Skip to content
Rich SharplesJune 24, 20243 min read

Platform Engineering - Transforming IT Infrastructure for Modern Enterprises


The interest and momentum around Platform Engineering has really grown over the last couple of years - marked by the significant bump in attendance of last month’s Platform Con204 and research from Gartner claiming that “By 2026, 80% of large software engineering organizations will establish platform engineering teams as internal providers of reusable services, components and tools for application delivery — up from 45% in 2022”

The idea of a dedicated platform team tasked with streamlining an organization’s Internal Developer Platform has been around for over a decade but only in the last few years has it’s current meaning solidified. Over the years technology stacks have increased in complexity and the use of cloud computing services and containerization technologies (like Kubernetes and Docker) further solidified the need for dedicated teams to streamline and manage the platforms used for application development and delivery.

Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais released their Team Topologies book in 2019 and while this may not have been the first formal and modern definition of Platform Engineering term, it’s probably served as the inspiration for many organizations.

What is Platform Engineering?

In Skelton and Pais "Team Topologies," Platform Engineering is defined as the practice of building and maintaining an internal (developer) platform that provides reusable services, tools, and infrastructure and captures best practices and knowledge to support development teams. The goal is to reduce cognitive load on product teams by abstracting complexity and enabling faster delivery of value.

Core Responsibilities of Platform Engineers


Problem: Manual processes are time-consuming and prone to errors.

Solution: Platform engineers implement CI/CD pipelines to automate the build, test, and deployment processes. This not only speeds up development but also ensures consistency and reduces the likelihood of human error.


Problem: Applications need to handle varying loads without performance degradation.

Solution: Engineers design systems that can scale horizontally or vertically to meet demand. This involves load balancing, auto-scaling, and optimizing resource allocation to ensure applications perform well under different conditions.


Problem: Downtime and performance issues can disrupt user experience and business operations.

Solution: Platform engineers establish robust monitoring and logging systems to detect and address issues proactively. They also implement redundancy and failover mechanisms to maintain high availability and reliability.


Problem: Security vulnerabilities can lead to data breaches and compliance issues.

Solution: Engineers enforce security best practices such as encryption, role-based access control, and regular security audits. They ensure that the infrastructure complies with industry standards and regulations, protecting sensitive data and maintaining user trust.

Curating Golden Paths

A "golden path" refers to a set of best practices, tools, and workflows that a platform team provides to development teams to streamline and standardize the development process. It represents the optimal, recommended way to build and deploy applications, ensuring efficiency, consistency, and reduced cognitive load.

The Impact of Platform Engineering

The work of platform engineers has a profound impact on the overall efficiency and effectiveness of an organization’s software development lifecycle. Here’s a summary of the key benefits:

  • Increased Efficiency: Automation and streamlined processes reduce manual tasks, allowing developers to focus on innovation.
  • Improved Reliability: Proactive monitoring and robust systems ensure high availability and performance.
  • Enhanced Security: Strong security measures protect sensitive data and maintain user trust.
  • Better Developer Productivity: Simplified processes and tools boost developer morale and productivity.


Platform Engineering teams reduce cognitive load by abstracting complex infrastructure and providing reusable services, allowing development teams to focus on building applications and delivering features. They enforce consistency and standardization through best practices and standardized workflows (aka Golden Paths), ensuring uniformity across projects. By offering pre-built tools and services, platform engineering teams increase efficiency in development and deployment processes. They enable scalable solutions that grow with the organization’s needs. Additionally, by simplifying the development process, they improve overall developer productivity and satisfaction especially for new developers onboarding into the organization.


Rich Sharples

With 30+ years in software, Rich brings seasoned leadership in product and technology. His expertise spans software development, product management, and fostering innovation.


Related articles