July 20–24, 2015
Portland, OR

Freedom and responsibility @Netflix: Centralized team in a decentralized world

Mike McGarr (Netflix)
11:10am–11:50am Friday, 07/24/2015
Collaboration Portland 255
Tags: Devops
Average rating: ****.
(4.18, 11 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge



Netflix is famous for its culture of freedom and responsibility, which empowers engineers to choose the best tool for the job. Engineering teams at Netflix can follow the latest industry trends and sometimes they even create them. No one single team is responsible for innovation: does this generate opportunity or waste or both? The Engineering Tools team helps to direct other teams’ experimentation toward new products, while preserving their own ability to innovate.

In this talk, Mike McGarr (Netflix Build Tools manager) will explore the challenges of building and operating a centralized service team in the decentralized microservice world of Netflix. This includes building tools customers love, standing up an effective customer service model, productizing innovations, enabling self-service tooling, and providing consulting services to engineering teams. Mike will share tips on how to effectively establish a “tools team” in your organization.

Photo of Mike McGarr

Mike McGarr


Mike McGarr is the engineering manager for the Netflix Build Tools team. He has been developing Java/JVM-based applications for most of his career and is known to dabble in other languages as well. He is passionate about building quality software through automation. Mike can frequently be found talking about Agile, Continuous Delivery, DevOps, or build-and-test automation. Prior to joining Netflix, Mike was the director of DevOps at Blackboard, and the founder of the DC Continuous Delivery meetup.