In the Organizing Serverless Projects chapter we covered the standard monorepo setup. This included how to share code between your services and how to deploy a Serverless app with interdependent services.

This setup works pretty well but as your team and project grows, you run into a new issue. You have some common code libraries that are used across multiple services. An update to these libraries would redeploy all your services. If your services were managed by separate folks on your team or by separate teams, this poses a problem. For any change made to the common code, would require all the other folks on your team to test or update their services.

Here it makes sense to manage your common code libraries as packages. So your services could potentially be using different version of the same package. This will allow your team to update to the newer version of the package when it works best for them. Avoiding the scenario where a small change to some common code breaks all the services that depend on it.

However, managing these packages in the same repo can be really challenging. To tackle this issue we are going to use:

  • Yarn Workspaces

    This optimizes our repo by hoisting all of our separate node_modules/ to the root level. So that a single yarn install command installs the NPM modules for all our services and packages.

  • Lerna

    This helps us manage our packages, publish them, and keeps track of the dependencies between them.

Lerna and Yarn Workspaces together helps create a monorepo setup that allows our Serverless project to scale as it grows.

To help get you started with this, we created a starter project — Serverless Lerna + Yarn Workspaces Monorepo Starter

  • Designed to scale for larger projects
  • Maintains internal dependencies as packages
  • Uses Lerna to figure out which services have been updated
  • Supports publishing dependencies as private NPM packages
  • Uses serverless-bundle to generate optimized Lambda packages
  • Uses Yarn Workspaces to hoist packages to the root node_modules/ directory

This will help get you started with this setup. But if you are not familiar with Lerna or Yarn Workspaces, make sure to check out their docs.


To create a new Serverless project

$ serverless install --url --name my-project

Enter the new directory

$ cd my-project

Install NPM packages for the entire project

$ yarn

How It Works

The directory structure roughly looks like:


This repo is split into 3 directories. Each with a different purpose:

  • packages

    These are internal packages that are used in our services. Each contains a package.json and can be optionally published to NPM. Any changes to a package should only deploy the service that depends on it.

  • services

    These are Serverless services that are deployed. Has a package.json and serverless.yml. There are two sample services.

    1. service1: Depends on the sample-package. This means that if it changes, we want to deploy service1.
    2. service2: Does not depend on any internal packages.

    More on deployments below.

  • libs

    Any common code that you might not want to maintain as a package. Does NOT have a package.json. Any changes here should redeploy all our services.

The packages/ and services/ directories are Yarn Workspaces.


The Serverless services are meant to be managed on their own. Each service is based on our Serverless Node.js Starter. It uses the serverless-bundle plugin (based on Webpack) to create optimized Lambda packages.

This is good for keeping your Lambda packages small. But it also ensures that you can have Yarn hoist all your NPM packages to the project root. Without Webpack, you’ll need to disable hoisting since Serverless Framework does not package the dependencies of a service correctly on its own.

Install an NPM package inside a service.

$ yarn add some-npm-package

Run a function locally.

$ serverless invoke local -f get

Run tests in a service.

$ yarn test

Deploy the service.

$ serverless deploy

Deploy a single function.

$ serverless deploy function -f get

To add a new service.

$ cd services/
$ serverless install --url --name new-service
$ cd new-service
$ yarn


Since each package has its own package.json, you can manage it just like you would any other NPM package.

To add a new package.

$ mkdir packages/new-package
$ yarn init

Packages can also be optionally published to NPM.


If you need to add any other common code in your repo that won’t be maintained as a package, add it to the libs/ directory. It does not contain a package.json. This means that you’ll need to install any NPM packages as dependencies in the root.

To install an NPM package at the root.

$ yarn add -W some-npm-package


We want to ensure that only the services that have been updated get deployed. This means that, if a change is made to:

  • services

    Only the service that has been changed should be deployed. For ex, if you change any code in service1, then service2 should not be deployed.

  • packages

    If a package is changed, then only the service that depends on this package should be deployed. For ex, if sample-package is changed, then service1 should be deployed.

  • libs

    If any of the libs are changed, then all services will get deployed.

Deployment Algorithm

To implement the above, use the following algorithm in your CI:

  1. Run lerna ls --since ${prevCommitSHA} -all to list all packages that have changed since the last successful deployment. If this list includes one of the services, then deploy it.
  2. Run git diff --name-only ${prevCommitSHA} ${currentCommitSHA} to get a list of all the updated files. If they don’t belong to any of your Lerna packages (lerna ls -all), deploy all the services.
  3. Otherwise skip the deployment.

Deploying Through Seed

Seed supports deploying Serverless monorepo projects that use Lerna and Yarn Workspaces. To enable it, add the following to the seed.yml in your repo root:

check_code_change: lerna

To test this:

Add the App

  1. Fork this repo and add it to your Seed account.
  2. Add both of the services.
  3. Deploy your app once.

Update a Service

  • Make a change in services/service2/handler.js and git push.
  • Notice that service2 has been deployed while service1 was skipped.

Update a Package

  • Make a change in packages/sample-package/index.js and git push.
  • Notice that service1 should be deployed while service2 will have been skipped.

Update a Lib

  • Finally, make a change in libs/index.js and git push.
  • Both service1 and service2 should’ve been deployed.

This starter should give you a great template to build your next monorepo Serverless project. So give it a try and let us know what you think.