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Moving Fast At Scale

Randy Shoup | GOTO Berlin 2019

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Most companies slow down as they get larger, but some actually get faster. This talk will discuss the speaker's experiences leading high-performing engineering teams at Google, eBay, and Stitch Fix, and will discuss the organization, the processes, and the culture that can help a company move fast -- and even accelerate -- as it grows.

Modern software-service models take advantage of the great benefits in having the same team both build the software as well as operate it in production -- we call this DevOps, or simply "You Build It; You Run It". What does this mean in practice?

Organizationally, it means small teams with well-defined areas of responsibility, directly aligned with the business. The teams are cross-functional, meaning that each team has all the skill sets it requires to do its job, while at the same time relying on other teams for supporting services, tools, and libraries.

Process-wise, it means doubling down on practices like test-driven development and continuous delivery. Using continuous delivery practices, high-performing teams can and do release their applications and services multiple times a day. This enables them to iterate rapidly, experiment courageously, and fail more quickly.

Culturally, it means end-to-end ownership. Each team owns its software end-to-end, from design to development to deployment to retirement. The same engineers who are responsible for the features are responsible for quality, performance, operations, and maintenance. This ownership puts incentives in the right place to encourage building maintainable, observable, and operable systems from the start.

All these techniques and approaches are available to everyone, and practical examples in this talk will help other organizations on their journey.

About the speakers

Randy Shoup
Randy Shoup

VP Engineering and Chief Architect, eBay