Serverless is a State of Mind [Article Review]
Every now and again, I like to share a short article review with you from others in the serverless community. These will be pieces that I refer to often, either for inspiration or reference; some will be technical, others will be more strategic.
Today’s article is Serverless is a State of Mind by Ben Kehoe.
I love this piece from Ben as it acknowledges all the attributes that folks consider to be core to serverless as important but posits that they are “not the point”. He then distils serverless down to this essence:
“Focus is the Why of Serverless”
Focus is a critical attribute both at an individual engineer level and the strategic organisational level.
As engineers, we often get distracted with our task at hand and the exciting problem solving that it brings. Writing a load of code to make something that’s robust and reusable is what comes naturally to many of us. Ben pulls this apart:
“Code is a liability. Code can at best do exactly what you intend it to. Bugs detract from this. You can only lose points through more coding. The more code you own, the more opportunities exist to depart from your intended value. Understanding this is a cultural shift.”
At an organisational level, many companies or teams within companies get distracted by owning their own technologies and infrastructure, seeing this as some form of risk mitigation. But by doing this, they’re doing so at the cost of their core value offering:
“A company is serverless if it decides that it shouldn’t own technology that isn’t core to delivering its business value.”
“If your team decides to focus only on the value it’s delivering, and delegate anything outside that either to another team, or ideally outside — then your team is going serverless”
A few quotes that particularly resonated with me were:
“Configuration is your friend. I think many developers look down on configuration as ‘not real programming’. There’s an idolatry of coding today. We’ve been told that ‘software is eating the world’, and we’ve inaccurately translated that to ‘coding is eating the world’.”
“Constraints are good. Removing options can help you focus. Obviously, not all constraints are good — but in general, the ability to do anything general comes at the cost of it taking longer to do one particular thing. Guard rails may chafe, but you’ll be faster than if you have to constantly watch the edge.”
“Be afraid of the enormity of the enormity of the possible. Possibilities carry with them hidden complexity. For any technology, one of my primarily evaluation metrics is how much capability it has beyond the task at hand. When there’s a lot of extra space, there’s unnecessary complexity to both deal with and learn.”
“Accept the discomfort of not owning your own destiny”
This is a really well written piece and if you need a bit of inspiration or direction in your strategic decision making—maybe you feel like you’re getting distracted by shiny new techs or the temptation to roll your own solution—you should absolutely read this.
Have a great weekend!
Other articles you might enjoy:
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