What moves any company are its employees. Without people, no idea can take shape and develop, even with the constant advancement of technology.
For many years managers and human resources professionals have been trying to understand the best model for managing teams and it was in this context that Squads emerged.
The Spotify Squad model has been popularized by startups, who found in it a way to make the most of the productivity of their employees. Large companies around the world, such as Spotify already use the model and the results could not be better.
In this article, let’s see how you can increase your team’s performance by using a Spotify Model.
A Squad that looks forward to the future
A company is driven by its employees, with connection, collaboration, and empathy as the main ingredients of this potent recipe to not only fulfill the objectives but do it with mastery.
In the new corporate mindset, changes point to the future, and innovating is knowing how to put the right people in the right places, making the most of each employee’s talent to optimize productivity and, of course, results.
With its origins in startup models, the squad concept emerged to transform people management.
Forming an invincible squad is dividing your team into small, multidisciplinary groups, where each member has the autonomy they need to make it happen.
Knowing the priorities and exactly where you want to go, each squad has a leader who fights together to win the battles, but the secret of the multidisciplinary squad is self-management.
What does that mean? Leadership acts as a bridge between people and the execution of tasks with a focus on finding the most appropriate solutions, and that old division between departments ceases to exist to create a collaborative space.
With each new project, a new squad can be formed according to the demands, and when these heroes join, the superpowers are even more potentiated.
In its squad, the path that leads to high performance is one that prioritizes direct and effective communication. When employees understand each other and know what they are going to do to reach the top, work becomes much more fluid and productive.
Regardless of which area each of the members came from, the important thing is that everyone is in tune with the common goals, and the diverse expertise determines the pace of work because the different specialties, when combined, can bring surprising results.
Remember when we had a chat about collaborative environments? Well, the essence of the squad is exactly there: in a space conducive to good ideas, with each one playing their decisive role in a work done by many hands, with full autonomy to set priorities and make decisions.
The most interesting thing about it all? The formation of a squad is a journey in progress, which adapts and transforms as tasks are performed, goals are achieved and new objectives emerge.
Spotify: an unbeatable organizational structure
The most used music streaming service in the world is also a reference when we talk about successful squads.
In fact, Spotify was the company that popularized this concept and serves as an inspiration to global organizations. Forget bureaucratic top-down hierarchical management structures.
Instead, Spotify uses squads to manage its business, forming teams of 6 to 12 people that function as “internal mini-startups”. On Spotify, each squad sits together combining all the skills and tools needed to design, develop, test and release into production.
They are a self-organizing team and decide their own way of working – some use Scrum sprints, some use Kanban, some use a combination of these approaches, and some build their own ideal way of working.
Each squad has a long-term mission and takes responsibility for different parts of the user experience. As each squad keeps a mission and a part of the product to be developed for a long time, they can really become experts in this area.
Most squads have an incredible physical workspace, including meeting areas and wellness areas, where nearly every wall is a whiteboard, ready to be filled with genius ideas.
Small groups work better together</3>
Spotify also creates Tribes, a collection of squads that work in related fields. The tribe can be seen as the ‘incubator’ of mini-startups and has a certain degree of freedom and autonomy.
Each tribe has a leader who is responsible for providing the best possible environment for the squads. Tribes are designed to be smaller than 150 people, with an ideal size of 40.
When groups get too big, they start to see more things like restrictive rules, bureaucracy, politics, extra layers of management, and other wastes of time, energy, and money.
Both in Spotify and in other companies that managed to create successful squads, communication is a key point: direct and straightforward to be efficient.
For the work to flow, people need to interact with each other, collaborate, be encouraged but be honest and sincere about what is going on.
Instead of managing the performance of the squads, a better option is to implement individual coaching-style sessions on the performance of each professional, trying to be as clear as possible when giving feedback.
Speaking of feedback, it is very important to encourage this performance monitoring and evaluation to maintain the growth mindset.
These conversations can be focused on individual development that portrays the talent of each within the performance of their own squad, also including rewards as a form of motivation and recognition.
According to Spotify, the way they work is unique, but not perfect; they make mistakes and know they don’t have the answers to every question. As the company grows quickly, new challenges also arise at the same speed.
For them, the biggest challenges are to attract the right people and take advantage of innovation in all areas, deploying agility in a unique culture, while adding new employees to the team every month that will fit into the squads as they adapt to the organizational culture.
After all, creating alignment, avoiding bureaucracy, and involving employees is a constant struggle for many fast-growing organizations.
Fighting against normality
In companies that grow exponentially, their squads rebel against what adds nothing. Keeping the organizational culture alive while working with multidisciplinary teams is a challenge to maintain constant growth, without wasting time on what is unnecessary.
When organizations grow at exponential rates, they try to fight chaos by increasing bureaucracy, creating silos, and destroying the unique aspects that made them successful in the first place.
Here is the outcome: uninspiring workplaces where people are bored, uninspired, and uninvolved.
And that’s exactly the opposite that should happen when your company decides to build unbeatable squads! But how to meet this challenge?
Still using Spotify as inspiration, look at what they preach as the foundations that support the mission of this innovative methodology:
Align groups of discussion to get better results
In a small startup, it’s relatively easy to align all employees on the direction of the company through daily interaction with leaders, joint discussions about the direction of the company, or the fact that everyone can clearly see their personal contribution to the entire operation.
But when organizations start to grow, alignment with the organization’s vision and purpose can be lost. Result: employees don’t know where they are going and lose sight of what’s important, it’s like playing football without knowing where the goal is!
At Spotify, the company’s vision and purpose are regularly updated and shared with all employees, who are invited to participate in this constructive and innovative dialogue.
Technology as an ally
To ensure that everyone is involved and feels part of the Spotify family, meetings are broadcast to everyone at the same time.
All employees around the world can connect to the meetings and share their questions, wishes, comments, or concerns. They use the power of technology as an alignment and interaction tool.
A balance between culture and skills
At Spotify, they value culture over skills because they believe skills can be learned and trained, but if an employee doesn’t fit the organizational culture, it’s difficult to create a connection.
To be sure of hiring for culture, they begin each recruitment process with an intensive and special cultural interview to make sure there is a proper match between the candidate’s values and the company’s innovative culture.
GitScrum helps you get along with all Squads
GitScrum loves to bring all teams together and offers the best tools to help you reach the best result on time! Find your way to work with your Squad with GitScrum!