For most organizations building an internal platform team can be a challenge when your internal customers are engineers and you don’t have any type of formal product management. How do you go about keeping up with the product side of things when you’re knee deep in Kubernetes, storage systems and configuration management and other frameworks for services?
In this latest episode of the “Art of Modern Ops” Camille Fournier (@skamille), Managing Director at Two Sigma and Cornelia Davis (@cdavisafc), CTO at Weaveworks discuss what it takes to build an internal platform within your organization. Many organizations might not think they need an internal product management procedure to identify the key features from their customers to prioritize and build into the platform. At Two Sigma the platform team’s customers are other engineers, who generally work on data engineering, building tools for financial operations, as well as for systems that trade in the markets.
The platform team at Two Sigma counts a customer base of about 500 engineers. This is relatively small, says Camille, if compared with technology companies or consumer facing companies, where there may be millions of customers who can be aggregated into groups and targeted with specific features. The goal with an internal product management team is to determine features that are going to satisfy more than one group of engineers and that can be used across multiple teams.
“We by and large are not trying to build something that’s just bespoke for like one other engineering team. If only one team needs it then probably they should build it themselves or we should find an open source project off the shelf that satisfies their requirements.” -- Camille Fournier, Managing Director, Two Sigma
Strategies for evolving the platform: Open source, integration, evolution
It’s fair to say that in this day and age and for a lot of organizations, the expectation is that the “new” platform will be based on open source and a good bit of the platform team’s job is figuring out how to make open source products work together and strategically for your company. Kubernetes is one example of this, and then there is the ecosystem of tools you need with it to get working as well. If your organization has legacy systems those also need to be integrated which can significantly increase complexity.
- How should organizations approach the journey?
- How do you get the ‘buy in’ from your customers to make a change, say to Kubernetes or to some of the other tooling?
Camille Fournier, Managing Director, Two Sigma
Camille Fournier is currently the Managing Director at Two Sigma. Prior to that she was the former Chief Technology Officer of Rent the Runway. She is an open source contributor and project committee member for both Apache ZooKeeper and the Dropwizard web framework. Camille also served as a software engineer at Microsoft, and also spent several years as a technical specialist at Goldman Sachs, creating distributed systems for managing risk analysis and firmwide infrastructure.
She has a BS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Camille is a well-respected voice within the tech community, speaking on a variety of topics such as engineering leadership, distributed systems, scaling teams, and technical architecture. In 2017 she released her book, “The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change.”
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The Art of Modern Ops · Camille Fournier on Building Internal Kubernetes Platforms