Platform Engineering Needs Marketing

Building an internal developer platform and standing up a platform engineering practice isn’t enough. You also need to do some serious marketing! Check out VMware's app dev stack toolkit for building out your platform, the Tanzu Application Platform.

When I talk with people about build their app dev platform (PaaS, whatever you're building on-top of kubernetes for your developers to use), I emphasize the need to for marketing around that platform. I go over that because I'm like, "no, I really mean like doing a lot of marketing, staffing it with one person who's, like, a 'developer advocate,' and then staffing with more.

In the longer version of this video, I quickly give an example of large bank that has a team of 6 or 8 people on this team. Anyhow, get some advocates for your platform.


Here's the transcript of the longer version:

If you're building out a platform engineering team, one thing that you're going to need to do that you probably don't realize is focused a lot on what I call internal marketing. 

You can think of this as developer relations or advocacy or enablement or whatever. But what it means is that once you built out a new platform for your development teams to use, to run on top of Kubernetes or your platform or whatever it is, you're going to need to spend a lot of time actually going to those teams and telling them that it exists. 

Why You Need It

This may seem astonishing. You spend all this time to build it out, but they're just not going to know about it or care about it. And this is where the marketing comes in. You need to build up not only the technical manual for it, an explanation of what it is, but also prove to them through actual success stories of teams in your organizations that have already used it, that it works. That it's a good idea. 

So start baking that into your platform engineering team, right away. And you probably even want to dedicate one person to it, a developer advocate, if you will, that is going to do all of this internal marketing collect together.

Those cases go over the kind of training material, what you would see from us vendor developer advocates, and you will grow that team more and more as you become a larger organization. 

Example at a Bank

For example, one bank that I've been talking with, they have about six or 10 people who are on this team to work for about 20, 25,000 developers.

[00:01:14] Really started thinking about that internal developer relations, that internal marketing that you have, because it's going to be something that you really will need to focus on to drive the success and the ROI of your platform. 

Product Management Feedback

And there's a special bonus that you'll get. You'll be able to actually get feedback from those developers to better product manage the features you have in your platform, which is a key part of the platform engineering thing, because you're thinking about developers as your customer. So this function will not only help them know about it and get to use it, but we'll give you an idea of ways that you can improve the platform to really accomplish the most satisfying part of platform engineering, which is building something that's useful and helps your organization out.

Good luck!,, @cote