I watched this video about the Spotify Engineering culture last year, and BOOM, my mind just exploded. I fell completely in love with Spotify and its culture. It explains Spotify Product Development, their release methodology, and the frameworks they use. Spotify is a 100%-Agile company that started with the Scrum framework, but as their teams were growing, they noticed some things on the Scrum framework that weren’t working well for them. So, they decided to break some Scrum roles, artifacts, and events. These things were getting in the way, so they decided to make the Scrum roles, artifacts, and events optional.
“Rules are a good start, then break them”
Spotify engineers figured out that Agile matters more than Scrum, and principles matter more than any specific practices. Spotify renamed the Scrum Master to Agile Coach because they wanted “servant leaders” more than “process masters.” They also renamed Scrum team to Squads.
It’s a small cross-functional, self-organized team usually with less than eight members. The team members have end-to-end responsibilities, and they work together towards their long-term mission. On Squads the key driver is autonomy.
Each Squad has autonomy to decide what to build, how to build it, and how to work together while building it. However, the Squad needs to be remain aligned with the Squad mission, product strategy, and short-term goals.
“Be autonomous, but don’t sub-optimize!”.
Autonomy provides employees with a sense of collective ownership. They are part of a greater whole, active (rather than passive) members of the team, “making a positive overall contribution to the organization” — Griffin and Moorhead, 2008 (Organizational Behavior Managing People and Organizations, 2009 Ed).
Trust > control