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Flowcon2013 - Virtuous Cycles of Velocity: What I Learned About Going Fast at eBay and Google


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eBay and Google operate some of the largest Internet sites on the planet, and each maintains its leadership through continuous innovation in infrastructure and products. While substantially different in their detailed approaches, both organizations sustain their feature velocity through a combination of People, Technology, and Culture. This session explores how these large-scale sites do it, what works well and what could be done better. It offers some concrete suggestions on how other organizations -- both large and small -- can do the same.

Published in: Internet, Technology, Business
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Flowcon2013 - Virtuous Cycles of Velocity: What I Learned About Going Fast at eBay and Google

  1. 1. Virtuous Cycle(s) of Velocity What I Learned About Going Fast at eBay and Google Randy Shoup @randyshoup
  2. 2. Background CTO at KIXEYE • Making awesome games awesomer (and scalabler and reliabler) Director of Engineering for Google App Engine • World’s largest Platform-as-a-Service Chief Engineer at eBay • Multiple generations of eBay’s real-time search infrastructure
  3. 3. Lessons to Learn People Technology Culture
  4. 4. People: Hire and Retain the Best Hire „A‟ Players • Difference between top and bottom performers is not 1.5x; it’s 10x (!) • (+) Google hiring process Virtuous Cycle • A players bring A players • B players bring C players • Constantly raise the bar
  5. 5. People: Respect People Most valuable and irreplaceable asset People are not cogs, not fungible • (-) eBay “Train seats” • Destroyed incentives, personal pride, long-term ownership • People are an asset, not a cost center Environment should treat people as valued • (+) Google workplace
  6. 6. Virtuous Cycle of People Treat Well Keep and Retain Raise the Bar Hire ‘A’ Players
  7. 7. Technology: Services • Small team • Well-defined interface • Completely independent • Autonomy and responsibility
  8. 8. Technology: Quality Discipline Tests help you go faster • Tests have your back • Confidence to break things, refactor mercilessly • Catch bugs earlier, fail faster “Don‟t have time to do it right” ? • WRONG – Don’t have time to do it twice (!)
  9. 9. Vicious Cycle of Technical Debt Technical Debt “No time to do it right” Quick- and-dirty
  10. 10. Technology: Quality Automation Quality Tooling • Make it easy to do the right thing • Mocking / testing frameworks • Monitoring • Canarying Quality cannot be an afterthought • Quality (reliability, scaling) is a Priority-0 feature • Google (+) vs. old eBay (-)
  11. 11. Virtuous Cycle of Quality Solid Foundation Confidence Faster and Better Testing
  12. 12. Culture: Accountability and Ownership Give people and teams autonomy Hold them accountable for their success Keep commitments • Say what you are going to do, then do it
  13. 13. Culture: Collaboration One team across engineering, product, operations • Otherwise, playing strategy instead of solving the problem • Otherwise, CYA and hiding the ball • (+) Google co-location Solve problems instead of pointing fingers
  14. 14. Culture: Quality over Quantity Less is more • More wood, fewer arrows • Solve 100% of one problem rather than 50% of two • Release one great feature instead of two iffy ones Whole user / player experience • Think holistically about the full end-to-end experience of the user • UX, functionality, performance, bugs, etc.
  15. 15. Culture: Experimentation *Engineer* successes • Launch is only the first step • (+) KIXEYE game development Many small experiments sum to big wins • (+) eBay site speed + machine-learned ranking
  16. 16. Culture: Failure Tolerance Learn from mistakes and improve • What did you do -> What did you learn • Take emotion and personalization out • (+) Google blame-free post-mortems Encourage iteration and velocity • “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get back up” – Theodore Roosevelt
  17. 17. Virtuous Cycle of Culture Trust Risk- Taking Faster and Better Honesty
  18. 18. Join us! KIXEYE is hiring …