Frank Chen

Senior Staff Software Engineer at Slack


Applying Friction for Development Productivity with Circuit Breakers

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After months of similar cascading incidents, Frank Chen shares how Slack engineers increased developer productivity by implementing circuit breakers throughout internal tooling. Engineers across Developer Productivity teams at Slack applied friction or shed to requests in Checkpoint, a Continuous Integration (CI) / Continuous Delivery (CD) orchestration service. This methodology increased service availability, overall throughput and decreased bad developer experiences with circuit breakers on Checkpoint’s scheduler. These circuit breakers on the interface between systems in CI were levers to minimize cascading failures and provided high leverage for programmatic metric queries for multiple services instead of individual client or service based approaches.

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Frank Chen is a maker. He develops products and leads software engineering teams with a background in behavior design, engineering leadership, systems reliability engineering, and resiliency research. At Slack, Frank focuses on making engineers' lives simpler, more pleasant, and more productive, in the Developer Productivity group. At Palantir, Frank has worked with customers in healthcare, finance, government, energy and consumer packaged goods to solve their hardest problems by transforming how they use data. At Amazon, Frank led a front-end team and infrastructure team to launch AWS WorkDocs, the first secure multi-platform service of its kind for enterprise customers. At Sandia National Labs, Frank researched resiliency and complexity analysis tooling with the Grid Resiliency group. He received a M.S. in Computer Science focused in Human-Computer Interaction from Stanford. Frank's thesis studied how the design / psychology of exergaming interventions might produce efficacious health outcomes. With the Stanford Prevention Research Center, Frank developed health interventions rooted in behavioral theory to create new behaviors through mobile phones. He prototyped early builds of Tiny Habits with BJ Fogg and worked in the Persuasive Technology Lab. He received a B.S. in Computer Science from UCLA. Frank researched networked systems and image processing with the Center for embedded Networked Systems. With the Rand Corporation, he built research systems to support group decision-making.