The Amazon Way

In the fine grained services approach that we use at Amazon, services do not only represent a software structure but also the organizational structure. The services have a strong ownership model, which combined with the small team size is intended to make it very easy to innovate. In some sense you can see these services as small startups within the walls of a bigger company. Each of these services require a strong focus on who their customers are, regardless whether they are externally or internally. To ensure that a service meets the needs of the customer (and not more than that) we use a process called “Working Backwards” in which you start with your customer and work your way backwards until you get to the minimum set of technology requirements to satisfy what you try to achieve. The goal is to drive simplicity through a continuous, explicit customer focus.

The product definition process works backwards in the following way: we start by writing the documents we’ll need at launch (the press release and the faq) and then work towards documents that are closer to the implementation. The Working Backwards product definition process is all about is fleshing out the concept and achieving clarity of thought about what we will ultimately go off and build. It typically has four steps:

Reference

http://www.allthingsdistributed.com/2006/11/working_backwards.html https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9584806