Making Open Work
May 8–9, 2017: Training & Tutorials
May 10–11, 2017: Conference
Austin, TX

From 15 to 250: Scaling a distributed, open source engineering team

Suyog Rao (Elastic), Michael Basnight (Elastic)
5:05pm5:45pm Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 2 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • VPs of engineering, directors of engineering, engineering managers, human resources directors, and those in recruiting

What you'll learn

  • Understand how Elastic scaled a primarily open source engineering team from 15 to 250 in four years
  • Explore asynchronous and real-time communication and when to use what
  • Discover best practices for hiring and onboarding open source and distributed teams, avoiding silos, promoting cross-functional collaboration, balancing open source and commercial development, and professional development and career growth


The Elastic engineering team is made up of about 250 employees spread across more than 10 teams over 30 countries—it’s been distributed since day one. And Elastic, the company behind the OSS projects Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana, and Beats, has been open source since day one as well.

Suyog Rao and Michael Basnight explore how the engineering team has evolved as the company has grown, how the team works and communicates effectively across all time zones, the tools it uses, and how decisions are made. Suyog and Michael also discuss the core values the team has defined and redefined at different stages of growth and how the team identified and communicated those values and cover the team structures that work well, how to hire, and balancing open source and commercial development.

Topics include:

  • Scaling a primarily open source engineering team from 15 to 250 in four years
  • Asynchronous and real-time communication and when to use what
  • Hiring and onboarding open source and distributed teams
  • Avoiding silos and ways to promote cross-functional collaboration
  • Balancing open source and commercial development
  • Professional development and career growth
Photo of Suyog Rao

Suyog Rao


Suyog Rao is a Logstash team lead at Elastic, where he develops for the Logstash project, supports customers, and trains users on the Elastic Stack. Suyog reports directly to the VP of engineering and has been with the team since the company’s second year. Previously, he worked on a high-throughput, low-latency infrastructure for ingesting and analyzing terabytes of log data using Elasticsearch, Apache Kafka, and Storm.

Photo of Michael Basnight

Michael Basnight


Michael Basnight is an engineer on the Cloud team at Elastic. Michael was involved in the foundation and development of the existing Elastic distributed team and previously held the role of team lead. He also worked as the PTL for the OpenStack Trove project building databases as a service.