According to Matt Rosoff in Business Insider, Facebook developers (engineers) have a huge amount of freedom regarding the projects they work on. Product Managers have to sell their idea to engineers.
This is a fantastic idea. On the one hand, the product manager is more likely to have an engineer who is motivated to work on their project, and on the other, the product manager has to be able to sell it before it’s made. If the concept doesn’t sell well within facebook, that’s already a great red flag about the viability of any particular idea.
As a product manager is creating a new product, there are many activities that they do in order to refine the concept and bake it before a developer actually starts working on it. Facebook’s process forces even more reflection before development resources are spent. This is really positive.
Another benefit is that the product manager is forced to understand what benefits the developer may draw from working on a particular project. How can a project help them grow and learn more? So there are HR developmental benefits from this concept too.
Facebook has improved in leaps and bounds over the past few years, its interface is better and their software generally performs better too. May be this process has really contributed to this improvement?
From a personal standpoint, I remember pitching this way of working to a mentor about six years ago. He looked at me like I was out of my mind. It appears that it wasn’t so far fetched after all!