How did Facebook position IT to be a 'product organization' and stop being seen as IT?

This was something I wanted to do from the beginning and it fit my background since I was a product guy but I had zero support for it.

IT at Facebook is called Enterprise Engineering and is a product function within the product group. To make this shift happen, I had to do this in 2 ways that I would pass on:

  1. You have to understand the culture of the environment you’re in. Facebook’s culture was very different than KLA’s. In Facebook’s culture, the king is engineering. If I was going to do something that would make IT more product-like, I was going to have to earn the respect of the engineering organization. I started by looking to work with the head of engineering but they were not able to make time. Then I engaged in the second thing - there are people in every organization that absolutely hate IT. They’re pissed off and vocal about how bad IT is… and they are god sends because they are passionate and motivated. If you can hire these people and give them the power to make things better, they’ll make things better and empower you with their business background. So I did this with engineering at Facebook. I found and got a grumpy engineer to come work for me and he helped seed the IT engineering organization at Facebook. This got me the talent I was looking for.
  2. I ran the whole thing like a product function. I split the organization into product and operations.Operations was things like help desk, support etc.
    • Operations you basically do the same things over and over again. Once you hire a really good head of ops, this should run on autopilot and then I was able to spend my time running the product group.
    • Whether you’re building sales, finance, or product tools - run them like a product. Understand the job to be done by the product, what are the critical user journeys and how will you optimize those. You have to tie this to metrics of success and they won’t necessarily be revenue-driven but there will be obvious indicators.
      For HR - increasing the number of candidates an HR manager could source and close.
      For Finance - shortening the time taken to close the books at the end of the month.
      For Sales - how many customers could the SME organization touch in a single week or time spent with customers.

    To run the whole thing like a product function, you have to have a product roadmap, sprint cycles, etc. We ran our product teams in the exact same way that Facebook ran it’s product teams which helped onboard people quickly when they moved from engineering, design, or product to IT.

    At a different company I would follow a different strategy. At Macy’s or Nordstroms, engineering might not be king, so you’d have to figure out what the epicenter of power is and work outward from there. It was hard and it took time, but was well worth it. It dramatically improved the relationships with the product and business functions. My relationships with the business was predominantly focused on improving productivity and that helped our internal positioning a lot.

    One project that cemented our positioning internally was one we did for driving sales productivity. We built sales / ads tools that were so good that Facebook advertising customers started demanding them. We were then able to partner with Facebook Engineering to productize them for external use - things like Audience Insights, Facebook Topic Data, and the backside of Facebook CRM. These were huge wins that never would’ve been possible without our approach.

    0 answers

    #facebook,#product,#organizational structure,#innovation @IT
    Timothy Campos

    Timothy Campos, Former CIO

    This was something I wanted to do from the beginning and it fit my background since I was a product guy but I had zero support for it.

    IT at Facebook is called Enterprise Engineering and is a product function within the product group. To make this shift happen, I had to do this in 2 ways that I would pass on:

    1. You have to understand the culture of the environment you’re in. Facebook’s culture was very different than KLA’s. In Facebook’s culture, the king is engineering. If I was going to do something that would make IT more product-like, I was going to have to earn the respect of the engineering organization. I started by looking to work with the head of engineering but they were not able to make time. Then I engaged in the second thing - there are people in every organization that absolutely hate IT. They’re pissed off and vocal about how bad IT is… and they are god sends because they are passionate and motivated. If you can hire these people and give them the power to make things better, they’ll make things better and empower you with their business background. So I did this with engineering at Facebook. I found and got a grumpy engineer to come work for me and he helped seed the IT engineering organization at Facebook. This got me the talent I was looking for.
    2. I ran the whole thing like a product function. I split the organization into product and operations.Operations was things like help desk, support etc.
      • Operations you basically do the same things over and over again. Once you hire a really good head of ops, this should run on autopilot and then I was able to spend my time running the product group.
      • Whether you’re building sales, finance, or product tools - run them like a product. Understand the job to be done by the product, what are the critical user journeys and how will you optimize those. You have to tie this to metrics of success and they won’t necessarily be revenue-driven but there will be obvious indicators.
        For HR - increasing the number of candidates an HR manager could source and close.
        For Finance - shortening the time taken to close the books at the end of the month.
        For Sales - how many customers could the SME organization touch in a single week or time spent with customers.

      To run the whole thing like a product function, you have to have a product roadmap, sprint cycles, etc. We ran our product teams in the exact same way that Facebook ran it’s product teams which helped onboard people quickly when they moved from engineering, design, or product to IT.

      At a different company I would follow a different strategy. At Macy’s or Nordstroms, engineering might not be king, so you’d have to figure out what the epicenter of power is and work outward from there. It was hard and it took time, but was well worth it. It dramatically improved the relationships with the product and business functions. My relationships with the business was predominantly focused on improving productivity and that helped our internal positioning a lot.

      One project that cemented our positioning internally was one we did for driving sales productivity. We built sales / ads tools that were so good that Facebook advertising customers started demanding them. We were then able to partner with Facebook Engineering to productize them for external use - things like Audience Insights, Facebook Topic Data, and the backside of Facebook CRM. These were huge wins that never would’ve been possible without our approach.