In the current climate, we see countless talented individuals taking to LinkedIn to vent about job listings that place unrealistic expectations on candidates. A recent example was a large enterprise stating the need for ‘over 12 years’ experience in Kubernetes administration and management’. The problem? Kubernetes is just six years old. How can candidates focused on microservices expect to succeed when they’re up against time travellers?
Despite job-hunters’ frustrations, instances such as these are undoubtedly just simple mistakes. That said, they bring to light considerable challenges for those trying to implement a microservices-based architecture – namely, needing a team with highly specific, in-depth experience of a very technical and relatively new technology. And that’s not always easy to come by.
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In the quest to successfully implement microservices-based applications, there are common characteristics which appear in nearly all successful cases – and overcoming the skills gap is just one.
Deriving value, developing resilience
We’re used to hearing the slogan ‘Go big or go home’, but businesses would do well to think small when developing microservices. Here, developing manageable and reusable components will enable companies, partners and customers to use individual microservices across an entire landscape of applications and industries. In doing so, businesses aren’t restricting themselves to siloed applications. In addition, driving success with microservices involves considerable planning to ensure that nothing is left out. After all, microservices-based architecture consists of many moving parts and so developers should be mindful to guarantee service interactions are seamless from start to finish.
The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the role of digital transformation in building up crisis resilience. Consequently, businesses are turning en masse to digital and the market is evolving apace.
However, as operational and business models shift, companies must be mindful to avoid becoming locked-in to cloud vendor technologies and platforms in such a rapidly changing market. When working with a cloud partner, implementing their platform and other solutions shouldn’t be a given – while such tools will likely work fine in their own cloud environment, companies should be wary of how they will operate elsewhere.
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Project owners should ultimately have customers in mind when implementing microservices, and each one should be built with multiple use-cases. In doing so, businesses can ensure they are deriving maximum value. What’s more, services should be tailored to the client and available as APIs so they can be implemented by other parties.
Building the dream team
Dreaming big may work for long term visions, but the reality is that the most successful teams are often the most realistic – this means building an application which corresponds with the experience and expertise of your team.
If your team is just kicking off its microservices adventure, then start modestly and embrace failure as a positive – by doing so, your team will develop an understanding of the dos and don’ts of microservices-based architecture, and the project will provide value. Project owners should not only be experienced, but also creative; that said, we know that microservices are an emerging technology and our leaders won’t necessarily be trailblazers just yet.
When building microservices, project owners should lead small, agile outfits. Tight teams are often more productive, meaning each individual microservice can be developed quickly and efficiently. In leading a successful team, project owners can look for inspiration from previous successes and model their own accordingly. By doing so, leaders get a solid understanding of what works well and what doesn’t. Given the dynamic nature of microservices-based projects, open source is a good model to follow.
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In the very near future, we’ll no longer have a need for time travellers in putting together our microservices dream teams. As the technology continues to develop, so too will our understanding of it, along with the expertise of teams involved. From now until then, focus on improving knowledge – use this time to experiment and see what works. Beyond this, finding a partner will help to make things simpler by adding order to the complex microservices landscape.