How to cut code like Facebook

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Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook.com)

Are you responsible for a highly-visible, mission-critical enterprise development project? You could do worse than learn by Facebook's example. With its 500 software engineers and a futher 500 operations staff, Facebook keeps a mostly 24/7 service running, serving 600,000,000+ people. That puts it at huge risk of introducing errors in software updates. Let's see what we can learn from it, in The Long View...

Yesterday, there was a flurry of discussion about how Facebook specifies, produces, tests, and rolls out updates to its service. This was kicked off in a blog post by Yee "yeeguy" Lee. Although the original post seems to have been riddled with inaccuracies, Lee has been diligently updating it, reflecting the crowdsourced feedback he's received from Facebook employees past and present. Opening the post, Lee sets out his stall:
I?m fascinated by the way Facebook operates. ... These are notes gathered from talking with many friends at Facebook about how the company develops and releases software.
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It?ll be super interesting to see how Facebook?s development culture evolves over time ? and especially to see if the culture can continue scaling as the company grows into the thousands-of-employees.

Below, I've pulled together a few key themes from the post and the various discussions around the Web. These are my interpretations of what's being said, packaged in a way that I hope is useful for development managers in other organizations...

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