Scaling Up in Software Development

Scaling up can pose many challenges. Projects that fail to scale can be crippled by many factors. As the number of people involved in a project increases, so does the number of communication channels between them. Even if you already have good communication channels, scaling up will add to the difficulties of distributing your project’s team members. This makes communication even more difficult, especially when your new team members may be spread across many locations.

One way to define scalability is to imagine the size of a web site with ten million users, a 26TB database, and a single-core processor. Imagine that all of these requests will take 0.24 seconds to process. This would be considered “high-volume,” and the site would experience some significant scalability issues. To handle such a large volume, the software solution must be able to scale in several levels.

The first option is to scale the hardware, but this approach is only useful for monolithic applications. Scaling hardware will increase performance only when more machines are added. This method is effective in large situations, but fails as quantity increases. Rather, it requires a geo-distribution approach to increase hardware and spread the workload across new infrastructure. For larger systems, scaling up hardware will be inefficient.

Another strategy to scale software teams is to set up specialized teams. Instead of hiring engineers or designers, form teams around a specific product or functionality. They will focus on that platform. This will help them focus on one aspect of their work, which will speed up the development process. If you have long-term projects and a well-balanced team, the dedicated team model is the way to go.

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