Imagine you’re starting a new job in tech. How do you quickly assess the technology stack to work out how modern it is or where the pain points are? Some tips & tricks based on the conversation I had with Owen and Jerop.
1. Start with the release process, then try to get a high-level, end-to-end picture
Ask questions like:
- Is it k8s, traditional Virtual Machines?
- What are the different artifact storages?
- What languages are used?
- What does the handover between environments look like?
- and so on…
2. Connect that to the business goals
Talk to the product stakeholders to get their perspective and marry the commercial perspective to the engineering perspective.
3. Use the 4 key metrics that connect business goals and IT goals together
Assess and know where your org stands on:
- Deployment frequency
- Lead time for changes
- Time to restore services
- Change failure rate
💡 Tip: Ask this at the interview stage of a new job
4. Assess how modern the software stack is based on these characteristics
🚚 Portability – does it use defacto standards to work across environments?
🔒 Security – how does it approach software supply chain security?
🧩 Extensibility – are developers empowered to customize it?
🔎 Observability – can you get insights into your tooling and processes?
Modern observability means the ability to actually follow a journey through the application.
This is quite hard for modern software stacks with a lot of dynamic services and a lot of automation.
5. Try to understand how folks *feel* about the existing stack
This is tricky but important. There are often unspoken emotions tied to technology choices and this needs to be understood before trying to introduce change.
There’s a ton more information on this and technology and tooling choices, including how to start introducing change in the full session. Watch it on our YouTube Channel.