Spotify stays successful using Agile Methods

“A scenario where Agile would have a positive impact is the development of a competing product of Microsoft Word”

The example mentioned above caught my attention. It reminds me how Spotify stays successful by using agile methods. Since its inception, Spotify has imbibed agile practices in its culture and work environment.

Spotify’s Structure:

It employs 1500 people globally, and half of them work on the actual project. The smallest organizational unit comprises of 7-9 people as is called a squad. The business has about 80 squads in total. A squad has a long-term goal, is self-organized and multi-functional. Each squad has all the tools they need to work efficiently, and the squad owner ensures that the product vision is in alignment with the squad.  A collection of squads in a business location makes up a tribe. A tribe usually spans over 50-150 people with a dedicated team lead. There are regular meetings to keep everything on the track.Chapters are people with similar skills and do same work. A squad aims to go from an idea to a final product where chapters provide support for people within squads. The figure below depicts the Spotify structure (Lindwall, 2015).



Lindwall (2015) states “Basically, we apply the different ideas of agile to the different levels of the organization. Looking at the entire organizational system is the TPD Operations team, whose purpose is to help to improve everything and highlight and eliminate waste wherever we produce it. Every couple of months, representatives of the tribes and different parts of the organization meet for a few days to discuss strategy and long-term planning. By this time, we have gathered everybody’s point of view. Additionally, the CEO and other senior leaders will participate in these “strategy days,” offering their input.This is one of the ways in which we create alignment and agreement on the priorities and mission for the business going forward. These priorities are then brought back to the tribes, which then figure out what contribution they can give.”

At Spotify, they do not strictly follow Scrum from the textbook where a product owner has rights over the agenda and is in charge of providing answers. Instead, the team members are encouraged to participate and show involvement to ensure everything is on track. The entire team is accountable and also shares decision making. Spotify faces competition which is increasing significantly. The primary focus of the company is to customers. Spotify stays close to the customers and keeps carrying out user testing and research with an emphasis on data analysis. Spotify believes it is in a good position because of its closeness with the users of the system. A delivery loop is continuous where a feature developed is released of around 1000 people, and customer reviews are considered and changes are incorporated.

“At Spotify, we walk the talk. We live lean and agile values, which are at the core of our success as an organization. We push decision making as close to where work happens as possible; we remove politics, bureaucracy, and waste whenever they appear; and we keep as close as we can to the user (Lindwall, 2015).”


Lindwall, K. (2015) How music streaming giant Spotify stays successful. Available at: http://planet-lean.com/how-music-streaming-giant-spotify-stays-successful (Accessed: 10 September 2017)


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