Oct 06, 7 min read. Ben Linders. It changes all the time as people at Spotify learn and discover new things. There is no one way in which software is developed at Spotify. Their paper provided a snapshot of the way of working at that time at Spotify, as Kniberg explained in the InfoQ interview scaling agile at spotify :. Spotify has been growing and the way that software is developed keeps on changing. There is no one way in which software is developed at Spotify; Spotify encourages their employees to learn and adapt their way of working continuously.
In the InfoQ interview learning fast at Spotify , Simon Marcus explains how Spotify tries to grow up and mature without losing their founding spirit and culture:. The problems that a company like Spotify faces on a day-to-day basis trying to serve twenty million daily active users are just widely different from the problems that a startup trying to find its market faces. So our approach is what futurist Warren Benes calls an ad-hocracy, which is an organization that is intentionally designed for flexibility and adaptation, and is maybe less concerned about extracting every last dollar of every activity that you engage in, and what this means is that we have, as I talked about, a relatively high tolerance for failure.
And we have a relatively high tolerance for inefficiency in the name of making sure that we are doing the right thing. One of the core guiding principles at Spotify is autonomy. Kristian Lindwall and Cliff Hazell from Spotify explained in a conference talk why autonomy is at the heart of agility in the InfoQ interview role of autonomy in agility :. Autonomy is always within boundaries. Boundaries come in forms of clarity and constraints, something that you should aim to make as explicit as you can often together with the teams themselves.
Overall, Spotify aims to have a culture of highly autonomous, well aligned teams. You can have both, but you need to work for it, said Lindwall and Hazell. Always make sure teams have access to their stakeholders and know their purpose. DIBBs are applied for both strategy and culture. Spotify maintains a board with company bets; the things that they have to do right now. This board with bets is open to everyone in the company.
Marcin Floryan, chapter lead at Spotify , spoke at Spark the Change London about Spotify's current approach to product and software development. This is a summary of his talk there is no Spotify model. People look at the Spotify model as an example to follow or imitate. This can result in a halo effect bias, argues Floryan, where people look at something which is successful and expect to be successful when they do the same in their company.
He suggested to looking at the Spotify model as a simplified description of a system or process. The model can help you to understand how things are done at Spotify, but it is not something that you should copy in your own organization. Floryan mentioned the organizational culture model by Edgar Schein, which indicates that you can only see a small part of the culture. Culture is also an abstraction, yet the forces that are created in social and organisational situations deriving from culture are powerful.
Things like basic assumptions are so well integrated in the way of working that they are hard to recognize. One of the basic assumptions of Spotify is autonomy. Squads are based on this assumption.
They are small, empowered cross functional teams who have full life cycle ownership. Squads make it possible for Spotify to move at much greater speed. They do not rely on other parts of Spotify to achieve their goals and deliver value. Autonomy is futile without alignment, said Floryan. As an example of trust at Spotify, Floryan explained how the supply of IT hardware is done. Another example of trust is that at Spotify anyone can deploy any piece of software, at any time, from any place with some restrictions, for instance on credit card transactions handling systems.
Everyone can see the business metrics, has access to most of the documentation, and the earning goals are also internally published. Being trusted without being given the right information leads you down the wrong path, said Floryan.
He went back to the supply of hardware at Spotify, where the price of each article is mentioned on a tag on the cupboard. Knowing the price employees can better decide if they need a new keyboard, or not.
You have to have a purpose in your autonomy to make people do the right thing. Floryan stated that this again shows that you should not start with a model or a book and try to implement that, but instead look at what you want to reach and use whatever helps you to get there.
Being good at Spotify means that you are really good in working in a team. We solve problems in groups instead of asking experts, said Floryan. The offices at Spotify provide space to collaborate. The leadership principle is used at all levels, so a tribe or alliance will also have three people leading it from a product, technical and process perspective. Who you can become matters more than who you are now, argued Floryan. When hiring people Spotify looks at the potential that a candidate has, the ability to grow and develop new skills.
Diversity is where different perspectives and viewpoints collide. Floryan mention several beliefs from Spotify. That is why Spotify gives people time off to recharge. Another belief is "whoever learns the fastest wins".
We aim to make mistakes faster than anyone else, said Floryan, quoting Daniek Ek. Spotify has to be able to recover from failure, to have very fast feedback loops, and have the data, tools and an infrastructure that allows to create insights for more effective learning. The Spotify model changes all the time as people at Spotify learn and discover new things. We look at what we do, we examine the problems, and solve them, said Floryan. He quoted Taiichi Ohno stating, "you have to think for yourself and face your difficulties instead of trying to borrow wisdom".
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Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion. Very interesting article. Unfortunately, half of the links in the article lead to what look like dummy URLs. As Spotify continues to loose money one must wonder if the development model continues to contribute to the losses. If there was a stronger focus on revenue maximization or a shift to proven development models would the losses be reduced? For me the losses alone are a red flag and a reason to stay away from their model.
Your assumption is basically wrong, they connection between the losses is that they are investing, not thay their development is expensive although that might true too. If they invested in fewer features and started to show profits on the last line.
Would the development-model be better then, even though it didn't change at all? I agree with a lot of what you say, but there is something that you talk about that everyone should be trying to copy. Your first quote talks about how it has been a "continuous stream of small iterative improvements". The model of constantly making regular, small iterative changes with the input of employees is what everything should be trying to emulate.
I've put my full thoughts in the following blog, in case anyone is interested: medium. Continuous experimentation, learning, adaptation, and change IS the Spotify model. The outward appearance of how Spotify organizes and executes is merely a reflection of this deeper "system". For those who want to learn more about how to implement such a system check out our executive brief entitled "Big Pivot" - www. Is your profile up-to-date? Please take a moment to review and update. Don't Copy the Spotify Model. Like Print Bookmarks. Oct 06, 7 min read by Ben Linders.
In the InfoQ interview learning fast at Spotify , Simon Marcus explains how Spotify tries to grow up and mature without losing their founding spirit and culture: The problems that a company like Spotify faces on a day-to-day basis trying to serve twenty million daily active users are just widely different from the problems that a startup trying to find its market faces. Author Contacted. Related Editorial. Dealing with Psychopaths and Narcissists during Agile Change.
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