A Better Way to Understand Serverless Best Practices
How to figure out whether we should follow the "expert" advice
If someone tells you to do something because it's "best practice", ask why. Context is always key and always changing, and "best practice" doesn't always hold up to many contexts. ~ “Things I believe about software”, Paul Swail
Surprisingly, when it comes to the cloud and serverless, a lot of best practices advice does not come from a small team or startup-friendly environment.
Of course, big enterprises are entitled to experiment, find what works for them, and then share it with the world. The problem with that is that it leaves smaller teams and fast-moving startups with a feeling of inadequacy: surely, the thinking goes, if we were serious about things we should be adopting this or that best practice!
Whenever we hear our favourite serverless thought leader promoting a certain way of doing things as a best practice, we should try to understand their use case(s).
For example, it may be helpful to ask the following questions:
#1 Why do they think this is something that everyone should do?
Anyone is welcome to share something that worked for them as a matter of interest to the broader community. It may be that some people find your advice useful, or it may just cause people to think about it a bit more (which is also a good thing).
But when something is pushed as a best practice, there is an unspoken assumption: if you don’t do it this way, you’re not simply doing it differently, you’re actually wrong. This is a big claim, and it requires its proponent to carry the burden of proof.
#2 What was their journey?
In other words, what were they doing before they came up with this best practice? What caused them so much frustration, and how did they evolve towards and eventually settle on this particular conclusion?
It is useful to understand what problem were the proponents of a best practice trying to solve.
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