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Author Topic: Good Agile, Bad Agile, and What It's Like to Work for Google  (Read 3559 times)


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Good Agile, Bad Agile, and What It's Like to Work for Google
« on: September 28, 2006, 09:09:14 PM »
From a high level, Google's process probably does look like chaos to someone from a more traditional software development company. As a newcomer, some of the things that leap out at you include:

- there are managers, sort of, but most of them code at least half-time, making them more like tech leads.

- developers can switch teams and/or projects any time they want, no questions asked; just say the word and the movers will show up the next day to put you in your new office with your new team.

- Google has a philosophy of not ever telling developers what to work on, and they take it pretty seriously.

- developers are strongly encouraged to spend 20% of their time (and I mean their M-F, 8-5 time, not weekends or personal time) working on whatever they want, as long as it's not their main project.

- there aren't very many meetings. I'd say an average developer attends perhaps 3 meetings a week, including their 1:1 with their lead.

- it's quiet. Engineers are quietly focused on their work, as individuals or sometimes in little groups or 2 to 5.

- there aren't Gantt charts or date-task-owner spreadsheets or any other visible project-management artifacts in evidence, not that I've ever seen.

- even during the relatively rare crunch periods, people still go get lunch and dinner, which are (famously) always free and tasty, and they don't work insane hours unless they want to.

These are generalizations, sure. Old-timers will no doubt have a slightly different view, just as my view of Amazon is slightly biased by having been there in 1998 when it was a pretty crazy place. But I think most Googlers would agree that my generalizations here are pretty accurate.

How could this ever work?


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Re: Good Agile, Bad Agile, and What It's Like to Work for Google
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2008, 06:25:37 PM »
I have several meatspace friends and many others that I know via online connections and every last one of them loves working for Microsoft.