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Build a Better Unicorn: Scaling Production Engineering Teams in the Real World

Grand Ballroom
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Scaling systems is hard. Scaling operations teams to manage those systems? Even harder. How do you find the ideal production-savvy engineer to support your systems end to end? Direct experience, technical skills, perfect culture fit – companies look for so many qualities in one person, it borders on myth. It’s time to build a better unicorn and learn how to scale your teams for the real world.

Nearly every technology company – regardless of size – faces the same challenge. We are all looking to hire and develop the best engineers to build, grow, and support the systems at the foundation of our businesses. What each of us seeks in this “best engineer” varies from company to company, team to team. Yet nearly all of us make the same mistakes in how we try to hire for those qualities and skills. Building a healthy Production Engineering team doesn’t happen by accident – and it’s something that can be achieved in companies of any size. I’ve been fortunate to be part of this process within some wildly different company cultures, including Linden Lab, EMI Music, and Facebook. This talk will cover some common errors in building and scaling the teams that companies depend on to bring products into production. I will also explore techniques to build and sustain a high-performing Production Engineering

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bethanye McKinney Blount


bethanye McKinney Blount leads infrastructure teams managing some of the most complex systems at Facebook. Those teams build and manage the underlying systems infrastructure that allows all the engineering teams to build scalable, reliable services. She is passionate about developing women in tech, from participating in diversity initiatives at Facebook to mentoring female startup founders.

Previously, she was Engineering Director at Linden Lab (makers of Second Life) where her teams were responsible for all customer-facing products. After Linden Lab, she served as Vice President of Software Engineering for EMI Group. In 2010, she co-founded MailRank, where the team developed a new approach to email productivity. MailRank was acquired by Facebook in 2011.