Paved Paths Series - Part 1 - Let's Talk About Paved Paths

Paved Path Series

This is Part 1 in a series of posts exploring Paved Paths between Chris and I.

Paved Paths. Golden Paths. Paved Roads. You’d be forgiven for thinking the industry already had these nailed down, a solved problem that has been spoken about for years in various guises. With the current spotlight on platform engineering and developer experience, their name is being comfortably thrown around more and more regularly. Unfortunately, descriptions of them are usually from 30,000ft. and if you try to delve deeper, looking for details and commonly experienced challenges, you’ll likely find very little. Maybe a few gems hidden in the clouds…

With this series of blog posts, we would like to change that.

Chris and I have worked together previously and are both passionate about engineering enablement. Recently we ran into each other at a conference and over a great lunch and a lot of conversation, we spoke about quantifying what paved paths are exactly, how we can make them better and what intentional steps can be taken to allow them to be successful. We realised, that in our professional capacities, this is a problem we’ve been in the detail of, learnt lessons and carried on without reflecting and writing them down. Through this series, we will hopefully demystify these incredibly useful concepts and add our insights with some real-world experience.

Our motivators for writing this series:

  • Paved Paths are usually bundled in with a centralised platform engineering model. We’re both passionate about them being equally valuable with a decentralised approach.
  • Paved Paths are hugely important to the industry with varying interpretations of what they are. They’re not all sunshine and rainbows, but we’d love to see more people apply them successfully.
  • We are continuously asking our engineers to take on more and more responsibilities within the DevOps lifecycle as we shift left. This can ease their pain.
  • Most examples are embedded in the Kubernetes ecosystem (where there is a lot of phenomenal tooling). We’d like to spotlight that Paved Paths are entirely possible outside of k8s, whether using PaaS or on-prem servers!
What's in a name?
Paved paths are also known as golden paths or paved roads. The term paved paths makes us think of hiking trails that evolve over time, with well-trodden paths being upgraded / maintained to be easier and safer to use as time goes on. We will use this term going forwards as it resonates best with us.

These are some topics we would like to explore in this series:

  • The elusive one-pager that every CxO needs to kickstart your journey
  • The problems we are solving for and why it is a good idea to invest time in paved paths
  • What makes up a paved path?
  • To centralise or decentralise?
  • What is important to measure?
  • Practical ways to get started

We hope you will enjoy these as much as we’ve enjoyed exploring them. Start a conversation with us on Twitter - I’m @rickroche_ and Chris is @ctaceygreen .

In part 2 of our Paved Path Series we start off with a one-pager to help you explain this to your CxO - read it here !

Images generated by Craiyon , updated using excalidraw .