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Why autonomy is at the heart of agility

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At Spotify we value Autonomy extremely highly, it is one of our core guiding principles. To be truly fast and responsive, we need decisions to be made as close to the actual work as possible. We aim to remove communication overhead and bureaucracy and improve quality and speed of decisions by having people with the right context make them.
We’ll tell you about what Autonomy means to us, and how we as leaders give people the freedom and help they need to perform. Supporting autonomy goes all the way from individual behavior to team coaching to organizational constructs and we will provide several examples of all of this

Published in: Leadership & Management
  • Allowing autonomy and agility unlocks the skills and buy in. This can be adapted in many of our workplaces to enhance growth.
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Why autonomy is at the heart of agility

  1. 1. Why autonomy is at the heart of agility Kristian Lindwall & Cliff Hazell @ixhd@klindwall
  2. 2. How do you build the perfect organisation?
  3. 3. The perfect organisation – a recipe for success
  4. 4. Consistent rapid agile process Accountability matrix Time tracking Centralised working processes
  5. 5. This is based on the following beliefs
  6. 6. People are by nature lazy
  7. 7. Outcomes are predictable
  8. 8. Mistakes and failure are waste and must be avoided at all cost
  9. 9. Managers always know best
  10. 10. ?
  11. 11. Consistent Rapid Agile Process
  12. 12. People are self motivated and want to do great work
  13. 13. Outcomes are not predictable
  14. 14. A safe to fail environment is crucial for an innovative culture
  15. 15. Decisions are best made close to the work in “real time” “When we tell people what to do, we bypass their experience, creativity and Knowledge” - Esther Derby
  16. 16. 80+ teams in 5 sites
  17. 17. High functioning organisation
  18. 18. Autonomía
  19. 19. Alignment Autonomy
  20. 20. Alignment Autonomy Micromanaging organization Indifferent culture Authoritative organization Conformist culture Entrepreneurial organization Chaotic culture Innovative organization Collaborative culture
  21. 21. Autonomous teams. Cool. So what do leaders do?
  22. 22. Leaders foster leadership Support the growth of people and teams Support the org to be autonomous
  23. 23. “Clarity, Conditions and Constraints, are the three levers for creating an environment for leadership at all levels” - Esther Derby
  24. 24. Attend to Clarity Context Stakeholders Expectations Purpose
  25. 25. Clarity vs Detail
  26. 26. BFS (Browse, Feed, Search) Artist Team X Team Y Team Z MUSIC PLAYER TRIBE We help our users find what they are looking for! We connect artists with our users! SPOTIFY We help our users find, save and play music We give the world the right music for every moment CLIENT INFRASTRUCTURE TRIBE We enable feature teams to innovate and iterate lightning fast
  27. 27. Establish Conditions PoliciesStructures
  28. 28. Establishing a learning culture from day 1
  29. 29. A workplace that drives collaboration and the growth of relationships
  30. 30. Design appropriate Constraints ExpectationsBoundaries
  31. 31. Constraints on the team level
  32. 32. Getting some equipment
  33. 33. Story Time
  34. 34. Doing a massive reorg
  35. 35. ? 150 people
  36. 36. How we completely changed the org structure Alliance Mission - Narrative - Feature Ownership - Bets ---------------------- ---------------------- ---------------------- 1 Org Options - Clusters / Groupings - Missions - Metrics 3 How to plan 2-day offsite? 5 Plan offsite Offsite How should we organise? (more detail) 6 7 Proposed structure RFC ---------------------- ---------------------- ---------------------- ---------------------- ---------------------- ---------------------- ? ! 8 ! ? Staffing 9 ½ Day Workshop How should we organise around our mission(s)? - High level 1 2 3 -Stakeholders -Mission -Metrics -Features -Systems Planned, facilitated by coaches + Alliance leads 2 Squads - Discuss - Feedback Get input from squads 4
  37. 37. Staffing
  38. 38. Dealing with team conflict
  39. 39. Wrapping this up...
  40. 40. How do you build the perfect organisation?
  41. 41. How do you build a great organisation? Here is what we believe will take you a long way
  42. 42. To enable autonomy Give people and teams the freedom to do their best work
  43. 43. Walk the Talk
  44. 44. Autonomy is a journey, not a destination.
  45. 45. Attend to Clarity Establish Conditions Design appropriate Constraints
  46. 46. Thank you! Cliff Hazell @ixhd Kristian Lindwall @klindwall

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