Inside Facebook’s Development Process

20 Jan

Here’s a tantalizing look into the different processes and practices Facebook uses to build and release code. Granted, it’s a set of notes culled from second-hand information, it’s still an interesting read about one of the most widely used software products on the web today.

If these notes give us an accurate depiction of Facebook’s inner workings, there are some interesting points to take notice of – the extreme focus on performance (10% of new engineers are counseled out when they don’t pass an initial boot camp) and the sense that engineers own the product as much as (or moreso) than product managers. The notes suggest that engineers have the ability to introduce new features at any moment but are responsible for all the testing and maintenance related to it. This seems like a risky practice, but I have a feeling that this is made possible through a high investment in an operations team that can extensively test, monitor, and control any changes that are introduced into the system.

It would be great to get more insight into how this process works, especially with regards to how it effects overall product strategy. It seems at odds with how an organization might want to steer an ever-changing product, but I can see the benefits in how this cultivates a culture of ownership. This, I’ve found, is an invaluable trait in the process of product development – when all parts of the team feel like they have a real stake in the product, everyone is more motivated and available to improve it.

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