Platform Engineering with Vending Machines, Contracts, and Pipelines
Wahl Network - Technical Solutions for Technical People
by Chris Wahl
3w ago
Building a platform capable of scale means planning for scale in the first place. For me, this comes down to the formation of contracts – specifically platform and service contracts – and then using vending machines and pipelines to ensure the contracts are enforced and consistent. This post provides some thoughts on each of these constructs, how I use them, and where they fit together. This pattern has served me well in designing and building platforms used by developers in a domain-driven model with multiple daily deployments. With that said, your company’s org chart (silos) will have a huge ..read more
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Good Read – Recoding America
Wahl Network - Technical Solutions for Technical People
by Chris Wahl
1M ago
The full title of this book is “Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better” but felt a little long for the blog post title. ? A colleague of mine recommended this book to me after my first public sector project. Originally I had scratched my head around a number of behaviors and decisions that I witnessed in government work. There seemed to be a pretty major disconnect between “these are the laws and policies being passed” and “these are the systems and processes that translate those laws and policies into actionable outcomes.” Policy and delivery ..read more
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Stop Creating Solutions, Start Problem Solving
Wahl Network - Technical Solutions for Technical People
by Chris Wahl
4M ago
This blog is focused on solutioning versus problem solving. Most people seem to think these two are the same thing. They are not. What are problems? Let’s dig into the idea of a problem as a reference point. A problem is something that isn’t what it should be. Something doesn’t make sense, or perhaps it operates inefficiently. Something breaks or flakes or shakes the wrong way. In general, problems can be solved from two directions: obviation (removal) or abstraction (acceptance). Everything in between is nuance of the two and can be boiled down to one or the other when an atomic unit of “prob ..read more
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Platform Engineering is Product Design at Scale
Wahl Network - Technical Solutions for Technical People
by Chris Wahl
4M ago
In Lessons I’ve Learned Leading a Platform Engineering Team, I tease out various learnings that I wanted to capture for future me. And that’s all well and good if you have the context and experience in designing, building, and maintaining platforms. But most folks do not. This post aims to address how Platform Engineering works in the real world. I’ll do my best to break down the important bits. Guiding Principles of Platform Engineering You and your organization want to build something. That something is a piece of software. So, you gather up a bunch of people who know how to build software a ..read more
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Great Architects Always Seek Feedback
Wahl Network - Technical Solutions for Technical People
by Chris Wahl
4M ago
In What Great Architects Actually Do, I listed a number of opinions on the topic. Here’s one more: great architects always seek feedback Not sometimes. Not usually. Not in specific use cases. Always. Why? Your first idea is going to suck in some way Face it, it’s true. If you could wave your hands in the air and magically come up with a perfect solution, you would not be a human being. I certainly can’t. My 3rd version of something is usually when I start getting confident that I’m going in the right direction. I’ve found that the scale of a problem has little impact on this truth. There are t ..read more
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Lessons I’ve Learned Leading a Platform Engineering Team
Wahl Network - Technical Solutions for Technical People
by Chris Wahl
4M ago
I lead a Platform Engineering team in my day job. My specific expertise is in public sector (government) work at enterprise scale. This comes with a very interesting and unique set of requirements and constraints. It’s not an easy job, but I do very much enjoy it and get to work with great people. It feels really good to directly impact citizens and their communities with well designed and operated technology. These are some lessons I’ve learned while building highly secure platforms in this environment. But first, a rant about Platform Engineering Since vendors love to steal terms and then to ..read more
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What Great Architects Actually Do
Wahl Network - Technical Solutions for Technical People
by Chris Wahl
4M ago
I was reading through another spicy blog post written by Charity Majors focused on her experience with the role of the architect at various organizations. There’s a lot of ideas and inputs sprinkled in throughout the article and I generally agree with most of it. The post inspired me to write down my thoughts on what great architects actually do with their time. It forced me to navel gaze a little, challenge my own assumptions, and think through a bunch of different experiences. Here we go. Context Let’s start with some context so that we can align on a few things. First, I’m not in either cam ..read more
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Program Leadership
Wahl Network - Technical Solutions for Technical People
by Chris Wahl
4M ago
I like to work in the “team of teams” component of a program or project. It’s a role focused entirely on quickly assembling high performing teams, constructing artifacts and decisions that answer the “why” and “what” of things to be done, while leaving the agency of “how” to do those things to the workstream teams delivering the work. Over the past few years, I have taken leadership roles in the delivery of large, complex programs focused on clearly defined business outcomes. Or, to translate, “go build the team that makes the thing and setup our users for success to use the thing.” I have gre ..read more
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Pathfinding
Wahl Network - Technical Solutions for Technical People
by Chris Wahl
4M ago
I sat down. The elation of public speaking and the rush of adrenaline was fading, a feeling I knew all too well from experience. I had just finished delivering a 20 minute presentation covering the story and impact I’ve made over the past 2 years coupled with a 10 minute Q&A session. The audience consisted of my work peers and senior leadership, the decision makers. This was the final part of a lengthy process for a promotion and was a story I had spent most of the year writing. I knew where my towel was. The “how we can work together” slide. The presentation centered around the art and sc ..read more
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Generous Persistence
Wahl Network - Technical Solutions for Technical People
by Chris Wahl
4M ago
I was listening to an archived episode of the Akimbo podcast titled Genius. In it, Seth Godin riffs on the idea behind being a genius and challenges many common assumptions by bringing up examples like the Jack Pine. Go listen to the episode and hear what he has to say. “We have to be wrong if we want to be a genius, because we don’t even know what the problem is yet.” Seth Godin One phrase caught my ear: generous persistence. Seth drops it at 15:52. Generous, to go beyond what is strictly necessary, and persistent, to remain dedicated, disciplined, and focused on something for the long haul ..read more
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