Do's and don'ts when build an internal developer platform

Shaked Askayo


July 9, 2023

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In today's fast-paced software development landscape, organizations need to provide their internal development teams with the tools and infrastructure necessary to excel. Internal developer platforms have emerged as a powerful solution that enables companies to streamline their software development processes and foster collaboration among developers. However, building an internal developer platform is not without its challenges. In this article, we will explore the do's and don'ts of building an internal developer platform to help you navigate this complex task.

Understanding the Importance of an Internal Developer Platform

An internal developer platform plays a critical role in empowering developers and accelerating the software development lifecycle. By providing a centralized platform that offers a range of development tools, libraries, and services, organizations can create an environment where developers can work more efficiently and focus on delivering value to the business.

Moreover, an internal developer platform enables teams to achieve consistency across projects, standardize development practices, and promote code reuse. This leads to improved efficiency, reduced time to market, and higher-quality software products.

The Role of an Internal Developer Platform

The primary role of an internal developer platform is to provide developers with the necessary resources to build, test, and deploy software applications. It serves as a layer of abstraction that shields developers from the complexities of the underlying infrastructure and enables them to focus on writing code.

Additionally, an internal developer platform acts as a collaboration hub, fostering communication and knowledge sharing among developers. It allows teams to work together seamlessly, collaborate on code, and share best practices.

Benefits of Having an Internal Developer Platform

Implementing an internal developer platform offers numerous benefits for organizations:

  • Enhances developer productivity by eliminating repetitive tasks and automating common development processes - By providing pre-configured development environments and facilitating seamless integration with third-party tools, developers can save valuable time and focus on solving business problems.
  • Consistency and standardization in development practices - It allows organizations to define development guidelines, enforce coding standards, and ensure that all projects adhere to best practices. This leads to improved code quality, reduced technical debt, and higher customer satisfaction.
  • Foster experimentation - With a centralized platform, developers have the freedom to explore new technologies, experiment with different approaches, and quickly prototype ideas. This promotes a culture of innovation within the organization and allows teams to stay ahead of the competition.
  • Scale their development efforts - By providing a consistent and standardized environment, it becomes easier to onboard new developers and ramp up their productivity quickly. This is especially important in fast-growing organizations or during periods of high demand.
  • Improving security and compliance - By centralizing development tools and services, organizations can implement security measures and enforce compliance standards more effectively. This helps mitigate security risks and ensures that sensitive data and intellectual property are protected.
  • Facilitates continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) practices - By providing automated build and deployment pipelines, developers can quickly and reliably release software updates. This leads to faster time to market, improved software quality, and better customer satisfaction.

Key Considerations Before Building an Internal Developer Platform

Before embarking on the journey of building an internal developer platform, it is crucial to carefully consider a few key aspects. By addressing these considerations upfront, you can set a solid foundation for success.

Identifying Your Needs

The first step in building an internal developer platform is identifying your organization's unique needs and requirements. Take the time to assess your current development processes, pain points, and areas where improvements can be made. This evaluation will enable you to design a platform that caters specifically to your organization's needs.

Engaging with stakeholders, including developers, project managers, and business leaders, is essential during this discovery phase. Collaborating with these key individuals will help you gain insights into their pain points and expectations, allowing you to align the platform to their needs.

For example, you may discover that developers often struggle with a lack of standardized processes, leading to inefficiencies and inconsistencies in code quality. By understanding this pain point, you can prioritize features in your platform that promote standardized practices and automate code quality checks.

Additionally, project managers may express a need for better visibility into the progress of development projects. This insight can guide you in designing features that provide real-time project tracking and reporting capabilities.

Setting Your Goals

Defining clear goals and objectives is crucial when building an internal developer platform. Establishing what you aim to achieve with the platform will guide your decisions and help you prioritize features and functionalities.

Some common goals include improving developer productivity, increasing code quality, reducing time to market, and fostering collaboration among developers. By clearly defining your goals, you can tailor the platform to meet these objectives and measure its success.

For instance, if one of your goals is to improve developer productivity, you can focus on integrating tools and features that streamline repetitive tasks, provide code snippets, and offer comprehensive documentation. This will empower developers to work more efficiently and reduce the time spent on mundane tasks.

Furthermore, if fostering collaboration among developers is a key goal, you can prioritize features such as code review workflows, shared knowledge repositories, and communication channels within the platform. These collaborative features will encourage knowledge sharing and enhance teamwork.

By setting clear goals, you can ensure that your internal developer platform is purpose-built to address the specific needs of your organization, leading to increased efficiency and improved outcomes.

The Do's When Building an Internal Developer Platform

Involving Your Development Team

When building an internal developer platform, it is vital to involve your development team from the early stages. By including the developers in the decision-making process, you can gain valuable insights into their needs, workflows, and pain points.

Moreover, involving the development team instills a sense of ownership and encourages their buy-in. Developers will feel empowered knowing that their input is valued and that the platform is designed to enhance their productivity.

Imagine a scenario where the development team is not involved in the platform's design and implementation. In such cases, the platform may lack crucial features that developers need to streamline their work. By involving the development team, you can ensure that the platform meets their specific requirements and enables them to work more efficiently.

During the early stages of development, organize brainstorming sessions with the development team to gather their ideas and suggestions. Encourage open communication and create a collaborative environment where everyone's opinions are heard and valued. This inclusive approach will foster a strong sense of teamwork and result in a platform that truly caters to the needs of your developers.

Ensuring Scalability and Flexibility

Scalability and flexibility are paramount when building an internal developer platform. As your organization grows and evolves, so will your development needs. It is crucial to design the platform with scalability in mind to accommodate future growth.

Imagine a scenario where your internal developer platform is not scalable. As your organization expands and the number of developers increases, the platform becomes overloaded, leading to performance issues and hampering productivity. To avoid such scenarios, it is essential to plan for scalability from the outset.

Consider adopting a modular architecture that allows for easy updates and additions to meet future requirements such as supporting additional platforms and integrations. This approach enables you to add new features, integrate with emerging technologies, and adapt to changing business needs without disrupting the entire platform. By building a flexible and scalable platform, you future-proof your development environment and ensure that it can evolve alongside your organization.

Furthermore, scalability is not just about accommodating growth in terms of developers and workload. It also involves considering the increasing complexity of projects and the need for efficient collaboration. A scalable platform should provide features such as version control, project management tools, and seamless integration with other systems. These capabilities empower your development team to work on multiple projects simultaneously and collaborate effectively, even as the demands on the platform increase.

Prioritizing Security

Security should be a top priority when building an internal developer platform. Protecting sensitive intellectual property, customer data, and business-critical information is paramount to maintaining trust and reputation.

Imagine the consequences of a data breach on an internal developer platform. Confidential source code, proprietary algorithms, and customer data could be compromised, leading to financial losses, legal repercussions, and damage to your organization's reputation. To prevent such incidents, it is crucial to prioritize security at every stage of platform development.

Implement robust security measures such as access controls, encryption, and secure coding practices. Regularly audit the platform for vulnerabilities and promptly address any identified issues. By adopting a proactive approach to security, you can mitigate the risk of data breaches and ensure a secure development environment.

Additionally, consider implementing multi-factor authentication and role-based access controls to limit unauthorized access to the platform. Regularly educate your development team about best practices for secure coding and data handling to minimize the likelihood of human error leading to security breaches.

Moreover, staying updated with the latest security practices and industry standards is essential. Keep an eye on emerging security threats and continuously evaluate and enhance the platform's security measures to stay one step ahead of potential attackers.

By prioritizing security, you not only protect your organization's valuable assets but also instill confidence in your development team and stakeholders that their data is safe. This trust is crucial for fostering innovation and attracting top talent to your organization.

The Don'ts When Building an Internal Developer Platform

Avoiding Over-Complexity

One of the biggest mistakes when building an internal developer platform is over-complicating its design. While it is essential to provide a comprehensive set of tools and services, avoid overwhelming developers with unnecessary complexity.

Simplicity should be at the core of the platform's design. Keep in mind that developers value ease of use and a streamlined experience. Strive for a user-friendly interface, intuitive workflows, and clear documentation to minimize the learning curve and maximize productivity.

Not Overlooking Documentation

Documentation is often underrated but plays a crucial role in the success of an internal developer platform. Comprehensive and up-to-date documentation serves as a valuable resource for developers, enabling them to understand the platform's features and functionalities.

Ensure that the documentation covers installation instructions, configuration details, API references, and troubleshooting guides. Regularly update the documentation as the platform evolves, and encourage developers to contribute to it. By investing time in quality documentation, you empower developers to make the most of the platform and reduce support overhead.

Ignoring User Feedback

User feedback is a precious asset when building an internal developer platform. Developers are the end-users of the platform, and their input can provide valuable insights into areas for improvement.

Establish channels for gathering and reviewing user feedback. Encourage developers to share their experiences, suggestions, and pain points. Regularly analyze the feedback and iterate on the platform based on the insights gained. By actively listening to your users, you can create a platform that truly meets their needs, driving increased adoption and satisfaction.

Case Study of Successful Internal Developer Platforms

One of the leading companies in the fintech industry, [Company Name], successfully implemented an internal developer platform to enhance their development processes. By adding a conversational IDP over Slack it was able to automate 80% over it’s requests and reduce the SLA for those requests by over 70%. Most requests would be addressed in under 1 minute. Temporary access allowed the company better agility and reduced oncall efforts significantly. Read the full details here


In conclusion, building an internal developer platform requires careful consideration, collaboration, and adherence to best practices. By understanding the importance of an internal developer platform, identifying your organization's needs, and setting clear goals, you can lay a solid foundation for success.

Additionally, by following the do's, such as involving your development team, ensuring scalability and flexibility, and prioritizing security, and avoiding the don'ts, such as over-complexity, inadequate documentation, and ignoring user feedback, you can build a platform that truly empowers your developers and drives organizational success.

Looking at successful case studies, like those of [Company Name], can provide valuable insights and inspiration as you embark on your journey to build an internal developer platform. Armed with this knowledge, you are well-equipped to tackle the challenge and unlock the full potential of your internal development capabilities.

Looking for an internal developer tool? Read about the next generation of IDPs which are conversational or take it for a test drive.

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