Facebook Engineering Culture with Raylene Yung

Facebook moves fast because of vision, collaboration, and trust. The fast pace of development is enabled by constantly improving infrastructure and a sense of unity throughout the company. 

In Facebook’s early days, there was an emphasis on rapidly deploying new code to drive constant improvement and experimentation. 

Product quality was maintained by engineers closely checking each other’s code reviews, rather than writing detailed unit testing suites. Facebook engineers had a sense for how the product should operate, and they were able to evaluate whether a new feature was working properly by testing a live version of that feature.

At Facebook, the vision of the company is clearly communicated to the employees. Every employee within Facebook can articulate the vision for the company, and will use similar language in describing that vision. 

Since the employees are aligned on strategy, they can also align in their implementation of product features. This reduces conflicts across roles and between teams. 

Facebook has also shown a willingness to trust its engineers. Trust was exemplified by Facebook’s tolerance for failures in the early days. When an engineer broke a build, or shipped a feature that failed to gain traction, that engineer was usually not punished. They may have even been rewarded, if the company could learn significantly from such an error.

Raylene Yung was an engineer at Facebook from 2009 to 2015. As she moved from individual contributor to manager to engineering director, Raylene worked on products including News Feed, Timeline, Privacy, and Sharing. 

Raylene joins the show to give her reflections on the Facebook product and engineering environment. She explained how Facebook’s culture of collaboration, vision, and trust drive fast product development and minimizes conflict.

Raylene left Facebook and joined Stripe, where she worked on payments systems and international expansion for almost four years.

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Transcript

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