I’m fascinated by the way Facebook operates. It’s a very unique environment, not easily replicated (nor would their system work for all companies, even if they tried). These are notes gathered from talking with many friends at Facebook about how the company develops and releases software.
Seems like others are also interested in Facebook… The company’s developer-driven culture is coming under greater public scrutiny and other companies are grappling with if/how to implement developer-driven culture. The company is pretty secretive about its internal processes, though. Facebook’s Engineering team releases public Notes on new features and some internal systems, but these are mostly “what” kinds of articles, not “how”… So it’s not easy for outsiders to see how Facebook is able to innovate and optimize their service so much more effectively than other companies. In my own attempt as an outsider to understand more about how Facebook operates, I assembled these observations over a period of months. Out of respect for the privacy of my sources, I’ve removed all names and mention of specific features/products. And I’ve also waited for over six months to publish these notes, so they’re surely a bit out-of-date. I hope that releasing these notes will help shed some light on how Facebook has managed to push decision-making “down” in its organization without descending into chaos… It’s hard to argue with Facebook’s results or the coherence of Facebook’s product offerings. I think and hope that many consumer internet companies can learn from Facebook’s example.