Managing the Pace of Innovation: Behind the Scenes at
AWS
Charlie Bell and Khawaja Shams
November 13, 2013

© 2013 Amazon....
we will share organization and
mechanisms used by AWS.

do try this at home.
@ksshams
culture is the principal component in
speed of innovation

@ksshams
amazon leadership principles

http://bit.ly/leadershipValues
@ksshams
insist on highest standards

customer obsession

invent and simplify
think big

bias for action
dive deep
deliver results
...
bias for
action

insist on highest
standards
customer
obsession

think big

invent &
simplify
ownership
hire and develop the best

have backbone;
disagree & commit

dive deep

deliver
results
earn trust

vocally self critical
...
builder mechanisms
@ksshams
if you want something done right …

create a singlethreaded team
@ksshams
two pizza teams

@ksshams
fitness functions

@ksshams
the Amazon decision making process relies
heavily on narratives.

@ksshams
writing a narrative helps you make best use
of time of everyone at the meeting.

@ksshams
the processing of writing your ideas helps you refine your
thoughts and articulate them effectively, while exposing key
ga...
presentations are not the best medium for
consumption of highly analytical information

@ksshams
@ksshams
@ksshams
slides have choppy transitions that make it very
difficult to share a continuous stream of thought.

@ksshams
most interesting details are often
hidden in sub-sub-sub bullets.

@ksshams
slides are open for interpretation, and the same slides
can be used to present completely different stories.

@ksshams
audience is at the mercy of presenter to
gloss over details,
which is much more difficult to do in a narrative.

@ksshams
At Amazon, we always work
backwards from the customer.

@ksshams
each new idea, starts with a write-up of a press release
/ FAQ that helps capture the customer perspective of
the problem ...
this process helps us exercise customer obsession by
compelling us to put on the shoes of the customers and
see the story ...
It helps us understand the problem we are
trying to solving, and if it is worth solving.

@ksshams
once we have identified the problems we
want to solve, we immediately start working
on finding the right primitives.

noti...
putting primitives behind hardened APIs helps our
teams innovate independently, while reaping benefit
from each other’s in...
once we have the right primitives, we ask ourselves
“can we simplify?”

@ksshams
We eat our own dog food, which enables us to put
ourselves in the shoes of the customers, and again,
compels us to be voca...
Consuming our own APIs allows us to
build primitives on top of primitives.

@ksshams
back to the
regularly scheduled programming

@ksshams
S3 for highly durable
object storage.
@ksshams
EC2 for computing
@ksshams
EBS for block storage.

@ksshams
Route53 health checks as a
monitoring and failover
primitive.
@ksshams
RDS is a composition of
these primitive for managed
databases.
@ksshams
EBS PiOPs: Inheritance

@ksshams
complete the innovation loop
with customers.

@ksshams
Amazon has a very metrics driven culture.

@ksshams
operational excellence

@ksshams
weekly ops metrics meeting.

@ksshams
A Scorecard for each service team.

@ksshams
a graph for
every metric that customers care about.

@ksshams
each graph has a line…

@ksshams
recall the fitness function?

@ksshams
Any metric going beyond the line is
considered a breach worthy of
correction.

@ksshams
Correction of Error (COE)
process

@ksshams
Integration with the Trouble
Ticketing System

@ksshams
discussed at the OPS
metrics meetings
@ksshams
DevOps

@ksshams
old cycle

@ksshams
continuous deployments

@ksshams
new cycle

@ksshams
deployment once every 12 seconds

@ksshams
@ksshams
(mechanisms * culture)

f(innovation) = (org * arch)

@ksshams
Please give us your feedback on this
presentation

SPOT 201
As a thank you, we will select prize
winners daily for complet...
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Managing the Pace of Innovation: Behind the Scenes at AWS (SPOT201) | AWS re:Invent 2013

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AWS launched in 2006, and since then we have released more than 530 services, features, and major announcements. Every year, we outpace the previous year in launches and are continuously accelerating the pace of innovation across the organization. Ever wonder how we formulate customer-centric ideas, turn them into features and services, and get them to market quickly? This session dives deep into how an idea becomes a service at AWS and how we continue to evolve the service after release through innovation at every level. We even spill the beans on how we manage operational excellence across our services to ensure the highest possible availability. Come learn about the rapid pace of innovation at AWS, and the culture that formulates magic behind the scenes.

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Managing the Pace of Innovation: Behind the Scenes at AWS (SPOT201) | AWS re:Invent 2013

  1. 1. Managing the Pace of Innovation: Behind the Scenes at AWS Charlie Bell and Khawaja Shams November 13, 2013 © 2013 Amazon.com, Inc. and its affiliates. All rights reserved. May not be copied, modified, or distributed in whole or in part without the express consent of Amazon.com, Inc.
  2. 2. we will share organization and mechanisms used by AWS. do try this at home. @ksshams
  3. 3. culture is the principal component in speed of innovation @ksshams
  4. 4. amazon leadership principles http://bit.ly/leadershipValues @ksshams
  5. 5. insist on highest standards customer obsession invent and simplify think big bias for action dive deep deliver results ownership have backbone; disagree & commit vocally self critical hire and develop the best earn trust right, a lot frugality @ksshams
  6. 6. bias for action insist on highest standards customer obsession think big invent & simplify
  7. 7. ownership
  8. 8. hire and develop the best have backbone; disagree & commit dive deep deliver results earn trust vocally self critical frugality
  9. 9. builder mechanisms @ksshams
  10. 10. if you want something done right … create a singlethreaded team @ksshams
  11. 11. two pizza teams @ksshams
  12. 12. fitness functions @ksshams
  13. 13. the Amazon decision making process relies heavily on narratives. @ksshams
  14. 14. writing a narrative helps you make best use of time of everyone at the meeting. @ksshams
  15. 15. the processing of writing your ideas helps you refine your thoughts and articulate them effectively, while exposing key gaps that you can refine before the meeting. @ksshams
  16. 16. presentations are not the best medium for consumption of highly analytical information @ksshams
  17. 17. @ksshams
  18. 18. @ksshams
  19. 19. slides have choppy transitions that make it very difficult to share a continuous stream of thought. @ksshams
  20. 20. most interesting details are often hidden in sub-sub-sub bullets. @ksshams
  21. 21. slides are open for interpretation, and the same slides can be used to present completely different stories. @ksshams
  22. 22. audience is at the mercy of presenter to gloss over details, which is much more difficult to do in a narrative. @ksshams
  23. 23. At Amazon, we always work backwards from the customer. @ksshams
  24. 24. each new idea, starts with a write-up of a press release / FAQ that helps capture the customer perspective of the problem we are trying to solve. @ksshams
  25. 25. this process helps us exercise customer obsession by compelling us to put on the shoes of the customers and see the story from a customer’s perspective. @ksshams
  26. 26. It helps us understand the problem we are trying to solving, and if it is worth solving. @ksshams
  27. 27. once we have identified the problems we want to solve, we immediately start working on finding the right primitives. notice how we almost missed this key detail We put these primitives behind hardened APIs. @ksshams
  28. 28. putting primitives behind hardened APIs helps our teams innovate independently, while reaping benefit from each other’s innovations. @ksshams
  29. 29. once we have the right primitives, we ask ourselves “can we simplify?” @ksshams
  30. 30. We eat our own dog food, which enables us to put ourselves in the shoes of the customers, and again, compels us to be vocally self-critical to innovate on behalf of our customers. @ksshams
  31. 31. Consuming our own APIs allows us to build primitives on top of primitives. @ksshams
  32. 32. back to the regularly scheduled programming @ksshams
  33. 33. S3 for highly durable object storage. @ksshams
  34. 34. EC2 for computing @ksshams
  35. 35. EBS for block storage. @ksshams
  36. 36. Route53 health checks as a monitoring and failover primitive. @ksshams
  37. 37. RDS is a composition of these primitive for managed databases. @ksshams
  38. 38. EBS PiOPs: Inheritance @ksshams
  39. 39. complete the innovation loop with customers. @ksshams
  40. 40. Amazon has a very metrics driven culture. @ksshams
  41. 41. operational excellence @ksshams
  42. 42. weekly ops metrics meeting. @ksshams
  43. 43. A Scorecard for each service team. @ksshams
  44. 44. a graph for every metric that customers care about. @ksshams
  45. 45. each graph has a line… @ksshams
  46. 46. recall the fitness function? @ksshams
  47. 47. Any metric going beyond the line is considered a breach worthy of correction. @ksshams
  48. 48. Correction of Error (COE) process @ksshams
  49. 49. Integration with the Trouble Ticketing System @ksshams
  50. 50. discussed at the OPS metrics meetings @ksshams
  51. 51. DevOps @ksshams
  52. 52. old cycle @ksshams
  53. 53. continuous deployments @ksshams
  54. 54. new cycle @ksshams
  55. 55. deployment once every 12 seconds @ksshams
  56. 56. @ksshams
  57. 57. (mechanisms * culture) f(innovation) = (org * arch) @ksshams
  58. 58. Please give us your feedback on this presentation SPOT 201 As a thank you, we will select prize winners daily for completed surveys! @ksshams
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