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Monoliths vs. Microservices is Missing the Point

By Matthew Skelton, Manuel Pais

Start with Team Cognitive Load

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Free Resource

The debate on monoliths vs. microservices as architectural patterns for modern software systems usually focuses on technological aspects, missing crucial details around organizational strategy and team dynamics.  The false dichotomy between monoliths and microservices helps no one. Instead, switched-on organizations start with the team cognitive load required to build and run a part of the software system. If a team is not able to understand the details of a service or subsystem fully, there is little chance of the team being able to own and support it. The resulting team-sized services are by definition suitable in size and complexity for a single team to own, develop, and run. No longer do we care how many lines of code there are in a single service or whether it is a “monolith”: what we care about is that a team can own and run the software effectively.

Using team cognitive load as the guiding principle, this free ebook based on the 2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit presentation by Team Topologies coauthors Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais shows organizations how they can optimize for sustainable ownership and evolution of software systems. This talk draws on research and case studies from the book together with first-hand consulting experience from the authors with organizations around the world.

  • Format PDF
  • Pages 16

About the Resource

The debate on monoliths vs. microservices as architectural patterns for modern software systems usually focuses on technological aspects, missing crucial details around organizational strategy and team dynamics.  The false dichotomy between monoliths and microservices helps no one. Instead, switched-on organizations start with the team cognitive load required to build and run a part of the software system. If a team is not able to understand the details of a service or subsystem fully, there is little chance of the team being able to own and support it. The resulting team-sized services are by definition suitable in size and complexity for a single team to own, develop, and run. No longer do we care how many lines of code there are in a single service or whether it is a “monolith”: what we care about is that a team can own and run the software effectively.

Using team cognitive load as the guiding principle, this free ebook based on the 2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit presentation by Team Topologies coauthors Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais shows organizations how they can optimize for sustainable ownership and evolution of software systems. This talk draws on research and case studies from the book together with first-hand consulting experience from the authors with organizations around the world.

Matthew Skelton
Manuel Pais
Matthew Skelton

Matthew Skelton

Matthew Skelton has been building, deploying, and operating commercial software systems since 1998. Head of Consulting at Conflux (confluxdigital.net), he specialises in Continuous Delivery, operability and organisation design for software in manufacturing, ecommerce, and online services, including cloud, IoT, and embedded software.

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Manuel Pais

Manuel Pais

Manuel Pais is a DevOps and Delivery Coach and Consultant, focused on teams and flow first. He helps organizations adopt test automation and continuous delivery, as well as understand DevOps from both technical and human perspectives. Manuel has been in the industry since 2000, having worked in Belgium, Portugal, Spain, and the UK.

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