Here are some questions you might find useful when running a self-assessment with your team against these principles.

Build Differentiators

  • Do you consider this when choosing the technology?
  • Google Cloud Datastore or Elasticsearch are examples of "buy"
  • Do you reinvent the wheel, building systems already out there?

Design for Emergent Reuse

  • If there are lots of different components do you take into account the pace of change of the components?
  • Do you over-engineer your solutions?
  • Do you reuse for the sake of it?
  • Is your system going to be around for a long time?

Evolutionary Systems

  • If you change your system is it an isolated change with regard to other systems?
  • How many people does it take to release?
  • How often can you release?
  • Can Ops release during the day?
  • How many requirements do you put into one iteration?
  • How future proof is it for requirements that may not exist?

Scale Horizontally

  • State cannot be stored in-memory but rather must be persisted to the client or a shared datastore.
  • It is not always possible to scale horizontally e.g. for traditional relational databases, increased performance is often achieved through better hardware or higher specifications
  • Services should strive to be idempotent

Small and Simple

  • How long do your tests take?
  • Can you describe your components?
  • Can you test your components independently?
  • Can you deploy components independently?

Smarts in the Nodes, not the Network

  • Do you have business logic in your integration layer?
  • Do you apply business rules in your data transformations?
  • If there is business logic is it for your own system’s consumption?

Cloud Native

  • Are you leveraging the services in the cloud?
  • Did you intend it to be in the cloud from the start?

Production Ready

  • Can you release straight to Production?
  • Do you understand your failure modes?
  • Do you understand how monitoring helps you understand your failure modes?
  • How close is the system to its limit?
  • Are there circuit breakers?
  • Are there rolling deployments, eg kubernetes?
  • Do you have dashboards, golden signals, engineering metrics for traffic and resilience?

Keep Pace with Technological Change

  • What technology is the team using?
  • Is it up to date?
  • Is it well supported?
  • Is it current?
  • How often is it upgraded and patched?
  • Are the team interested in this area?
  • Is the software on its way out?

Model the Business Domain

  • Does it use DDD (Domain driven design)?
  • Could a business person understand the language used in your code?
  • How well do you own your domain?
  • Are there changes not owned by your team?

Secure by Design

  • Have you considered access control?

Consistent Environments

  • Are you using infrastructure as code? Examples are terraform or puppet.
  • Have you got any processes in keeping data up to date?
  • Are there lots of manual processes?

Automate By Default

  • Are you using a CI tool?
  • What manual gates are in place?

Get Feedback Early and Often

  • Are you practicing Continuous Delivery?
  • Could you do daily releases?
  • Are you using trunk based development with feature flags as necessary?
  • Are branches short-lived?


  • If a new person joins, can they get up to speed quickly?
  • Can code be safely refactored due to good test coverage?

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