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Facebook and Scrum


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While there is little or no evidence for “prescriptive Scrum” at Facebook, there are striking parallels to Scrum as described by Takeuchi and Nonaka.

This may be called a variant of Scrum, just as Jeff Sutherland referred to the process used on the Borland QPW project as a variant of Scrum.

Published in: Business, Technology

Facebook and Scrum

  1. 1. Facebook  and  Scrum   Scrum  Breakfast  Zürich   06.07.2011   Jens  Meydam  (Twi/er:  @jmeydam)   Swiss  Limited  WIP  Society   h/p://    
  2. 2. …  sequel  to:  h/p://­‐study.html    
  3. 3. Don  Reinertsen  h/p://www.scrum-­‐­‐business-­‐lunch-­‐with-­‐don-­‐reinertson.html    
  4. 4. Sources  on  Facebook  
  5. 5. Sources  on  Facebook  
  6. 6. Facebook  h/p://­‐Xr_PJdNmQ    
  7. 7. Facebook  h/p://­‐of-­‐the-­‐day-­‐facebook-­‐vs-­‐the-­‐rest-­‐of-­‐the-­‐web-­‐2011-­‐6    
  8. 8. Facebook  h/p://    
  9. 9. Facebook  h/p://    
  10. 10. Facebook  
  11. 11. Facebook  and  Scrum  (1)   The  Short  Version  
  12. 12. What  is  Scrum?  “Scrum  is  the  process  that  is  defined  in  the  Scrum  Guide.    If  the  process  is  not  rigorously  followed,  the  result  should  not  be  called  Scrum.”  
  13. 13. Evidence  for  Scrum  at  Facebook  “11:30 on a Wednesdaymorning and the FacebookProfile team is in themiddle of a ‘Scrum’ - …
  14. 14. Evidence  for  Scrum  at  Facebook  … that’s what they callthese daily meetings whenengineers, designers anddata experts meet to setout the tasks for theday.”
  15. 15. Dec  2010:  New  Facebook  Profile  
  16. 16. Dec  2010:  New  Facebook  Profile  
  17. 17. The  Profile  team  –   Daily  Scrum  h/p://,32068,712448402001_2037228,00.html  
  18. 18. The  Profile  team  –   Daily  Scrum  
  19. 19. The  Profile  team  –   Daily  Scrum  
  20. 20. The  Profile  team  –   Daily  Scrum  
  21. 21. The  Profile  team  –  Product  Designer  
  22. 22. The  Profile  team  –   Data  Experts  
  23. 23. The  Profile  team  –  Product  Manager  
  24. 24. The  Profile  team  –  Engineering  Manager  
  25. 25. Summary  As  of  July  2011,  there  is  one  documented  example  of  a  Facebook  team  that  uses  a    Scrum  pracMce  (Daily  Scrum).  It  is  not  clear  to  what  extent  they  follow  the  Scrum  Guide.  (End  of  short  version)  
  26. 26. Facebook  and  Scrum  (2)   The  Longer  Version  
  27. 27. Scrum  
  28. 28. What’s  programming  got  to  do     with  rugby???  
  29. 29. Rugby  
  30. 30. Rugby  
  31. 31. Rugby  
  32. 32. Rugby  
  33. 33. Rugby  
  34. 34. Rugby  
  35. 35. Rugby  as  a  metaphor  for  a     style  of  development   h/p://­‐new-­‐new-­‐product-­‐development-­‐game/ar/1    
  36. 36. Rugby  as  a  metaphor  for  a     style  of  development  
  37. 37. From  Takeuchi  and  Nonaka’s  paper  •  The  tradiaonal  sequenaal  or  "relay  race"   approach  to  product  development  [...]  may   conflict  with  the  goals  of  maximum  speed  and   flexibility.    Instead,  a  holisMc  or  "rugby"   approach  -­‐  where  a  team  tries  to  go  the   distance  as  a  unit,  passing  the  ball  back  and   forth  -­‐  may  be/er  serve  todays  compeaave   requirements.  
  38. 38. From  Takeuchi  and  Nonaka’s  paper  •  [...]  the  product  development  process   emerges  from  the  constant  interacaon  of  a   hand-­‐picked,  mulMdisciplinary  team  whose   members  work  together  from  start  to  finish.     Rather  than  moving  in  defined,  highly   structured  stages,  the  process  is  born  out  of   the  team  members  interplay  [...].    
  39. 39. From  Takeuchi  and  Nonaka’s  paper  •   [...]  the  team  may  be  forced  to  reconsider  a   decision  as  a  result  of  later  informaMon.    The   team  does  not  stop  then,  but  engages  in   iteraMve  experimentaMon.    This  goes  on  in   even  the  latest  phases  of  the  development   process.  
  40. 40. From  Takeuchi  and  Nonaka’s  paper  •  Top  management  kicks  off  the  development   process  by  signaling  a  broad  goal  or  a  general   strategic  direcMon.    It  rarely  hands  out  a  clear-­‐ cut  new  product  concept  or  a  specific  work   plan.    But  it  offers  a  project  team  a  wide   measure  of  freedom  and  also  establishes   extremely  challenging  goals.  
  41. 41. From  Takeuchi  and  Nonaka’s  paper  •  Fuji-­‐Xerox  located  the  mulMfuncMonal  team   building  the  fX-­‐3500  -­‐  consisang  of  members   from  the  planning,  design,  producaon,  sales,   distribuaon,  and  evaluaaon  departments  -­‐  in   one  large  room.  
  42. 42. From  Takeuchi  and  Nonaka’s  paper  •  The  self-­‐organizing  character  of  the  team   produces  a  unique  dynamic  or  rhythm.    [...]   they  all  must  work  toward  synchronizing  their   pace  to  meet  deadlines.    [...]  the  team  begins   to  work  as  a  unit.  
  43. 43. From  Takeuchi  and  Nonaka’s  paper  •  Because  members  of  the  project  team  stay  in   close  touch  with  outside  sources  of   informaMon,  they  can  respond  quickly  to   changing  market  condiaons.    Team  members   engage  in  a  conMnual  process  of  trial  and   error  to  narrow  down  the  number  of   alternaMves  they  must  consider.  
  44. 44. From  Takeuchi  and  Nonaka’s  paper  •  They  also  acquire  broad  knowledge  and   diverse  skills,  which  help  them  create  a   versaMle  team  capable  of  solving  an  array  of   problems  fast.  
  45. 45. From  Takeuchi  and  Nonaka’s  paper  •  Although  project  teams  are  largely  on  their   own,  they  are  not  uncontrolled.    Management   establishes  enough  checkpoints  to  prevent   instability,  ambiguity,  and  tension  from   turning  into  chaos.    
  46. 46. Scrum  is  at  its  core  what    Takeuchi  and  Nonaka  described  
  47. 47. comp.client-­‐server  /  Sep  14,  1995      
  48. 48. First  paper  on  Scrum  (OOPSLA’95)   h/p://    
  49. 49. Scrum  in  sopware  development   started  with  these  three  people  Jeff  Sutherland   John  Scumniotales   Jeff  McKenna  
  50. 50.  Sopware  Magazine  /  Nov,  1993   h/p://    
  51. 51. Announcement  of  first  release   InfoWorld  /  Feb  21,  1994  h/p://    
  52. 52. Announcement  of  second  release   InfoWorld  /  Aug  29,  1994  h/p://      
  53. 53. The  product  is  sall  under  acave   development   h/p://­‐objectstudio/    
  54. 54. Achievements  •  The  first  sopware  Scrum  team  did  not  only   produce  sopware  fast    •  It  created  highly  innovaMve  features  that   defined  a  product  for  years  to  come  
  55. 55. Fun  fact  •  Scrum  is  the  only  Agile  process/methodology/ framework  with  roots  in  product  development  •  All  the  others  came  out  of  internal  projects  or   consulang  projects  
  56. 56. Back  to  Facebook  …  Thesis:    While  there  is  lile  or  no  evidence  for  “prescripMve  Scrum”  at  Facebook,  there  are  striking  parallels  to  Scrum  as  described  by  Takeuchi  and  Nonaka.  This  may  be  called  a  variant  of  Scrum,  just  as  Jeff  Sutherland  referred  to  the  process  used  on  the  Borland  project  as  a  variant  of  Scrum.  
  57. 57. Julie  Zhuo,  Product  Design  Manager   h/p://­‐of-­‐julie-­‐zhuos-­‐talk-­‐on-­‐how-­‐facebo    
  58. 58. Julie  Zhuo  We believe in really small teams,so, you know, we have, at thispoint in time, like, a team forSearch, a team for Newsfeed, ateam for the Profile, a team for,you know, ads, and generally,those teams are pretty tiny.    
  59. 59. Julie  Zhuo  Like, we have generally one PM,one designer, who is responsiblefor the whole feature or even avertical, in some instances, wehave a handful of engineers and …  
  60. 60. Julie  Zhuo  … as much as we can, we like to,you know, have everyone worktogether but keep sort of atight-knit kind of community sothat each team can sort of feellike its one small company in andof itself.    
  61. 61. Julie  Zhuo  So Im a designer, I actuallymanage half of the product designteam, and right now the productdesign team is about eighteenpeople.  
  62. 62. Julie  Zhuo  … the way that we think ofproduct design at Facebook is its!-  you know, some companies havea segmentation of like, visualdesigner, interface designer, designstrategy –!and for us its really just onerole …  
  63. 63. Julie  Zhuo  ... and traditionally weve also triedto hire really technical designersand people who can go into thecodebase and, you know, write upthe front-end …  
  64. 64. Julie  Zhuo  … or at least have some familiaritywith the front-end layer so theydont have to sort of go in, youknow, always ask an engineer totweak something by five pixels.    
  65. 65. Adam  Mosseri,    Product  Design  Manager  h/p://  
  66. 66. Adam  Mosseri  
  67. 67. Adam  Mosseri  
  68. 68. Adam  Mosseri  
  69. 69. Adam  Mosseri  
  70. 70. Adam  Mosseri  
  71. 71. Adam  Mosseri  
  72. 72. Adam  Mosseri  
  73. 73. Adam  Mosseri  
  74. 74. Adam  Mosseri  
  75. 75. Org  Charts  h/p://­‐content/uploads/2011/06/2011.06.27_organizaaonal_charts.png    
  76. 76. (Chief)  Product  Owner:   Mark  Zuckerberg   h/p://    
  77. 77. Mike  Schroepfer,  Vice  President  of  Engineering   h/p://­‐developer-­‐life-­‐inside    
  78. 78. Mike  Schroepfer  How  many  projects  do  you  have  going  at  once?  Its  hard  to  tell,  because  we  have  them  running  all  the  ame,  but  they  might  be  just  a  singe  person  or  two.  The  answer  I  guess  would  be  somewhere  between  several  dozen  to  100  at  once.  
  79. 79. Mike  Schroepfer  How  do  you  know  if  theyre  running  to  plan?  The  big  problem  as  organisa=ons  like  Google  or  Microso@  get  larger  is  keeping  what  theyre  doing  synchronised.  Well,  intuiMon  is  what  gives  us  the  ideas  for  what  to  do,  and  data  tells  us  if  were  ge_ng  it  right.  We  iterate  to  find  out  if  a  projects  doing  it  right.  Or  you  might  make  something  live  and  then  you  look  at  whether  people  are  using  it  frequently,  or  whether  they  use  it  once  and  dont  come  back.  If  they  dont  come  back  then  we  probably  didnt  get  it  right.  Its  a  constant  process  of  iteraMon.  The  longer  it  gets  before  you  get  in  data  from  the  outcome,  the  worse  its  going  to  be  if  its  not  right.  
  80. 80. Mike  Schroepfer  As  companies  get  bigger,  they  face  the  problem  of  decisions  having  to  flow  up  and  down  management,  and  inevitably  things  ossify  -­‐  its  been  like  that  for  Microso@,  and  there  are  signs  of  it  at  Google.  Is  there  a  way  to  avoid  that  at  Facebook?  (laughs)  Yes,  we  dont  have  the  layers  of  management  approval!  We  dont  pass  things  up  and  down  the  chain.  The  team  working  on  the  product  development  makes  the  decisions.  If  theres  a  problem  or  if  they  think  it  merits  it  then  they  will  talk  to  Mark  [Zuckerberg]  directly.    We  try  to  do  a  good  job  of  se_ng  out  the  context  of  the  task  and  release  people  to  get  on  and  do  it.    People  are  pushing  new  features  and  code  to  the  site  every  day.  Its  really  about  trying  to  remove  barriers  and  reduce  fricMon  in  development.  
  81. 81. HipHop  Team  h/p://    
  82. 82. Facebook  Video  Team  (Hackathon)   h/p://      
  83. 83. So  what  do  you  think?  Thesis:    While  there  is  lile  or  no  evidence  for  “prescripMve  Scrum”  at  Facebook,  there  are  striking  parallels  to  Scrum  as  described  by  Takeuchi  and  Nonaka.  This  may  be  called  a  variant  of  Scrum,  just  as  Jeff  Sutherland  referred  to  the  process  used  on  the  Borland  project  as  a  variant  of  Scrum.  
  84. 84. Finding  suitable  abstracaons  
  85. 85. Roles  •  Mark  Zuckerberg  as  (Chief)  Product  Owner  •  Role  of  product  managers  and  teams  •  Hackathons  as  a  way  for  developers  to  get   their  ideas  on  the  “Backlog”    •  Role  of  project  managers  and  engineering   managers  
  86. 86. Organizaaonal  pa/erns  (Jim  Coplien)  •  Community  of  Trust  •  Unity  of  Purpose  •  Holisac  Diversity  •  Few  Roles  •  Producers  in  the  Middle  •  …  
  87. 87. Flow  principles  (Don  Reinertsen)  •  The  Principle  of  Mission  •  The  Principle  of  Peer-­‐Level  Coordinaaon  •  The  Principle  of  Regeneraave  Iniaaave  •  The  Principle  of  Face-­‐to-­‐Face  Communicaaon  •   The  Principle  of  Colocaaon  •  The  Trust  Principle  •  ...  (see  h/p://­‐study.html)  
  88. 88. Forces  shaping  Facebook’s  culture  •  How  would  you  organize  development  if  your   engineers  were  themselves  users  of  your   product?  •  How  would  you  organize  development  if  your   team  got  realame  feedback  from  actual  users?  
  89. 89. THANK  YOU!  
  90. 90. Supplementary  Material  
  91. 91. Joe  Kinsella’s  retrospecave   h/p://­‐lessons-­‐from-­‐the-­‐first-­‐scrum-­‐team/    
  92. 92. Joe  Kinsella’s  retrospecave  The  team  grew  over  the  years,  but  never  during  my  Mme  exceeded  6-­‐8  people.  For  a  while  we  had  Mike  Morris  from  our  San  Diego  office,  Dave  Hoag  from  Easel  consulang,  and  Jeff  McKenna,  an  external  object  oriented  consultant.  We  also  had  several  developers  from  a  Danish  consulang  firm  working  with  us.  But  throughout  the  Mme,  we  maintained  a  moMvated  and  high  performance  team  with  a  real  passion  for  the  crah  of  sohware  engineering.  
  93. 93. Joe  Kinsella’s  retrospecave   Eight  Lessons  
  94. 94. Joe  Kinsella’s  retrospecave  #1:  Work  With  Integrated  Cross  FuncMonal  Teams  #2:  Engage  in  Constant  CommunicaMon  #3:  ConMnuously  Demonstrate  Your  Product  #4:  Hire  ConMnuous  Learners  #5:  Work  Directly  With  Customers  #6:  Invest  in  Code  ConsolidaMon  #7:  Create  Mentoring  OpportuniMes  #8:  Build  Social  Bonds  
  95. 95. Joe  Kinsella’s  retrospecave  #1:  Work  With  Integrated  Cross  FuncMonal  Teams  The  Easel  team  was  a  Mghtly  knit  group  that  included  development,  quality  assurance,  and  product  management.  One  day  our  product  manager,  Don  Roedner,  took  me  aside  to  tell  me  how  different  this  was  from  his  previous  experience.  The  Mght  cross  funcMonal  integraMon  allowed  for  a  more  rapid  product  development  process,  increased  agility,  and  eliminated  the  need  for  more  formal  communicaaon.  
  96. 96. HipHop  h/p://    
  97. 97. HipHop  
  98. 98. HipHop  
  99. 99. HipHop  
  100. 100. HipHop  
  101. 101. HipHop