As vice president of engineering for Facebook, Mike Schroepfer oversees a team of 500+ developers. In this interview he explains that they usually use small teams of three to five people who work on a particular project for a month or two, although some projects may warrant larger teams or longer lead times. He also says they’ve done away with all the approval layers common at most companies. “We don’t have the layers of management approval!” Schroepfer laughs. “We don’t pass things up and down the chain. The team working on the product development makes the decisions. If there’s a problem or if they think it merits it, then they will talk to Mark [Zuckerberg] directly.”
The department also tries to get new developers up and working quickly. “We encourage people to try their hand, to push changes up to the site; so that if you haven’t made a change to the live site in first week, well, we’d think actually that’s wrong,” Schroepfer says.