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Growing Up Spotify

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Video and slides synchronized, mp3 and slide download available at URL http://bit.ly/1EV4bU6.

Every successful startup has to grow up sooner or later. Spotify is trying to grow up… differently, scaling quickly enough to compete against the biggest, most successful companies in tech without losing their founding spirit, while maintaining a culture where people say what they think and crucial innovations emerge from every corner of the organization. Filmed at qconsf.com.

Simon Marcus is Tribe Lead for Social at Spotify. Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer of The Library Corporation.

Published in: Technology

Growing Up Spotify

  1. 1. Qcon San Francisco 2014 Simon Marcus – Head of People Operations / Tribe Lead for Social @lycaonmarcus #qconsf Growing Up Spotify
  2. 2. InfoQ.com: News & Community Site • 750,000 unique visitors/month • Published in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese) • Post content from our QCon conferences • News 15-20 / week • Articles 3-4 / week • Presentations (videos) 12-15 / week • Interviews 2-3 / week • Books 1 / month Watch the video with slide synchronization on InfoQ.com! http://www.infoq.com/presentations /spotify-evolution
  3. 3. Purpose of QCon - to empower software development by facilitating the spread of knowledge and innovation Strategy - practitioner-driven conference designed for YOU: influencers of change and innovation in your teams - speakers and topics driving the evolution and innovation - connecting and catalyzing the influencers and innovators Highlights - attended by more than 12,000 delegates since 2007 - held in 9 cities worldwide Presented at QCon San Francisco www.qconsf.com
  4. 4. “If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!”
  5. 5. What’s a Startup? ● Seeking a market ● Everyone knows everyone ● Everyone does everything ● Boundaries and Constraints are visible ● Plan in days or weeks
  6. 6. Spotify isn’t a Startup ● 1500 People / 700 in Tech, Product and Design ● 50mm MAU / 20mm DAU ● 5mm Playlists created / edited every day ● 60 Countries ● Plan in months in years
  7. 7. Spotify isn’t a Startup ● Assets, markets and people worth protecting ● You can’t know everyone you rely on ● Boundaries are not visible ● Constraints are not visible ● Planning must happen on longer horizons
  8. 8. Spotify is an adhocracy, and it’s awesome!• Organic organization • Resists formalization / rules / standards • Preference for decentralized decision making • Encourages dissent / consensus seeking • Fluid Roles
  9. 9. A lot of Talking Execution
  10. 10. • Who does what?!? • How do we do… • SO MUCH TALKING • What am I supposed to do? • CAN SOMEONE JUST MAKE A #$%%## DECISION!?!? Spotify is an adhocracy, and it sucks!
  11. 11. • Growing up our org chart • Growing up our strategy • Why’s this all work? Today’s playlist
  12. 12. Growing up Our Org Chart
  13. 13. Organizations which design systems ... are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations – Melvin Conway
  14. 14. Release train, platform design, developer experience Client Infrastructure Social, Search, Browse, Your Music, Discover Feature Squads Provisioning, SRE, Monitoring, GHE IO
  15. 15. • Higher quality • Ship most platforms at least every 3 weeks • More consistent user experience • Better tooling and infrastructure • Feature squads can focus on building awesome features How’s this work? Pros:
  16. 16. • Tyranny of the release train • Loss of autonomy for feature squads • Infra squads can feel like they are stuck being quality gates • IO can find it difficult to ensure they are building what people need How’s this work? Cons:
  17. 17. Tribes, Chapters, Squads and Guilds
  18. 18. Tribe: Squads with a shared purpose
  19. 19. Chapter: Skills team, within a tribe
  20. 20. Squad: Where the work happens
  21. 21. Life in a Squad
  22. 22. Life in a Squad
  23. 23. Teams are Scaling...
  24. 24. Teams are Scaling...
  25. 25. Guild: Community of interest, cross tribes
  26. 26. • High autonomy within tribes / squads • Clear missions within tribes / squads • Healthy tension between delivery and people management • Easy to spin up new parts of the org, model seems to continue to scale well • Initial signs that model can support fast restructuring How’s this work? Pros:
  27. 27. • Hard to get things done across tribes • Squads (tribes) can outlive their usefulness • It can be hard for individuals to move between tribes • The matrix model can diffuse responsibility to an infuriating degree How’s this work? Cons:
  28. 28. Planning and Alignment
  29. 29. • Haphazard guidance from above • Poor deployment of strategy once announced • Low visibility into progress and learning • Little sense of how to influence strategy productively • Lack of understanding of system-wide capacity • Teams don’t know how to apply priorities The wages of autonomy
  30. 30. Alignment Autonomy Awesome?
  31. 31. Alignment Autonomy
  32. 32. Data Insights Beliefs Bets Strategic Thinking DRAFT
  33. 33. Core Beliefs Strategic Bets Priorities Strategic Framework • Informed by everyone • Set By Lead Team • Lifecycle of 12-18 months • Informed by everyone • Set By Lead team and TPD Leadership • Lifecycle of 6-12 months • Informed by beliefs + bets • Set by Tribes + Squads • Lifecycle of 6-12 weeks • Projects and workstreams DRAFT
  34. 34. Strategic Rhythm • Setting a cadence for the company • Regular, structured touch-points for alignment • Autonomy remains inside touch points DRAFT
  35. 35. How we got started Bringing music to the world !@#!@ The Spotify Way Our work spaces Who we hire The roles we have How we have fun The words we use The words we don’t use The tools we use Implicit rules How we act when things go right $ How we grow people How we learn Being Swemerican
  36. 36. How we got started Bringing music to the world !@#!@ The Spotify Way Our work spaces Who we hire The roles we have How we have fun The words we use The words we don’t use The tools we use Implicit rules How we act when things go right $ How we grow people How we learn Being Swemerican
  37. 37. How we got started Bringing music to the world !@#!@ The Spotify Way Our work spaces Who we hire The roles we have How we have fun The words we use The words we don’t use The tools we use Implicit rules How we act when things go right $ How we grow people How we learn Being Swemerican
  38. 38. ● A culture of openness, feedback and even dissent ● Optimized for lots of ideas, personal growth, long term effectiveness… ● Challenged to find better ways of moving faster, learning more, making it easier to get things done. Spotify is growing up, with…
  39. 39. Spotify’s Blog: http://labs.spotify.com/ My Twitter: @lycaonmarcus Feedback: sayat.me/lycaonmarcus Want More?
  40. 40. Watch the video with slide synchronization on InfoQ.com! http://www.infoq.com/presentations/spotify- evolution

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