Product Development Practices that Enabled Facebook to Reach One Billion Users

How did Facebook grow to one billion users and what could be learned? In her 10 minutes lighting talk at Grace Hopper Celebration, the amazing young and talented manager at Facebook, Julia Lee, described scalable product development and software engineering practices that allowed Facebook to reach one billion users. She focused around understanding Facebook users and identifying highest potential features and also highlighted discipline around instrumentation, data analysis, process, and decision-making.

  1. Understand
    • Correlation and causation
    • Incrementality and cannibalization
  2. IdentifyObjective function: an equation to be optimized given certain constraints and with variables that need to be minimized or maximized.
  3. Execute
    • No QA!
    • Sim ship globally
    • Everything logged, monitored, automated!
    • Performance lab
    • Continuous deployment/testing
    • Heavy dogfooding
    • Daily: two global pushes
    • Weekly: Tuesday major push
    • Semi-annually: reviews, goal setting, light roadmaps

The team structure at Facebook

  • Small teams, big impact
  • Own an objective/KPI
  • Team sets aggressive goals and takes accountability
  • Nurture risk-taking
  • Reward impact not effort!

Throw ideas against the wall. Innovation often starts with knowing the right question(s).



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