How Spotify Helps Their Engineers Grow - Chris Angove


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How Spotify Helps Their Engineers Grow - Chris Angove

  1. 1. August 20, 2014 Climbing off the Ladder, Before we fall off. How Spotify Helps Their Engineers Grow
  2. 2. 1 Who is this Chris Angove person? Graduated with BS in CS from the University of Michigan Spent 10 years as a C++ Developer Started leading in 2005 (reluctantly) Associate Director of Engineering at Amplify in Brooklyn in 2012 Joined Spotify as a Chapter Lead in 2013 Always been interested in engineering culture and career development
  3. 3. 2 Story begins with my father Worked for 40 years as a machine builder in the automotive world Quickly became a journeyman, but no interest in management I used to see our worlds as different, blue collar vs white collar I am pretty sure I was wrong….
  4. 4. 3 Quick Overview of Spotify
  5. 5. 4
  6. 6. 5 Began with Agile, but process got in the way At beginning process was vital to creating the team As we grow, teams tried to figure out how to remain agile Implement new structure in 2012 Continuously tweaking process
  7. 7. 6 Alignment & Autonomy Henrik Kniberg Alignment Do what I say! Autonomy Do whatever
  8. 8. 7 High Alignment High Autonomy Build a bridge! Micromanaging organization Indifferent culture Entrepreneurial organization Chaotic culture Authoritative organization Conformist culture Innovative organization Collaborative culture We need to cross the river Figure out how! We need to cross the river Low Alignment Low Autonomy Hope someone is working on the river problem… Aligned Autonomy! Henrik Kniberg
  9. 9. 8 Not so original, original idea PO PO PO Tribe Tribe lead PO PO PO PO Tribe Chapter Chapter Tribe lead PO Chapter Chapter Guild
  10. 10. 9 Reality is Messy! PO PO PO Tribe Tribe lead PO PO PO PO Tribe Tribe lead PO Chapter Chapter Guild
  11. 11. 10 Aligned Autonomy - be autonomous, but don’t suboptimize - Spotify’s mission > Squad’s mission Henrik Kniberg
  12. 12. 11 Mutual respect My colleagues are awesome! Ego Henrik Kniberg
  13. 13. 12 All of this focused on structure of the organization What about structure of the career path? The Benefits of the Ladder
  14. 14. 13 Walking the usual path The Linear Ladder
  15. 15. 14 Intern Junior Developer Senior Software Engineer Architect Team Lead Director of Engineering VP of Engineering CTO
  16. 16. 15 It’s familiar since it is common to most organizations The Benefits of the Ladder
  17. 17. 16 Each rung is clearly tied to role and responsibility The Benefits of the Ladder
  18. 18. 17 Path of Career Development is Clear The Benefits of the Ladder
  19. 19. 18 Easy to get Resources The Benefits of the Ladder
  20. 20. 19 Value added to the company is obvious to everyone The Benefits of the Ladder
  21. 21. 20 Explicit path for respect and being recognized for achievements The Benefits of the Ladder
  22. 22. 21 Simplicity sometimes has it’s cost What’s the Danger?
  23. 23. 22 Reality is rarely simple, more often it’s messy What’s wrong with the ladder
  24. 24. 23 We have usually preferred to keep structure flat, only defining positions based on role not seniority What’s wrong with the ladder
  25. 25. 24 The only way to add value is predefined by structure and requires management What’s wrong with the ladder
  26. 26. 25 May not have the skill set or interest for the next level on the ladder What’s wrong with the ladder
  27. 27. 26 No way to try out things, moving down the ladder is difficult What’s wrong with the ladder
  28. 28. 27 Creates a factory to eject people due to limited management positions What’s wrong with the ladder
  29. 29. 28 May promote people beyond their abilities and thus out of the company What’s wrong with the ladder
  30. 30. 29 Ultimately it provides simplicity at the cost of actual career development What’s wrong with the ladder
  31. 31. 30 Assumes plateauing at a specific role is bad and that managers are more valuable then individual contributors, but why? What’s wrong with the ladder
  32. 32. 31 There has to be a better way! What’s wrong with the ladder Right?!?!
  33. 33. 32 An increasingly popular approach Multiple Ladders
  34. 34. 33 The Technology Ladder
  35. 35. 34 Creates a technology track to reduce skillset/interest mismatches The Technology Ladder
  36. 36. 35 Clearly sets up easy ways to recognize accomplishments The Technology Ladder
  37. 37. 36 Still very clear routes and roles setup as in linear ladder The Technology Ladder
  38. 38. 37 Familiar and usually the only thing people know, culturally ingrained The Technology Ladder
  39. 39. 38 But…. The Technology Ladder
  40. 40. 39 Limited as it still sets up explicit expectations and paths that may not accommodate all The Technology Ladder
  41. 41. 40 Usually gets muddled ( The Technology Ladder
  42. 42. 41 Still assumes that the only way to grow is through more responsibility/influence The Technology Ladder
  43. 43. 42 Does not answer how to experiment and switch roles The Technology Ladder
  44. 44. 43 Can be part of the solution and at some scale necessary The Technology Ladder
  45. 45. 44 Spotify is currently exploring but it is challenging, no one size to fit all The Technology Ladder
  46. 46. 45 Career development is hard Optimizing for the right things
  47. 47. 46 What are people looking for with “promotions”? A nonlinear model
  48. 48. 47 Mastery The urge to get better at something A nonlinear model
  49. 49. 48 Autonomy The desire to make our own decisions A nonlinear model
  50. 50. 49 Recognition Recognition and respect for adding value to the company A nonlinear model
  51. 51. 50 Compensation The desire to get paid for the value added to the organization A nonlinear model
  52. 52. 51 The problem is career ladders generally only concentrate on the recognition and compensation A nonlinear model
  53. 53. 52 It’s a blunt tool that may work for many but does leave some behind A nonlinear model
  54. 54. 53 We need to optimize for the best career development not the easiest A nonlinear model
  55. 55. 54 Loops and Add-Ons A non-linear approach
  56. 56. 55 Loops are tools to help direct career development paths A nonlinear model
  57. 57. 56 Employee driven not manager driven A nonlinear model
  58. 58. 57 Non-anonymous peer feedback, manager feedback and self evaluation drives a discussion on direction A nonlinear model
  59. 59. 58 Loops are not tied to salary reviews (but can influence) A nonlinear model
  60. 60. 59 Add-Ons are ways to expand your existing role A nonlinear model
  61. 61. 60 A nonlinear model
  62. 62. 61 Roles defined by institutional need, not career advancement A nonlinear model
  63. 63. 62 Moving to management is not a promotion A nonlinear model
  64. 64. 63 Add-ons add both personal as well as business value A nonlinear model
  65. 65. 64 Interest and skill-set define which add-on the individual contributor chooses A nonlinear model
  66. 66. 65 It is engineer driven but supported by the company A nonlinear model Manager works with the engineer Trainings, sessions, workshops provided as needed Time off to participate in events approved
  67. 67. 66 Driving forces: A nonlinear model
  68. 68. 67 Do things; tell people A nonlinear model You’re doing cool stuff that others would benefit from hearing about You’re passionate about something and you’d like to see more of it You’d like recognition for your efforts
  69. 69. 68 Try Something New A nonlinear model Work is great but getting a little bored You’d like to try something new, but not stop what you are doing Not sure you want to risk switching roles completely
  70. 70. 69 Get out of the Comfort Zone A nonlinear model You’d like to acquire new skills You need to push yourself in a new direction Shake things up to see what latent skills are there
  71. 71. 70 Employee chooses add-ons or creates a new one: A nonlinear model Define Goal Define Success Metrics Define Help Needed
  72. 72. 71 A Few Examples A nonlinear model Speaker Trainer Coach Mentor Writer Architect Evangelist Road Manager Open Sourcer
  73. 73. 72 This is a work in progress A nonlinear model Testing our hypothesis now Initial steps in 2013 were a bit slow to adopt But we’re refining, check back with us soon!
  74. 74. 73 This is not solved we need to innovate Yes this is a call to action! Email me What are your ideas?
  75. 75. 74 Check out or @Spotifyjobs for more information. Want to join the band?