Book recommendation: Team Topologies

May 24, 2021
I read most of "Team Topologies" on a flight to Madrid, and was able to immediately begin to put it to use.

About a year ago I was helping an early-stage startup grow their software engineering staff. Around the same time, the book Team Topologies by Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais, was published. I read most of it on a flight from Amsterdam to Madrid, and was able to immediately begin to put it to use.

The book offers four fundamental team types, which roughly map to the three types of dependencies I talked about on Saturday:

  • Stream-Aligned Team: this team type is perhaps the most numerous, is usually cross-functional in nature.
  • Platform team: this team type is perhaps most commonly seen in operations roles (often mislabeled a “DevOps team”), and develops and maintains the platforms that allow the stream-aligned teams to work unhindered.
  • Enabling team: this team type doesn’t always exist, but when it does it is generally at the beck and call of the stream-aligned teams, as needed. Some organiations put QA in teams like this.
  • Complicated-Subsystem Team: the least common type of team, this is designed to reduce the cognitive load on other stream-aligned or platform teams, when there some especially complicated piece of technology that must be maintained.

If your company is struggling with how to organize its teams, this book will give you some priceless food for thought. And it’s non-dogmatic approach is very refreshing!

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