Teams as the unit of org scale
CTO Summit
October 23rd, 2013
@chfry
“By focusing on teams you can scale from 10 to 1000 people
quickly and easily. Your organization will be more dynamic,
dec...
The problem of scale @ twitter

143,200
33,000
11,000
Twitter Confidential

6
Two models of teams (one good / one bad)
Consulting

Stable teams
New Work

Tea
m1

Tea
m2

Tea
m3
The Project Based Work Structure is Complex and Ineffective
The Team Based Model is Simple, Empowering, and Optimized
What is a team?
Real teams have:
“a team task, clear boundaries, clearly specified authority to
manage their own work proc...
What are the keys to scaling distributed systems?
Treat your people at least as well as you do your hardware...
‣

Focus on throughput over
utilization

‣

Parallel-izable ...
What’s an Engineering team @twitter?
‣

Teams are small < 10 people

‣

Teams sit together

‣

Engineering ICs are only on...
Scaling Mobile @twitter
Problem: we had two small teams that build mobile
apps
‣

Defined what a team is

‣

Scaled the bo...
Conclusion
‣

Focusing on teams will
scale you from 101000 engineers

‣

Learning teams can
be autonomous

‣

Think holist...
Teams as the unit of organization scale
Teams as the unit of organization scale
Teams as the unit of organization scale
Teams as the unit of organization scale
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Teams as the unit of organization scale

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Scale your org by focusing on teams as the unit of scale.

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  • Roman legion is the most scalable org in history and took over the world -
    10 squads (contubernia - a tent group of generally 8 men) = a century, each commanded by a centurion = 80 men [note that the size of a century had diverged from its original, literal meaning of 100]
    6 centuries = a cohort = 480 men
    10 cohorts = a legion = 4800 men
  • How do I know this
    Its also informed by my growing up
  • I appreciate hard work and thinking deeply about systems. So twitter has challenge of scale in terms of transactions and teams
  • Example!
  • Make it personal
  • Teams as the unit of organization scale

    1. 1. Teams as the unit of org scale CTO Summit October 23rd, 2013 @chfry
    2. 2. “By focusing on teams you can scale from 10 to 1000 people quickly and easily. Your organization will be more dynamic, decentralized and solve problems faster.”
    3. 3. The problem of scale @ twitter 143,200 33,000 11,000 Twitter Confidential 6
    4. 4. Two models of teams (one good / one bad) Consulting Stable teams New Work Tea m1 Tea m2 Tea m3
    5. 5. The Project Based Work Structure is Complex and Ineffective
    6. 6. The Team Based Model is Simple, Empowering, and Optimized
    7. 7. What is a team? Real teams have: “a team task, clear boundaries, clearly specified authority to manage their own work process, and membership stability over some reasonable period of time” - J. Richard Hackman Leading Teams
    8. 8. What are the keys to scaling distributed systems?
    9. 9. Treat your people at least as well as you do your hardware... ‣ Focus on throughput over utilization ‣ Parallel-izable and distributed modules ‣ Remove or scale bottlenecks ‣ Self healing / Self correcting ‣ Teams can learn and adapt
    10. 10. What’s an Engineering team @twitter? ‣ Teams are small < 10 people ‣ Teams sit together ‣ Engineering ICs are only on one team ‣ Teams are not virtual ‣ Goal is one engineering manager per team ‣ One DRI for the project ‣ Discoverable and public goals ‣ Team has everything and everyone it needs to deliver ‣ Minimize dependencies ‣ Teams exist for long lived efforts
    11. 11. Scaling Mobile @twitter Problem: we had two small teams that build mobile apps ‣ Defined what a team is ‣ Scaled the bottleneck ‣ Put mobile engineers on all teams ‣ Created a way to run experiments ‣ Train everyone in mobile engineering ‣ Got into a monthly rhythm
    12. 12. Conclusion ‣ Focusing on teams will scale you from 101000 engineers ‣ Learning teams can be autonomous ‣ Think holistically about your engineering organization as a system

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