Guardrails are constraints, guidelines, or architectural boundaries that help steer developers towards an organization's recommended "Golden Path" or "Paved Road" for building and running systems, while still allowing some flexibility. They play a crucial role in ensuring that developers adhere to best practices, follow security protocols, and meet compliance requirements.

Guardrails provide a set of predefined rules and standards that developers can follow to avoid common pitfalls and deviations that could cause issues or introduce vulnerabilities in the system. They help streamline the development process by providing a clear path for developers to follow, reducing the chances of errors and maximizing efficiency.

In addition to providing guidance, guardrails also offer visibility, monitoring, and automation. They enable organizations to enforce best practices at scale, rapidly validate changes, and identify potential issues or deviations before they can cause significant problems. Guardrails provide organizations with the ability to maintain safety and security while still moving quickly and innovating.

By implementing guardrails, organizations can ensure that developers stay on track and aligned with the organization's goals and standards. This not only helps improve the quality and reliability of software systems but also enhances collaboration and encourages a culture of compliance and best practices within the development team.