MDB Weekly is a multi-format, weekly summary of information from the past week in Modern Digital Business. It's available as an article, a podcast, or an email newsletter. It will be published weekly on Mondays.

First up, some announcements

Let’s start with some news. I’ve just launched my latest course, Architecting for Scale: An Introduction. This course, available free of charge, is a video introduction to my O’Reilly Media book Architecting for Scale. In it, I take two of the more popular topics from the book — Service Tiers and Two Mistakes High — and present them in a video format, complete with a lesson book and quizzes. The course is short and designed to show you the type of information you can learn in my book.

It also is an introduction to my new training portal, Atchison Academy. This is my first course created exclusively for this academy, but more courses are in the works, including a master course on Modern Digital Business. You can also see all my LinkedIn Learning courses in the Academy.

Check it out! Go to, or click the “Courses” link from anywhere on my website.

Given that this is all brand new, I’d love your feedback! Please let me know what you think and what you’d like to see from my planned premium courses.

The Long March

Next, listen to me as I participate in a LIVE panel discussion called “Cloud-Native: The Long March” at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET this coming Thursday, January 12. This panel discussion is a keynote session at Techstrong Research’s Predict 2023 conference. For more information or to join us in this virtual conference, go to the Predict 2023 website and register for free.

Last week’s top story: Choice vs. complexity in cloud-native applications

Simplicity is at the heart of our desire to use cloud-native application methodologies. Service-based applications are designed to decrease complexity in individual service components. Using cloud-native infrastructures focuses on and reduces our available infrastructure choices. Simplicity is core to virtually all cloud-native patterns. The very nature of the cloud-native pattern is based on simplicity.

But one of the fundamental tenets of modern application development (which is driving the cloud-native movement) is actively working against this desire for simplicity. You see, modern application architectures encourage team empowerment. Team empowerment brings decision-making down to the lowest logical part of an organization. Modern cloud-native application methodologies enable distributed decision-making at the lowest levels of the organization.

But how much choice should you give your development teams in building their cloud-native applications? The answer may not be as simple as it seems.

Choice and your cloud-native teams

Deciding how much choice to give your teams is not an easy decision.

On the one side, we want to give our development teams the freedom to decide how they design, develop, and operate their applications. Empowered teams are innovative teams. The more choice you give your development teams, the greater they can innovate. This innovation can lead to many architectural and product advantages, including more customer-centric solutions and faster responses to change. This typically results in a shorter time to market, more competitive products, higher reliability and availability, and ultimately happier, more engaged teams.

However, the choice has a negative downside. The characteristic that brings you innovative, customer-oriented solutions also works against simplicity. An increased choice means increased variations in decisions made within your cloud-native applications. More variations increase the overall application complexity. Put simply, the more choices you give your team, the more variations they will use. The more variations used, the more complex your overall application becomes.

You see, choice means complexity at the cost of simplicity.

How can we enable our teams without hurting our application’s long-term maintainability? Take a look at my article last week in Container Journal: Choice vs. Complexity in Cloud-Native Applications.

Links for the week:

Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Modern Digital Business weekly. If you enjoyed this, check out other formats available, including email, and audio podcast. All versions are released weekly on Mondays.