Experience Series: Operations


This post is part of my Experience Series where I share opinions I have formed from building companies and running product. Each posting is a break down of a company function. This post focuses on operations specifically.

No one ever plans for systems to stop working, ensure you have back-ups and that they are tested on a regular basis.

Back-up locally and to some cloud-based service that supports strong, multi-factor authentication.

General operations rule of thumb––bad things happen at the worst possible times, just get used to it. Always have a means to fix a problem, no matter how remote you are––or better yet, train someone else.

Use local or 3rd-party services to track the health of your product and company resources. If your customer is your way of finding out something is wrong, you are in a bad position.

Testing your application is a pain. Consider using 3rd-party services to automate integration and functional tests in order to save time and catch bugs before your customers do.

Assuming you are working with more than one person, have a means to communicate amongst each other. Ideally, send your first-pass alerts there and fall back to email.

Being able to teardown and stand-up your services at will with no business impact is as glorious as it sounds. It takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it when you run into issues later on. Notice I said “when” and not “if”.

Logging should be baked into your application, but ensure those logs flow to a central location that you can query.

Split your corporate website and status pages from your application. If you product needs to go down for updates, it should not knock your business offline.

Patch your machines, apply updates, do all the normal work we all love to heap onto everyone else. You start to get a sense for how annoying this is when you update and break your production build.

If people are paying you for a service, chances are high you agreed to some SLAs. Don’t breach your contracts, keep your systems up and running.

Implement measuring tools inside of your application stack to identify hot spots or areas that could be further optimized. Establish a baseline and chip away at the performance updates when you are waiting on idea feedback.

If you’re constantly pushing out new features or changes to your product, invest in a fully replicated development environment.



Founder of @BlockadeIO, PDF X-RAY, and @PassiveTotal. Partner and developer for @TheNinjaJobs. VP of Strategy for @RiskIQ. Roaster at @SplitKeyCoffee.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Brandon Dixon

Founder of @BlockadeIO, PDF X-RAY, and @PassiveTotal. Partner and developer for @TheNinjaJobs. VP of Strategy for @RiskIQ. Roaster at @SplitKeyCoffee.