Nov 03 2021

Leading DevOps With Head and Heart in APAC

By Meta Careers
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“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been motivated by solving problems,” Qi Z., a manager at Meta, smiles. “I’m grateful that my knack for uncovering solutions and learning new things along the way has led me to my career at Meta.”
Qi currently leads Developer Integrity and Experience Operations on the DevOps team for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, but he wasn’t looking for a new role when a recruiter from the team first reached out to him. “I enjoyed the work I was doing and wasn’t looking to do anything different at the time,” he recalls. “But once the recruiter started sharing more about how the DevOps team in APAC was at the heart of addressing major obstacles and finding creative solutions to unprecedented data privacy protection challenges, I knew I would regret turning down an opportunity to interview with the team.”
Conversations with several team members ultimately inspired him to join Meta (then Facebook). “The interviews really piqued my interest and curiosity. Everyone was incredibly smart and so passionate, and I saw tremendous opportunity to make a meaningful contribution in the industry and for developers across the world.”
Three years later, Qi is sharing what he’s learned in his first global role—along with three ways he and the DevOps team are overcoming obstacles to evolve the industry together.

Utilizing diverse perspectives to build better

At Meta, we believe that diverse perspectives and embracing different backgrounds and experiences are essential to building products and services that people around the world will use and love.
As Qi explains, having diversity of thought is akin to having a superpower when working with millions of developers who have a wide range of objectives and challenges. “Fresh perspectives are key for empowering our personal capabilities and helping us think beyond what we already know. Having a variety of ideas and approaches also helps us collaborate with cross-functional teams, such as Design and Product. Our work with these groups provides us with additional input and gives us a holistic view of what’s possible. It’s only when we work together that we can truly uncover the best possible solutions for challenges we’re facing.”
“The DevOps team has a unique opportunity to help bring the world closer together. We work with millions of developers—from influencers to businesses of all sizes—across the world to provide them with the best possible experience. Our work helps them feel secure and makes it possible for them to grow with technology that’s both efficient and free.”
Within DevOps, Qi and his team are focused on two key areas: platform integrity and the developer experience. “We think about things like how to identify and remove bad actors. This not only prevents them from misusing our technologies and services, but helps us provide a better environment for good actors who are using our technology productively,” he explains. “We’re also responsible for creating efficient support channels, which assist developers in working quickly and efficiently. Utilizing our diverse perspectives and taking a creative approach to solving problems drives a large part of what we do for the developers who use Facebook and our other apps.”
"Qi and his team wearing orange cooking aprons while participating in a cooking challenge."
Qi and members of the DevOps team completed a cooking challenge at one of their team offsites.

Leading with logic and empathy

Which qualities set a strong leader apart? What empowers someone to make an impact and motivate teams? For Qi, it’s bringing both logic and deep empathy to work each day—something he does with intention and has seen his team adopt as well. “Throughout my career, I’ve observed how strong leaders are able to think with their heads and lead with their hearts,” he says. “These people demonstrate a great deal of empathy, fostering connections with their teams while earning respect and inspiring trust.”
Described by his team as “inspiring, positive, and calm”, Qi says that being more intentional is one of the biggest lessons he’s learned in his first global role. “As a leader, everything I do trickles down to the team, and ultimately the developer experience. I think about leading with my head as staying focused on our business outcomes and how we’re delivering. With heart, it’s all about showing the team how much I care. I want everyone to feel comfortable asking questions, to have a sense of ownership, and to be able to address tough topics so we can all build better and do our best work every day.”
“Across the team, showing heart means encouraging one another to speak up. This creates trust by inspiring open and honest conversations, and it helps us demonstrate empathy for one another—as well as for those using our platform and products.”
"Qi and his team wearing brightly colored clothing and smiling in front of a patterned wall during Diwali celebrations at the office."
Qi and his team having fun together while celebrating Diwali at the Meta office in Singapore.

Planning for the future together

In an ever-evolving industry, knowing what to focus on—and when—can be a big challenge. But according to Qi, setting goals, celebrating results, and sharing a long-term collective vision can go a long way in keeping teams motivated and helping everyone stay on track.
“We work together to set two types of goals: a half-year plan, and a long-term vision,” Qi elaborates. “While our shorter-term goals help us stay aligned in the near future, sharing a long-term vision gives us a north star to look to from anywhere, anytime.”
Shorter-term goals serve as a starting point to bring everybody together. “When we develop a half-year plan, we use data to speculate about what people will want and the type of work we’ll need to do now to get there. We ask ourselves: ‘What are the things we can do today or tomorrow?’, ‘Why is this short term endpoint important for our longer-term vision?’ and ‘What does success look like at the end of this half—or this time next year?’ When the team understands what the vision for our collective success looks like, they naturally feel more motivated to drive the right things forward.”
“When leading a team, it can be challenging to set goals, manage perceptions, and balance expectations. I’ve found that intentional and clear communication is essential for navigating changing expectations. Operating with transparency has also helped our team build trust with one another, as well as with our cross-functional partners.”
The team’s north star is also essential as it inspires everyone to think ahead and dream bigger. Qi says, “At Meta, and within the DevOps team specifically, we pride ourselves on solving novel challenges and providing truly innovative solutions. We each have the unique opportunity to make an impact at a massive scale, and we all share a great responsibility in helping shape the future while steering the industry forward.”
He continues, “I’m incredibly proud that our efforts help ensure people who use Meta’s products feel secure, and to provide businesses with access to technology that’s both efficient and free. As we continue to deliver on our mission to build a thriving community on the developer program and protect people from bad actors, I’m looking forward to doing even more great things together.”
Would you like to learn more? Here are a few of Qi’s favorite resources that have helped him evolve in his DevOps and management career: McKinsey Blog, Stratechery Blog, and Facebook Developer Community.

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