Etsy posted a walkthrough of their ‘engineering rotation’ for employees:
This got us thinking about starting up engineering rotations, where people outside of the engineering organization spend some time learning how the team works and doing some engineering tasks. Armed with our excellent continuous deployment tools, we put together a program that could have an employee with no technical knowledge deploying code live to the website in three hours. This includes time spent training and the deploy itself.
The program is split into three parts: homework; an in-person class; then hands-on deployment. The code that participants change and deploy will add their photos to the Etsy about page. It’s a nice visual payoff, and lets new hires publicly declare themselves part of the Etsy team.
I think programs like this are an excellent idea – not just exposing people to how others across the company work, but giving them an understanding of what other groups are doing. I see a lot of animosity towards other groups in my current job, mostly because they don’t really understand what it is the other groups do.