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Wednesday, October 6 • 4:15pm - 4:45pm
Driving a Tech-led Reimagination of eBay Through DevOps

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One of the original hyperscalers, eBay helped pioneer modern operational techniques like sharding, circuit breakers, feature flags, and distributed tracing, and in 2020, eBay’s data centers turned in record cost effectiveness and availability. Also in 2020, however, the company needed to confront waterfall technical practices, years of legacy software and technical debt, slow product delivery, and a challenging competitive environment. This session outlines eBay’s technology-led reimagination begun in 2020, specifically the cross-organizational Velocity initiative to improve eBay’s ability to deliver value to customers.

We started by characterizing the breadth of the problem, which ultimately spans culture, organization, people, and technology, as well as every stage in the product development lifecycle. Using value stream mapping to identify constraints to flow, we decided to focus our initial efforts on improving software delivery across the board, because we recognized that eBay’s ability to deliver software rapidly, safely, and repeatably was a prerequisite for every other improvement. In addition, since one particular area of the site was a bottleneck for numerous business initiatives, we also focused on modularizing and modernizing its architecture.
Because our focus was on software delivery, we adopted the Accelerate metrics to measure success and look for opportunities. We launched ~10 independent tracks -- from build time to continuous integration to automated deployment -- and hand-selected pilot teams to work with in tight feedback loops. We have also embedded subject matter experts directly in product teams. We further use team-of-teams weekly meetings to share learnings and reinforce continuous improvement.

Explicitly to break down silos, the presenters are co-leaders of the initiative -- one from the product engineering side and the other from the tools and infrastructure side -- with entirely shared goals and metrics.
The initial results of this initiative are already bearing fruit, and we identify -- and bank -- new wins every week. With support from the top, and excitement from the grassroots, the Velocity initiative has galvanized teams to question the status quo and look for opportunities for improvement. Equally importantly, working collaboratively and breaking down silos are paying second-order cultural dividends. We have a long way to go, but this session will provide actionable insights for other organizations going through similar journeys.

avatar for Randy Shoup

Randy Shoup

VP Engineering and Chief Architect, eBay
Randy Shoup has been building distributed systems and high-performing teams for three decades. He has been a senior engineering leader at Google, Stitch Fix, and WeWork. Most recently in 2020, he returned to eBay as VP Engineering and Chief Architect. He talks a lot, sometimes at... Read More →
avatar for Mark Weinberg

Mark Weinberg

VP of Core Product Engineering, eBay
Mark is a passionate leader with a broad range of technical, design, business and management experience. He has a proven track record of bringing successful, high quality small, medium and large-scale consumer software products and services to market. Mark is currently VP of Core... Read More →

Wednesday October 6, 2021 4:15pm - 4:45pm CDT
Track 1