A few days after filling out my Google+ profile and circling a few early adopting friends, an article about the development of Google+ landed in my inbox. With over 10 million users in only a few weeks, and having just released a beta of our own social tool a few months ago, I’ve been hearing a lot about social well, everything. The article struck my interest, as it provides answers from Joseph Smarr, the Google+ technical lead, to a few popular questions.
More insightful than the answers themselves was the apparent focus and execution of business agility for such a huge company. Google’s history, though no doubt innovative in its search engine algorithm, have made large successes out of being second, third, and fourth mover with Gmail, Docs, Talk, (among others) and now Plus. That having been said, the astute concept of ‘circles’ clearly circumvents the usual “Facebook is for personal, LinkedIn is for professional” mentality. The jury is out on whether G+ will dominate the social scene, but this case of business agility is impressive to say the least.
Smarr is quoted in the article saying “We put extra emphasis on engineering speed/agility–we try to release code updates on a daily basis while still keeping quality/stability/latency as high as you’d expect from Google.” As an advocate for all things business agility, it’s nice to see 1) a successful launch of something built fast, 2) a positive response from millions of people, and 3) and enormous company able to pull it off. Sure, Google might be one of the most impressive companies of the information age, but plenty of other mega-corps should see this mindset trickle down to their own strategic plans.
Feedback is being collected from every user willing to provide it; one of the most important rules of agile – listen to your end users. Why rely on your own human capital when 10 million people have valuable opinions of their own – right? We built a feedback widget right into sprintr for this reason – release early, collect feedback, release often – your new agile development mantra perhaps. This mentality leads to great software, and based on their apparent focus on agility and feedback, I’m betting the guys at Google would agree.