A few tips to smooth out a Backstage roll out

By James Thomas

Elevator Pitch

Backstage is still really neat, but rolling it out to a large enterprise can be tricky. In this talk I’ll share a few tips that helped smooth things out tremendously.


Internal Developer Portals are fantastic pieces of technology. They allow for a streamlined dissemination of crucial information to your entire organization, and do so in a consistent and cohesive manner. Backstage was not the first tool in this category, but it continues to be one of my favorites. Since it was open sourced by Spotify in 2020 it has continued to improve with core improvements as well as with its burgeoning plugin ecosystem. It’s free and open source, and continues to have a solid track record of success. The main hurdle I’ve seen to successful rollouts is at the getting started phase.

With this talk I aim to give you a few critical tips that should help you get past the initial pain points of getting started with Backstage. Things like setting up initial integrations, like authentication and authorization. I’ll also speak in particular about the software catalog, and how to start populating it with the lowest amount of initial friction possible while setting up for long term sustainability. I’ll also have a few more tips if time permits. At the end of this talk I hope you’ll feel empowered to take your first steps toward increasing developer effectiveness through better information visibility and availability.

It is also totally doable for me to expand this to a larger talk if you have a need. If I did expand it to a larger talk I’d probably cover more of the conceptual benefits of IDPs and compare a few leading tools and talk about why I personally still love and recommend Backstage. I’d then give a little more of an overview of Backstage before diving into the tips I’d have for rolling it out. With more time I could also spend a little more bandwidth on exploring the problem instead of going pretty quickly to solutions. But I’m absolutely happy with just doing a lightning talk if that fits the schedule better.


No technical requirements for this talk, it’ll just be a totally standard ignite talk. I’m familiar with the format and have given a few over the years.

As to why I’m the best person to speak on it. I don’t know that I am. However, I do know the topic very well, and I absolutely love trying to help people avoid the mistakes that I’ve made and that I’ve seen other make. I think that IDPs are still an area of dramatic underutilization, and they can be a hugely beneficial tool for any DevOps focused organization.