To return to software team effectiveness, organizations need to raise the complexity limit. Lifting the complexity limit essentially means increasing the amount of organizational complexity each team can navigate before it impacts job satisfaction, and the quality and speed at which the team ships software.
Platform engineering is an important concept in the quest to lift the complexity limit for an organization. Strong platform engineering teams focus on reducing the cognitive load of software teams by abstracting organization complexity from their day-to-day work. When implemented correctly, platform engineering enables teams to rebalance the bulk of effort towards solving gnarly problems, with less time spent navigating organizational complexity.
Fig 4. Lifting the complexity limit
Atlassian created Compass, a developer experience platform, for this very reason. Compass helps lift the complexity limit by making it easy for software teams to navigate organizational complexity through the component catalog, metrics and scorecards, and focus on creating a healthy engineering culture. The key callout here is organizational complexity did not reduce within Atlassian; in fact it continued to grow as more and more of the organization moved to a microservices architecture. We reduced the amount of time software teams spent navigating that complexity, which is the difference between a simplification project and lifting the complexity limit.
Atlassian has over 10,000 employees and over 17,000 software components, yet our software teams largely operate with startup-like freedom, shipping high quality software, fast. Our key to success? Lifting the complexity limit to improve software team effectiveness.
Here’s two actions to start lifting your complexity limit:
- Track and assess your DORA metrics. How are the DORA metrics looking for your team? If you’re not tracking these already, the DORA metrics are provided out of the box with Compass.
- Understand and assess developer satisfaction. How are the developers feeling in your software teams? Most organizations conduct employee satisfaction surveys. Ask for the results, broken down by functional area, to gain insight into developer satisfaction. Key questions include rating the following statements:
- I am proud to ship
- The amount of stress in my job is manageable
- I understand how my work contributes to company goals
Alternatively, Compass captures this information during the CheckOps ritual, where teams share how they felt about the last week, along with details on what could’ve gone better.
Lifting the complexity limit requires a combination of tools, processes, and rituals. A developer experience platform like Compass can help you understand system health, map dependences, and create ongoing rituals, helping to lift the complexity limit and unlocking the potential of software delivery teams in your organization.
Try Compass for free today.