Posterous co-founder and former Apple software engineer Sachin Agarwal, has described on his blog, how Apple operates it’s engineering teams “like a huge startup” with software engineers being moved from project to project as they are needed according to priority. Agarwal then points to Apple’s free Remote application for the iPhone as a case-and-point for […]
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Inside Apple's Engineering Teams

Posterous co-founder and former Apple software engineer Sachin Agarwal, has described on his blog, how Apple operates it’s engineering teams “like a huge startup” with software engineers being moved from project to project as they are needed according to priority. Agarwal then points to Apple’s free Remote application for the iPhone as a case-and-point for his claims. Remote, has been left to age on a shelf while the engineer is working on other projects.

es, the Remote app is due for an update. But here’s why it hasn’t been updated: the person who wrote it is busy working on other things. Yes, the person, not the team. (He’s a good friend of mine)

Apple doesn’t build large teams to work on every product they make. Instead, they hire very few, but very intelligent people who can work on different projects and move around as needed.

Agarwal goes on to further explain Apple’s staffing practices by saying:

Startups also thrive by keeping things lean. Great startups have small teams that can build quickly and pivot when needed. When working at a startup, you don’t own just one part of the application: you have to be able to work on whatever needs your attention that day.

This claim would go a long way to explain reports we heard earlier this year that suggest Apple was diverting engineering talent away from Mac OS X 10.7 and toward iOS. This would also explain why Apple’s less-popular software titles go unchanged for some time before seeing an update.

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