In the past few years, over half of my consulting engagements have addressed the high-payoff challenge known as platform engineering. Designing a single product can be difficult; fast-forwarding your thinking and designing a family of products to leverage a common set of core assets (a platform) brings many organizations to their knees.
The payoff of platform engineering can be huge. Most companies are stuck in a “one-of-a-kind” design purgatory in which there are great cost and time pressures just to deliver on the current product concept. The sad fact that this product could share 20-80% commonality with past or future solutions doesn’t matter to the project leader who is under the gun to “ship-it”. The past products were designed by someone else and documented poorly in artifacts that would be hard to mine for someone with a real job. Future products are fuzzy; marketing has some ideas concerning customer requirements and the R&D lab has some cool, but unproven technologies that they are pushing. But the harried project manager of ProductX can’t wait for those solutions to firm up to see if there are parts of his product that he can design with the future in mind.
Once you understand decision patterns, platform engineering isn’t really that difficult conceptually. The design of every product/solution can be modeled as a Decision Breakdown Structure (DBS) that is based on a common decision pattern. If you model past, present and future products using this common pattern, you can then overlay these models and “Presto!” a platform appears. A platform can be seen; it’s where common decisions lend themselves to common, scalable solutions (alternatives).
Of course, it still takes an organizational commitment to do real platform engineering to break out of “one-off” solution design. Get started today by leveraging the powerful capability of the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) to capture your legacy product designs and frame your future and in-development product designs around a common decision pattern. Please contact the Decision Driven® Solutions team at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to start your free trial of DDSF.