How is software developed at Amazon? 
Monday, March 4, 2019 at 9:03AM
Todd Hoff in amazon

 

How is software developed at Amazon? Get a couple of prime pizzas delivered and watch this excellent interview with Ken Exner, GM of AWS Developer Tools. It's notable Ken is from the tools group because progress in an industry is almost always made possible by the development of better tools.

The key themes from the talk: decomposition, automation, and organize around the customer.

The key idea:

Scaling is by mitosis. Teams split apart into smaller teams that completely own a service. EC2 started as one two pizza team. 

This quote nicely embodies all three of the themes and is the key reason AWS keeps on winning the public cloud. Bottom up, Amazon adaptively grows their entire organization in response to customer inputs. 

If you want an example of how a complex AWS feature was developed from customer input then take a listen to Heavy Networking 433: An Insider’s Guide To AWS Transit Gateways. The AWS Transit Gateway was developed because customers asked for it...and AWS listened.

AWS is eating the world because customers keep on asking for a bigger menu.

And here's a short gloss of the talk...

Just a note, when I hear high level manager types explain how the software development process at their company works I am always a little bit dubious. As a long time individual contributer I know management often has no idea how the sausage is really made. But according to the reddit thread listed below, people who I assume work at Amazon, agree this is actually how it works. Color me impressed.

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