Amazon Project Teams

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Work is done by small teams. (Amazon famously describes these as “two- pizza teams,” that is, teams small enough to be fed by two pizzas.) These teams work independently, starting with a high-level description of what they are trying to accomplish. Any project at Amazon is designed via a “working backwards” process. That is, the company, famous for its focus on the customer, starts with a press release that describes what the finished product does and why. (If it’s an internal-only service or product, the “customer” might be another internal team.) Then they write a Frequently Asked Questions document. They create mock- ups and other ways of defining the customer experience. They go so far as to write an actual user manual, describing how to use the product. Only then is the actual product green-lighted. Development is still iterative, informed by additional data from actual users as the product is built and tested, but the promise of the final product is where everything starts.

-from Tim O'Reilly, What the Future, 2018.

So in summary:

  1. Press release
  2. FAQ
  3. Mockups
  4. User Manual