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

The Paved Road at Netflix: At the junction of freedom and responsibility

Dianne Marsh (Netflix)
11:50am12:30pm Wednesday, May 10, 2017
In Real Life (IRL)
Location: Meeting Room 12
Level: Beginner
Average rating: ****.
(4.25, 8 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Managers, program managers, and change makers

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with the challenges of working in an environment without mandates
  • A basic understanding of programming languages and the complexity of supporting a polyglot environment (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Explore Netflix's Paved Road, a concept formalizing a set of expectations and commitments between centralized and local teams
  • Understand how to apply this practice in your company


Netflix has a culture of freedom and responsibility, which balances the freedom to make decisions with responsibility to your team, other colleagues, and the company. This introduces complexity for centralized teams, who often take on responsibility for other team’s decisions. The Paved Road, a concept formalizing a set of expectations and commitments between centralized and local teams, is absolutely critical to Netflix’s culture of freedom and responsibility. It’s a promise of a path of least resistance, providing well-integrated, supported machinery to enable engineers to focus on delivering their core business value.

Dianne Marsh shares how Netflix uses this promised path of well-integrated, supported tools toward its polyglot strategy, creating boundaries so that the company can provide value without being overwhelmed. You’ll leave with strategies for adapting your development tooling and practices to match the culture of your company and understand how to socialize those decisions. While your coworkers may not always like your choices, this session may help you avoid a few potholes along the way.

Photo of Dianne Marsh

Dianne Marsh


Dianne Marsh is a director of engineering at Netflix, where she leads a team responsible for tools and systems used for continuous integration, delivery, and deployment to the AWS cloud by nearly all engineers in the company—which are often released as open source tools to the broad community. Dianne coauthored Atomic Scala with Bruce Eckel. She holds a master of science degree in computer science from Michigan Technological University.