About 15 years ago, Chuck Rossi became what’s known in Silicon Valley as a release engineer. This is the person tasked with gathering up all the code written by a company’s many engineers and making sure it works together as a whole. Rossi coordinates the process for looking over code for bugs, chatting with engineers about their work and deciding which new features are ready to get baked into a particular version of a product.
It should be noted that Rossi is not just a release engineer. He is THE release engineer. He’s done this job at VMware, Google, and now Facebook. He may well know every single person in the closely knit world of Silicon Valley release engineers. As noted in my cover story this week, the work of Rossi and his team stand as one of the major reasons Facebook has been able to handle a billion users.