Tremendous, long-form article by Charles Duhigg.
Five years ago, Google one of the most public proselytizers of how studying workers can transform productivity became focused on building the perfect team. In the last decade, the tech giant has spent untold millions of dollars measuring nearly every aspect of its employees lives. Googles People Operations department has scrutinized everything from how frequently particular people eat together (the most productive employees tend to build larger networks by rotating dining companions) to which traits the best managers share (unsurprisingly, good communication and avoiding micromanaging is critical; more shocking, this was news to many Google managers).
The companys top executives long believed that building the best teams meant combining the best people. They embraced other bits of conventional wisdom as well, like Its better to put introverts together, said Abeer Dubey, a manager in Googles People Analytics division, or Teams are more effective when everyone is friends away from work. But, Dubey went on, it turned out no one had really studied which of those were true.
In 2012, the company embarked on an initiative code-named Project Aristotle to study hundreds of Googles teams and figure out why some stumbled while others soared. Dubey, a leader of the project, gathered some of the companys best statisticians, organizational psychologists, sociologists and engineers. He also needed researchers. Rozovsky, by then, had decided that what she wanted to do with her life was study peoples habits and tendencies. After graduating from Yale, she was hired by Google and was soon assigned to Project Aristotle.