Facebook’s Zuckerberg allows his Development Teams to Build the Product

A fun article by Jason Calacanis titled: “What I Learned from Zuckerberg’s Mistakes” was a great read. The biggest takeaway for us?

Zuckerberg has developers build the product:

“Facebook’s success — and mistakes — are based on its developer-driven culture, not because Zuckerberg is some evil mastermind.

The Zuckerberg Doctrine: Developers design products with significantly improved speed and functionality compared to product managers and designers, outweighing potential mistakes and drawbacks.”

Then it really hit me: Developer-driven startups always produce product faster.” – Jason Calacanis

Is this Agile? I would say so. But does this mean that we don’t need the Product Owner (An definitive Scrum actor in the whole Agile process)? Or maybe this just applies to technology startups…


[HT: Launch]

13 Responses to “Facebook’s Zuckerberg allows his Development Teams to Build the Product”

  1. Robb
    January 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    I think it depends on the team and the product. Wrong team in a business situation could be deadly for a product or sales potential. The key interaction the product owner offers, at least in my experience, is the relational side with the client. The team might be comfortable sitting in a room with the executive team at their own company, but put them on spot in the client’s conference room and it might get uncomfortably quiet when key questions are probed.

    I agree that developers can come up with functional product faster, but the vision set in the beginning comes from a business/product owner with an idea of how to make profit on a product. My bet is Zuckerberg is doing that at some point with facebook dev.

    • peter
      January 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      I agree. Maybe it just works better for smaller shops… but it’s an interesting thing to note. Facebook does turn out products and features pretty darn quick!

  2. Jim Richards
    January 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    It really depends on what the product is. Open Source always had a the “scratch an itch” methodology which meant that the product may not meet the needs of anyone except the developer. Sometimes it takes the designer to know what the market needs for the product.

    But for the internals of the development, the how and what of the code – the definitely, let the developers run free. Well, almost free. You don’t want severe over design and development causing delays in delivery. Creaping featurism can be deadly.

    • peter
      January 15, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

      I think the caliber of developer talent at facebook allots them the ability to have the developers design and implement. They’re paying them big bucks! They best know whats good for the product!

  3. Andrej
    January 16, 2011 at 4:40 am #

    it doesn’t matter who is Product Owner, the most important thing is that he would understand what brings the value to the product.

    p.s. and sometimes Product Owners are quite narrow in their’s thinking

  4. Rustam
    December 10, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    From my experience with multiple dev teams, devs are not always that excited about UX. I guess it really depends on driver (or evangelist) of UX philosophy in product.

    Also dev-driven design approach might have some concerns:
    - while devs design a feature they might focus more on implementation issues vs. UX issue.
    - this approach is hardly applicable to development of professional software which requires specific domain/users knowledge.


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