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Enabling Autonomy at Spotify

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Presentation for AgileCamp NY Metro 2016

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Enabling Autonomy at Spotify

  1. 1. Enabling Autonomy at Spotify Jason Yip Agile Coach, Monetization Tribe, Spotify NYC jyip@spotify.com @jchyip https://jchyip.blogspot.com https://medium.com/@jchyip
  2. 2. What do you mean when you say “autonomy”?
  3. 3. Autonomy means the freedom to do what you feel like.
  4. 4. Autonomy means the freedom to do what you feel like. Psychologically shallow
  5. 5. Autonomy means the freedom to do what you feel like.Devoid of meaning andshared identity Psychologically shallow
  6. 6. Autonomy means the freedom to do what you feel like.Devoid of meaning andshared identity Probably leads to depression Psychologically shallow
  7. 7. Autonomy means feeling free to act, with all your capabilities, to contribute toward a collective outcome.
  8. 8. Autonomy means feeling free to act, with all your capabilities, to contribute toward a collective outcome. Psychologically strong
  9. 9. Autonomy means feeling free to act, with all your capabilities, to contribute toward a collective outcome.Contributes to a sense of capability and self-efficacy Psychologically strong
  10. 10. Okay, I accept your definition of autonomy. How might I support it?
  11. 11. http://blog.crisp.se/2016/08/23/henrikkniberg/alignment-at-scale-agile-africa-keynote
  12. 12. What do you mean when you say “alignment”?
  13. 13. Alignment = Intent + rationale + constraints Intent: What Rationale: Why Constraints: Any restrictions on How
  14. 14. Alignment = Intent + rationale + constraints Intent: We need to cross the river Rationale: There is more food on the other side Constraints: Please don’t kill any beavers
  15. 15. What does Spotify do to enable alignment?
  16. 16. Company Beliefs Our World Our Platform Our Company Our Teams Top-level rationale
  17. 17. North Star + 2 Year Goals Our World Our Platform Our Company Our Teams Top-level intent
  18. 18. Company Bets (rank, WIP limit) Sponsor, Road Manager, Key Stakeholders, Summary, DIBB (Data Insights, Beliefs, Bets), Impact, Investment, Staffing, Dependencies Intent, rationale, constraints
  19. 19. Tribe Bets Varies Intent, rationale, constraints
  20. 20. Squad Missions and Roadmaps Varies Intent, rationale, constraints
  21. 21. TPD leadership Tribe TPD leads Company Beliefs North Star / 2 Year Goals Company Bets
  22. 22. TPD leadership Tribe TPD leads Company Beliefs North Star / 2 Year Goals Company Bets Strategy Days TPD Alignment Taps Other Tribe / Squad sessions vary
  23. 23. So that’s all I need to enable autonomy?
  24. 24. Well, no.
  25. 25. Alignment is not enough to enable autonomy.
  26. 26. http://www.davidmarquet.com/our-story/
  27. 27. Autonomy is enabled by Alignment AND Competence
  28. 28. What do you mean when you say “competence”?
  29. 29. Essentially, I trust that 1. You will decide things in a similar way to how I would 2. You have similar or better skill to do the work
  30. 30. Competence means shared work beliefs AND technical excellence
  31. 31. What does Spotify do to enable competence?
  32. 32. Engineering Core Beliefs ‣ Speed of learning and execution lead us to create a best in class product ‣ The fewer technologies we are world class on, the faster we get ‣ Shorter iterations yield faster learning, quicker value and higher quality ‣ Small empowered cross-functional teams is the foundation of fast paced product development and innovation ‣ Strong teams always beat rock stars ‣ Your ability to learn and adapt is more important than your knowledge, merit and experience
  33. 33. “Get off to a flying start with backend development by following our step-by-step Golden Path tutorials: they'll show you how to develop, build, provision, deploy, test, and monitor a backend service in our production environment. These tutorials are designed to get new employees, boot camp squads – indeed anyone who is new to backend development at Spotify – to get up to speed, fast!”
  34. 34. “The Chapter Lead is the line manager for his or her chapter members, with all the traditional responsibilities such as developing people, setting salaries, etc”
  35. 35. Not just TPD
  36. 36. ‣ #tech-excellence ‣ #fearless-development Slack channels and unconferences
  37. 37. So Spotify is really good at enabling autonomy?
  38. 38. Autonomy is a strong belief at Spotify… but...
  39. 39. Let’s say it’s a work in progress Zombie projects Looser than I’d like on technical habits Not a strong tradition of technically-orientedcoaches Experience skews toward the young side TPD / Business gap Ability to absorb rapid growth rate
  40. 40. So, that’s all I need to enable autonomy?
  41. 41. First, don’t just copy.
  42. 42. Think for yourself.
  43. 43. We are after all talking about enabling autonomy.
  44. 44. Principles are probably generalisable.
  45. 45. Autonomy means feeling free to act, with all your capabilities, to contribute toward a collective outcome.
  46. 46. Autonomy is enabled by Alignment AND Competence
  47. 47. Alignment = Intent + rationale + boundaries Intent: What Rationale: Why Boundaries: Any restrictions on How
  48. 48. Competence means shared work beliefs AND technical excellence
  49. 49. Beyond principles, you’ll need to experiment with the specific mechanisms.
  50. 50. Who are you again?
  51. 51. Who was that guy? ‣ Jason Yip ‣ Agile Coach at Spotify since Feb 2015 ‣ Previously Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks (started in February 2001) ‣ First encountered Extreme Programming in 1998
  52. 52. My question to the audience: What do you do to enable autonomy?

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