Learn Organizational Agility from the Spotify Model and Its Lessons to Work Better with Your Team

Learn Organizational Agility

The Spotify Model as an Inspiration

The so-called Spotify Model is widely known as an approach for scaling Agile, focusing on workers’ collaboration in autonomous squads to empower businesses’ productivity. It helped Spotify late in 2011, and many other companies worldwide. Today, the company doesn’t use it fully anymore, but it’s part of their organizational agility. Its author and Agile expert Henri Kniberg gives a lot of lectures on the main characteristics of this model, and how it inspired other companies.

Spotify is famous for its music player which provides limitless music content. It was created in 2008, then it grew large to a company with 1,600 collaborators. They used to utilize the scrum methodology, but after this growth, they jumped to Agile Scaling. Now it has at least 30 agile teams and is present in 3 continents.

Their Agile Scaling Method is not only an example for companies on organizational agility but also a lesson on how to develop a proactive employee mindset.

It’s important to say that there is a difference between being inspired by a company model like this and applying it entirely to your company. For some businesses, the Spotify Model might fit perfectly as a formula. However, we must point that companies are as diverse as people, and each one has its corporate culture. So, before you take this or any other model for a miracle, you should take into consideration that certain models can only promote change if the internal culture changes first.

The Spotify Model is not a technology, framework, or methodology like Scrum, Kanban, and others. Create organizational agility motivating your squads with GitScrum Sprints

Structure of the Spotify Model for Organizational Agility

  • SQUADS is the name given to small (8-people) multidisciplinary teams of this model, which is the form of organization designed to run complete development cycles and promote faster deliveries;
  • PRODUCT OWNER is the squad leader who guides their work and priorities;
  • AUTONOMY is one of the main characteristics of this model since the squads are given quarter goals and freedom on how to design, develop and collaborate to return the results. Companies reduce approvals stages and bureaucracy, delegating more and trusting a greater part of work to specialists;
  • ALIGNMENT is considered the basis for the squads to be prepared to hand results as expected;
  • CHAPTERS are competence areas usually with leaders, like product quality, agile coaching or development;
  • CHAPTER LEAD is a manager who supports the development of a specific product of a competence;
  • TRIBES are multiple squads coordinating or collaborating together on the same project or feature;
  • TRIBE LEADER guides business goals to tribes;
  • GUILDS are communities of volunteers focused on practicing and tests, who interact with squads and tribes.

Create multiple workspaces to manage your squads with GitScrum.

Become Agile with Project Management, being Inspired by the Spotify Model

Build Independent Workspaces and Workboards for your Squads

For your teams to work and collaborate dynamically, they need an appropriate platform, to be able to post requests and their tasks’ progress, exchange information, complete all product feedback loops and reviews. They need to manage their own assignments and update them promptly to their superiors. Meet GitScrum Board, the ideal tool for teamwork.

Encourage Content Collaboration

What’s more worth, money or knowledge? Well, you can probably make a lot more money from knowledge. Do you know how much useful knowledge your team workers store inside their heads? Are they being asked to pull that out? Spotify has a lot to teach on this since they could take advantage of their employees’ cultural diversity. Do you know what’s best? It’s not something expensive or difficult to do. And it makes people feel valued. You can create your company’s collaborative area and ask everyone in your teams to post ideas, references, stories, benchmarking, and anything that can anticipate your research process. Create a collaborative environment with GitScrum Wiki

Stimulate Creativity and Strategic Thinking

Some professionals are supposed to be creative because of their professions – namely designers, publicists, advertising artists, art directors. Creativity in a company does not come exclusively from them, though. Everybody can be creative at some point. Even these professionals who are able to deliver creative ideas faster can be stimulated with techniques to perform even better. In fact, having ideas is not so hard, selecting them and maturing them into a plan, making the appropriate connections according to your business is more challenging. When you allow teams to do creative and strategic brainstorms about products and services, you encourage autonomy, since they develop solutions and bring proposals to managers and superiors. Use GitScrum Mind Mapping, the best tool for creative brainstorms.

Provide Managers Appropriate Monitoring of Projects

Help managers and product owners to get an overview of their team or projects’ activities going on, with fast access to their progress. Leaving information handy makes a total difference for organizational agility.
What you should use is a powerful graphical representation of the uniting waterfall model with the agile methodology that is beneficial for planning and scheduling projects, and that is called Gantt Charts. Meet GitScrum Gantt Charts, the ultimate tool for product owners.

Manage Time, Tracking all Your Activities

Educate all your team leaders, managers, supervisors, coordinators, and even employees to keep time awareness. Make it clear that all tasks must be time measurable, for their own benefit, as well as the companies. Tracking time is the basis for budgeting, team empowering, and everything that impacts your profitability. Meet GitScrum Time Tracking.

Reach Productivity with Autonomy

The Spotify model has shown that autonomy is not incompatible with productivity. To ensure productivity and allow workers to manage their own workload, on the other hand, it’s recommendable that you offer them means to track their tasks and deadlines. Stand by a tool that makes them feel positively challenged to improve constantly and do better each week. Encourage productivity with GitScrum Sprints

GitScrum Sprints - bunnies' run

Motivate and Reward Your Teams

Spotify has investigated their particularities and discovered autonomy and respect for diverse cultures were important motivational aspects for their teams. Each business or region has a different history and profile, but it’s a good perspective for any company to be interested in what matters the most to their teams. Nevertheless, there is a technique that’s being used worldwide successfully to motivate staff, including by the named Silicon Valley giant. It’s called Gamification! It works very well to integrate multicultural teams, especially for your collaborators, but the elderly will also have fun. It consists of motivating and rewarding professional performance improvements, with healthy competitiveness. Meet GitScrum Rock Star Team and see your team rock!

Promote User-focused Innovation

Many companies only seek customer’s and workers’ information after they release products and services. Post selling action is important, but it’s far from enough if you want organizational agility. The Spotify Model inspires us to allow squads to add customer information in all development stages, for constant improvements. For this, tech companies created User Stories, a simple form to send customers’ and collaborators’ requests to developers and designers. Any kind of business can benefit from this functional and effective tool. Drive Customer-based innovation with GitScrum User Stories.

Allow Your Clients to Contribute

Besides your end customers, other extremely important actors to make part of your developing process (of product or service) are your clients or contractors. These persons must be included in several stages of your process. It’s essential to adopt an agile method to assure good communication on their expectations, allow them to access end-customers data and projects’ progress. Allow them to contribute ideas to projects. When they are so involved, you save extra time on phone calls, messages, and emails. Get professional GitScrum White Label with your own brand for agile client service, get a domain and subdomains for your clients!

Denise Maciel

GitScrum copywriter - Marketing & advertising specialist, communicator, artist in spare time.