Is work-in-progress slowing you down? Here’s how platform engineering can help.

by Keiran Holloway, Senior Technical Manager, Rackspace Technology


If you’re operating in the cloud today, you’re probably well aware of the complexities involved in operating and managing in cloud environments. One of the significant challenges you’ll face is the impact of work-in-progress (WIP) on your business's agility and efficiency. Let's dive into why WIP is a problem and explore how you can overcome them and streamline your cloud operations.

Challenges of WIP in Cloud Operations

When operating in the cloud, every new provisioning task often involves a cumbersome design and request process. For example, imagine you need to deploy a Python microservice backed by a database. In businesses with multiple teams, the workflow might look something long like this — just for the database creation:

WIP slowdown pic 1

This multi-step process requires human intervention at every stage and leads to requests languishing in ticket queues, waiting to be actioned. This situation creates significant delays, hindering your business's ability to move quickly and respond to immediate market demands.

Result: We’ve seen the above flow take over seven working days to complete!

The solution: Platform Engineering

To combat the inefficiencies caused by WIP, consider building a dedicated platform engineering team. This team focuses on creating self-service platforms and reusable components, significantly reducing the need for repetitive manual tasks.

The power of Spotify Backstage

One powerful tool for enabling platform engineering is Backstage, an open-source platform developed by Spotify. Backstage provides a framework for building templates that make software development self-service and reusable. By adopting Backstage, you can achieve:

  • Economies of speed: Streamline your provisioning process by making it self-service, allowing your development teams to move faster without waiting for tickets to be processed.
  • Reduced WIP: Minimize the number of tasks stuck in progress by automating common requests and provisioning steps.
  • Enhanced collaboration: Through standardized templates and processes, foster better collaboration between development, security, and operations teams.

Result: By using Backstage with a dedicated platform engineering team, we’ve seen the above flow reduced from seven days to 30 minutes.

Benefits of adopting a platform engineering approach

  • Increased agility: Enable your teams to deploy and iterate faster, reducing time-to-market for new features and services.
  • Scalability: Easily scale your operations with reusable templates and automated processes.
  • Improved developer experience: Provide your developers with the tools they need to be productive without the overhead of navigating complex request systems.

Let's speed up your cloud operations

By focusing on platform engineering and leveraging tools like Backstage, you can overcome the bottlenecks caused by WIP and transform your cloud operations. If you're ready to speed up your product and engineering teams, let's connect. We have a wealth of experience working with development teams — and can help your organization unlock the full potential of your cloud infrastructure. 

Learn More about Rackspace Platform Engineering