resilient to future shifts in the industry.
  • Centralize all infrastructure and application management: The platform team should be your one-stop shop for infrastructure, process, and app management tasks. Prevent development teams from devising their own methods to promote consistency across your organization.

Having your platform teams stick to these policies will produce effective platforms that developers can rely on throughout the life of your apps.

Real-World Examples of Platform Teams

Real organizations are using platform teams to successfully improve their development outcomes. Uber, for example, found that its adoption of platform teams was an essential step in allowing its product engineering to scale with its growth curve. Although some issues were encountered at the outset—including less flexibility when responding to unforeseen changes—the shift made the company more resilient in the long term.

At Meta, the DevInfra platform team has a stated mission to “increase developer efficiency.” The group builds tools and automated infrastructure that let devs stay focused on “things that matter.” DevInfra standardizes processes for the thousands of engineers within Meta, ensuring consistent and reliable results even when major changes are required on a short timescale—such as the full-scale infrastructure rollout for Meta’s new Threads app, achieved within two days.


This guide explained how platform teams help your developers improve software delivery outcomes by providing self-service access to automated processes that are consistent, reliable, and managed as part of a cohesive internal platform.

Establishing a platform team requires investment, but this pays off in increased dev velocity and satisfaction. Developers can concentrate on their primary roles, freed from the intricacies of provisioning and maintaining infrastructure and other resources. Platform teams aren’t necessarily suitable for all organizations—smaller groups are less likely to benefit—but they’re an effective way to maintain efficiency as you scale to more apps and developers.

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James Walker %
James Walker
James Walker is the founder of Heron Web, a UK-based software development studio providing bespoke solutions for SMEs. He's experienced in delivering custom software using engineering workflows built around modern DevOps methodologies. James is also a freelance technical writer and has written extensively about the software development lifecycle, current industry trends, and DevOps concepts and technologies.


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