Engineering leaders with mature platform teams: When you were establishing your platform engineering team structure, what insights/knowledge do you wish you had? What were the crucial factors that contributed to structuring your teams effectively?

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Sr. Director of Engineering in Software, 51 - 200 employees
The platform engineering team essentially consists of roles - Product Line Manager, Product Manager, Module Owner, Team Lead, Developers, QA and Devops. 

The Product Line Manager defines the platform roadmap while talking to outward interfaces. Product Manager then breaks the roadmap items into actionables, These actionables are assigned to different Module Owners who get the design and implementation in place by using developers, QA and devops. 

The role of devops is to define and establish a robust CI/CD practice to ensure seamless integration during the development lifecycle. 

The team strengths like skillsets, ownership traits, their own interest areas are important to know while creating the team. Proper Defining the tasks and scope of roles make the development structured, flexible and scalable. 

Chair and Professor, Startup CTO in Education, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Defined roles and needs, streamlined process, policies, qualified candidates. 
Director of Engineering in Healthcare and Biotech, 501 - 1,000 employees
It's important to assess the skills and strengths of each individual and attempt to build teams that best leverage each asset. While clear policies, timelines and procedures should be developed, teams should be structured so that individuals are empowered to make decisions. Collaboration should be encouraged and rewarded. 
Chief Technology Officer in Software, 11 - 50 employees
I believe these are a few of the key factors:
Clear Vision and Goals, Cross-functional Collaboration, Skillset Diversity, Team Autonomy, and Effective Communication and Documentation.
Co-founder & CTO in Finance (non-banking), 51 - 200 employees

1. Clearly Defining Platform Goals: It's essential to have a clear understanding of our platform's goals and objectives right from the start. This involves identifying our target users, defining the scope and purpose of the platform, and understanding the expected outcomes. Having a strong vision for our platform has been instrumental in shaping our team structure accordingly.

2. Promoting Cross-Functional Collaboration: Our platform engineering teams work closely with various stakeholders, including product managers, designers, and other engineering teams. We have fostered a culture of collaboration and established effective communication channels to ensure seamless coordination across teams. In some cases, we have embedded platform engineers within product teams or designated liaison roles to facilitate this collaboration.

3. Empowering Ownership and Autonomy: We have empowered our platform engineering teams with ownership and autonomy, which has been crucial for their success. By giving teams the authority to make decisions within their expertise, allowing them to set their own goals, and providing a sense of ownership over the platform, we have seen increased motivation and accountability.

4. Aligning Talent and Skillsets: When structuring our platform engineering teams, we considered the necessary skill sets and expertise needed to build and maintain the platform. We identified the core competencies required, such as distributed systems, scalability, APIs, security, and infrastructure, and ensured that our team composition aligned with these needs. Striking a balance between specialized skills and generalists who can bridge different domains has proven effective.

5. Scalability and Flexibility: Anticipating future scalability and flexibility needs has been crucial. We made sure that our team structure could accommodate growth, both in terms of team size and the expanding functionalities of the platform. We have considered flexible team structures, such as cross-functional teams or squads, that can adapt to changing requirements and priorities.

6. Emphasizing Documentation and Knowledge Sharing: Establishing robust documentation practices and promoting knowledge sharing within the team has been a priority. We encouraged the creation of internal wikis, runbooks, and well-documented APIs to foster a culture of transparency and enable new team members to quickly onboard. Regularly reviewing and updating documentation has kept it relevant and useful.

7. Cultivating Continuous Improvement and Learning: We emphasized a culture of continuous improvement and learning within our platform engineering teams. We encouraged experimentation, provided opportunities for skill development and growth, and fostered a blameless culture that promotes learning from failures. Regularly assessing team performance, gathering feedback, and iterating on the team structure has helped us adapt to evolving needs.

8. Metrics and Success Measurement: We defined clear metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of our platform engineering teams. We identified meaningful metrics aligned with our platform's goals, such as uptime, performance, developer productivity, and user satisfaction. Regularly tracking and analyzing these metrics have enabled us to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.

Solutions Architect in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees
The fundamental thing is to have a clear vision and goals aligned with the business strategy. 
Strike a balance between specialization and generalization within the teams, encouraging cross-training and knowledge sharing. Empower team members to take ownership of their areas of expertise, promoting accountability and innovation. Cultivate a culture of continuous learning and development, providing opportunities for skill-building and knowledge sharing.

And last but certainly not least, it is crucial to always manage expectations properly for both the stakeholders and the team.
Director of Engineering in Software, 10,001+ employees
Clear goals that these team need to achieve. The appropriate skillset that we have and that we can acquire to achieve the target. Cross functional collaboration and point of contacts.
CTO in Education, 51 - 200 employees
 I want to clearly define the purpose and goals of your platform engineering team. Crucial factors included:  collaboration with product teams, cross functional expertise, clear ownership and accountability and the ability to scale.  
Senior Vice President, Engineering in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
In my previous experiences, while setting up platform teams I observed that they need to have a high degree of autonomy in order to be effective. However, they also need to be coordinated with other teams in the organization in order to ensure that they are working towards common goals.

The ability to experiment, innovate, perseverance, and patience are some of the most crucial factors according to me. A group of engineers from this team need to be dedicated to R&D purposes and shouldn't be held liable for deliveries, this gives them the ability to think and come up with solutions that more often than not proved to be effective for the deliveries.

Manager in Manufacturing, 10,001+ employees
i always look into structuring teams so as to have the best amount of diversity and depth in experience.

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