Managing Google style

Friday, April 28, 2006

Managing Google style

Google has invested heavily in building a highly transparent organization that makes it easy to share ideas, poll peers, recruit volunteers, and build natural constituencies for change. Every project team, and there are hundreds, maintains a Web site that is continuously monitored for peer feedback. In this way, unorthodox ideas have the chance to accumulate peer support -- or not -- before they get pummeled by the higher-ups. It also helps that Google is organized like the Internet itself: tightly connected, flat and meritocratic. Half of its employees -- all those involved in product development -- work in pint-sized teams, with an average of three or four engineers per team. Product managers typically have 50+ direct reports, making it hard for supervisors to micromanage. Critically, control is more peer-to-peer than manager-to-minion.

Management a la Google from the Wall Street Journal April 26th 2006
It's an interesting article that doesn't really say too much new, but it does say it fairly well. One thing I've always found interesting that they do at Google is the 20% rule, whereby every engineer can allocate 20% of their time to fun pet projects, allowing them to work on something that may or may not become a future product for Google. By doing this they've really stimulated a sense of corporate creativity & innovation which, as the article states, has resulted in a large number of new products being released by Google this year. I'm attempting to do something similar at work, by blocking out 10% of my time (Friday afternoons), so that I can work on researching interesting topics, creating tools for use in my department, or automating and improving current processes. From time to time, if something interesting comes out of it, I'll post it here for you to see.


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