Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais on Software Architecture, Team Topologies, and Platforms

Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais on Software Architecture, Team Topologies, and Platforms

In this podcast, Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais, co-authors of the book Team Topologies, sat down with InfoQ podcast co-host Daniel Bryant. Topics discussed included: the role of a modern software architect, how team design impacts software architecture, creating “team APIs” in order to reduce cognitive load, and the benefits of building a “thinnest viable platform”.

In this podcast, [Matthew Skelton_](https://www.infoq.com/profile/Matthew-Skelton/) and [Manuel Pais_](https://www.infoq.com/profile/Manuel-Pais/), co-authors of the book [Team Topologies_](https://teamtopologies.com/book), sat down with InfoQ podcast co-host [Daniel Bryant_](https://www.infoq.com/profile/Daniel-Bryant/). Topics discussed included: the role of a modern software architect, how team design impacts software architecture, creating “team APIs” in order to reduce cognitive load, and the benefits of building a “thinnest viable platform”.

Key Takeaways

  • A software architect can no longer just focus on technology. Of course, modern architects need to know about applications, frameworks, cloud services, and big data etc, but they also need to know about Conway’s Law, cognitive load, and recognising the concepts of coupling and cohesion outside of the technology.
  • Creating a “team API” enables good communication and collaboration and also assists with designing effective boundaries around software systems. Within a typical enterprise organisation many of the communication modes consist of unclear responsibilities and unwritten rules that are hard to understand and enforce.
  • Defining a team API can reduce the cognitive load on understanding the communication patterns, especially in distributed, remote working.
  • The Team Topologies book introduces four team types: stream-aligned team (often referred to as a product team), enabling team, complicated subsystem team, and platform team. The book also discusses various best practices for interaction models within each of these teams to increase cohesion and reduce coupling.
  • Platform teams can interact with other teams via an “as a service” communication model, and there is value in creating a “thinnest viable platform”. The thinnest platform you can build is a Wiki page with a list of several services that a cloud vendor provides and an explanation of how these have been curated to provide an experience for the engineers who are using this.

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