There are a lot of useful methods of managing the workflow; the Kanban Method is one of the most
popular and effective ones. Using the Agile scaling method could be really useful for a company like
Spotify, with its over 1,600 employees. In fact, it is not a method that can be easily implied in every
company, as it requires a shift in thinking in regard to the whole idea of your business, and your
relationship with coworkers. Squads, Tribes, Chapters, and Guilds are fascinating examples of Spotify’s
Spotify’s Past With Scrum
Spotify was launched in 2008 when its first music player was launched to the public, and then it used
the Scrum method to manage its employees. In time, when Spotify gained more fans and became more
popular, the company decided to make the Scrum practices daily.
A Squad – The Smallest Unit
A Squad is the smallest group of people, which is no bigger than 8 members. They are responsible for
one key area, such as for example operations, design, or tests. The Squad members have end-to-end
responsibility and the team has one long-term task at a time. The freedom of their choices and decisions
is limited by the company’s mission and by-product strategy. The workplace is prepared to make the
Squad’s work the most effective. The whole group works together and they can access their screens
easily; furthermore, all the walls in their office are covered with whiteboards. The Product Owner decides
on the hierarchy of priorities for Squad members
The crucial thing about Spotify’s work is self-rule, which gives people an incentive and a fresh approach
to creating new things. The decision-making process is swift because no one has to wait long for a ruling
from their managers. Everyone who works at Spotify follows the company’s mission and this affects the
strategy of Squads.
Alignment Over Authority
High equality and autonomy give the leaders the opportunity to identify a problem that has to be solved,
and it is the team’s task to make the best solution possible. Squads collaborate with each other and
care about Spotify’s mission.
A Tribe – The Grouped Squads
Squads work on similar tasks, such as solutions for smartphones, tablets, and Apple or Android
software. The common thing in all squads is they all work on mobile versions. This factor makes a few
squads a tribe counting less than 100 people. A Tribe Leader is responsible for managing tasks;
however, is still a member and has to fulfill everyday duties.
A Chapter – The Specialists
Each Squad has professionals which specialize in certain areas. All these people, who have the same
responsibilities in separate Squads, are gathered in a group called a Chapter. Everyone is a member of
both a Squad and Chapter.
A Guild – An Informal Structure
Spotify has a structure that allows employers to gather to their interests, tools, knowledge, etc. People
from any Squad, Tribe, or Chapter can join and leave anytime. A lot of communities exist that have the
power to integrate and share valuable knowledge. A Guild has also a Guild Co-ordinator.
Trust And Failure Policy
Spotify relies on trust more than control. What is more, to improve Spotify’s product mistakes and failures
are a must but everyone has to draw conclusions from them. This kind of approach allows for honing
and decreases fear within the employees to try their ideas.
The Users Of Agile
The ING Group is a banking and financial services corporation that in 2015 implied, as the first bank,
“The ING Way Of Working”. This is based strongly on Agile methodology and they also implied Squads,
Tribes, Chapters, and the Centres Of Expertise. What is more, the Polish e-commerce company Divante
also uses Agile methodology.
Image Credits: https://vimeo.com/85490944 , https://www.slideshare.net/davidpoblador/scaling-operations-at-spotify