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Organization and
Architecture,
Autonomy and
Accountability
Kevin Goldsmith

VP Engineering - Consumer
@kevingoldsmith
How Spotify
Builds
Products
Kevin Goldsmith

VP Engineering - Consumer
@kevingoldsmith
How Spotify
Builds Products
(Manchester Remix)
Kevin Goldsmith

VP Engineering - Consumer
@kevingoldsmith
Some
Principles
Speed of iteration beats quality of iteration -
optimizing for speed leads to faster learning,
including from failures, and faster learning leads to
higher quality; optimizing for quality is an obstacle
to speed, which undermines learning and slows
down improvements to quality.
Spotify Company Belief
Data >>> Opinion
DATA
VISION
EXPERIMENTSLEARNING
PRODUCT
INFORMS
GUIDES
GENERATES
DRIVES
PROVIDES
Speed without data
means you aren’t learning
Data without speed
means you aren’t learning
fast enough
Autonomous teams
go faster.
How many teams?
>100Teams
>100Teams
autonomous
Autonomous
adjective
au·ton·o·mous - ȯ-ˈtä-nə-məs
(of a country or region) having the freedom to govern itself or control its own affairs.
"the federation included sixteen autonomous republics"
having the freedom to act independently.
"school governors are legally autonomous"
synonyms: self-governing, independent, sovereign, free, self-ruling, self-determining, autarchic; self-sufficient
"an autonomous republic"
Full-Stack Autonomous Teams (Squads)
PO
UX
iOS
Android
K&M
QA
Backend
Agile Coach
Full-Stack Autonomous Teams
PO
UX
iOS
Android
K&M
QA
Backend
Agile Coach
Fully empowered to fulfill their mission
Full-Stack Autonomous Teams
PO
UX
iOS
Android
K&M
QA
Backend
Agile Coach
Collective Responsibility
Full-Stack Autonomous Teams
PO
UX
iOS
Android
K&M
QA
Backend
Agile Coach
Individual Accountability
Full-Stack Autonomous Teams
PO
UX
iOS
Android
K&M
QA
Backend
Agile Coach
No Manager?
Chapter Lead
Chapter Lead
Chapter Lead
Chapter Lead
Product Owner
Agile Coach
Chapter Lead
Chapter Lead
Product Owner
Agile Coach
Chapter Lead
Chapter Lead
POCLAC
Squads
Squads
Squads
Chapter Leads
Squads
Chapters
Tribe Lead
Squads
Chapters
Tribe
Squads
Chapters
Ideal size: 40-150 people
Tribe
Squads
Chapters
Tribe
Squads
Chapters
Product Owner
Tribe
Squads
Chapters
Product Owner
User Experience
Product Area Leads
Design Leads
Trio TrioTrio
Guild
Trio TrioTrio
Alliance
Alliance
Organization Velocity=
Organization Velocity=
Organization VelocityEnables
Velocity is a core value at Spotify
Our organizational model supports ourvalues
Our organizational model supports ourvalues
Not the otherway around
Requirements
ofAutonomy
Autonomy needs communication
Autonomy needs context
Autonomy needs transparency
Autonomy needs trust
If you can’t trust the
people you hire, you are
bad at hiring people.
So
by giving teams context and trust
by giving teams context and trust
and reducing dependencies
on otherteams
by giving teams context and trust
and reducing dependencies
on otherteams
they can make decisions on their own
by giving teams context and trust
and reducing dependencies
on otherteams
they become AUTONOMOUS!
they can make decisions on their own
Autonomous teams don’t have to
synchronize with otherteams as often
or get approval on decisions.
Autonomous teams don’t have to
synchronize with otherteams as often
or get approval on decisions.
They can go faster.
Changeis
constant
“Heisenberg Squads”
I'm not joking here. I can lock a tribe lead in a room and
ask them repeatedly "so what squads do you have", and
not get clear answers. It isn't a case of "it's hard to
collect the information and keep it up to date" – it is a
case of the wave-form of org-quantas not collapsing
into reality until they are observed, and sometimes not
even then. It's Schrödinger's squads, where sometimes
the cat escaped before going in the box and sometimes
the box gets stolen before opened.
Mikael Krantz, Spotify Chief Architect
It is better to solve the problems
created by fluidity rather than
imposing more structure.
It is better to solve the problems
created by fluidity rather than
imposing more structure.
Minimum Viable
Bureaucracy
=Autonomy
=Autonomy Chaos?
=Autonomy Chaos?
How do we prevent
the chaos?
What / Why
What / Why
What / Why
How
What / Why
How
Grow MAU
Simplify Navigation
Investment
Investment
Time
Think it Build it Ship it Tweak it
Investment
Investment
Time
Think it Build it Ship it Tweak it
Investment
Investment
Time
Think it Build it Ship it Tweak it
Investment
Investment
Time
Think it Build it Ship it Tweak it
Paper Prototypes
UI Mockups
User Testing
MVP
Employee
Testing
Gradual
Rollout
A/B Testing
User Testing
Analytics
Validation
A/B Testing
User Testing
Analytics
ValidationBeta

Testing
That is still a lot of full-
stack teams building the
product!
Full-stack autonomous teams
Requires structuring your application in
loosely coupled parts
Microservices!
LoadBallancer
Microservices yay!
Easierto scale based on real-world bottlenecks
Microservices yay!
Easierto test
Microservices yay!
Easierto deploy
Microservices yay!
Easierto monitor
Microservices yay!
Can be versioned independently
Microservices yay!
Are less susceptible to large failures
Microservices boo!
are harderto monitor
Microservices boo!
need good documentation / discoverytools
Microservices boo!
create increased latency
Microservices @ Spotify
Microservices @ Spotify
‣ 810activeservices
Microservices @ Spotify
‣ 810activeservices
‣ ~10Systemspersquad
Microservices @ Spotify
‣ 810activeservices
‣ ~10Systemspersquad
‣ ~1.7Systemsperpersonwithaccessto
productionservers
Microservices @ Spotify
‣ 810activeservices
‣ ~10Systemspersquad
‣ ~1.7Systemsperpersonwithaccessto
productionservers
‣ ~1.15Systemspermemberof
Technology
Microservices @ Spotify
Microservices @ Spotify
‣ Owned/Operatedbysquads
Microservices @ Spotify
‣ Owned/Operatedbysquads
‣ On-callusuallyownedbychapters
Microservices @ Spotify
‣ Owned/Operatedbysquads
‣ On-callusuallyownedbychapters
‣ Significanttoolingcreatedby
infrastructuretosimplifybuilding/
supporting
Microservices @ Spotify
‣ Owned/Operatedbysquads
‣ On-callusuallyownedbychapters
‣ Significanttoolingcreatedby
infrastructuretosimplifybuilding/
supporting
‣ ArchitectureReviewsencouraged
Microservices @ Spotify
‣ Owned/Operatedbysquads
‣ On-callusuallyownedbychapters
‣ Significanttoolingcreatedby
infrastructuretosimplifybuilding/
supporting
‣ ArchitectureReviewsencouraged
‣ SecurityReviewsrequired
Client
Server
Core Library
Platform Platform Platform Platform
Infrastructure
Server
Core Library
Platform Platform Platform Platform
Infrastructure
Server
Core Library
Platform Platform Platform Platform
Infrastructure
Server
Core Library
Platform Platform Platform Platform
Infrastructure
Server
Core Library
Platform Platform Platform Platform
Infrastructure
Server
Core Library
Platform Platform Platform Platform
Infrastructure
Challenges
Challenges
Synchronization
Challenges
Synchronization
Client UX implementation
Challenges
Synchronization
Client UX implementation depends on
Challenges
Synchronization
Client UX implementation
Core Library Implementation
depends on
Challenges
Synchronization
Client UX implementation
Core Library Implementation
depends on
depends on
Challenges
Synchronization
Client UX implementation
Core Library Implementation
depends on
depends on
Server Implementation
Challenges
Synchronization
Client UX implementation
Core Library Implementation
depends on
depends on
depends onServer Implementation
Challenges
Synchronization
Client UX implementation
Core Library Implementation
depends on
depends on
depends onServer Implementation
Infrastructure Implementation
Server
Core Library
Platform Platform Platform Platform
Infrastructure
Shared Frameworks
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
UI Interface Guidelines
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
Common UI Components
UI Interface Guidelines
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
Common UI Components
UI Interface Guidelines
SharedTesting Frameworks
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release TeamUI Consistency Validation
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
IntegrationTesting
UI Consistency Validation
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
IntegrationTesting
App Submittal
UI Consistency Validation
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
Shared DevelopmentTree
Shared Frameworks
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
FeatureTeam
App Release Team
Shared DevelopmentTree
Best Practice Sharing
Shipping @
speed
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Development Stabilization
Beta 1 Beta 2
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Development Stabilization
Beta 1 Beta 2
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Development Stabilization
Beta 1 Beta 2
Release
Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Stabilization
Beta 1 Beta 2
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 We
Development Sta
Beta 1 Bet
4 Weeks
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Development Stabilization
Beta 1 Beta 2
Release
Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Stabilization
Beta 1 Beta 2
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 We
Development Sta
Beta 1 Bet
4 Weeks
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Development Stabilization
Beta 1 Beta 2
Release
Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Stabilization
Beta 1 Beta 2
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 We
Development Sta
Beta 1 Bet
12 releases / year
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Wee
Development
Week 4
Stabilization
Release
3 Weeks 3 Weeks3 Weeks
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Wee
Development
Week 4
Stabilization
Release
3 Weeks 3 Weeks3 Weeks
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Wee
Development
Week 4
Stabilization
Release
17 releases / year
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 We
Development St
Be
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 We
Development St
Be
2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 We
Development St
Be
2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Development Stabilization
Beta
Release
Week 1 Week 2 We
Development St
Be
2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks 2 Weeks
26 releases / year
Whatdoesn’t
workwell?
Big Projects
Big Projects
‣ Autonomousteamsmakescoordination
difficult
Big Projects
‣ Autonomousteamsmakescoordination
difficult
‣ Nofull-timeprojectmanagersin
technologyorganization
Big Projects
‣ Autonomousteamsmakescoordination
difficult
‣ Nofull-timeprojectmanagersin
technologyorganization
‣ Veryunevenexecutionrecord
Big Projects
‣ Autonomousteamsmakescoordination
difficult
‣ Nofull-timeprojectmanagersin
technologyorganization
‣ Veryunevenexecutionrecord
‣ Gotintosomebadanti-patterns
Growing Senior Leaders
Growing Senior Leaders
‣ Tribeleadshavepeoplemanagement,
strategyanddeliveryresponsibility
Growing Senior Leaders
‣ Tribeleadshavepeoplemanagement,
strategyanddeliveryresponsibility
‣ ChapterLeadshavepeople
managementresponsibilityandoperate
inhighlyconsensus-driventeams
Resource Efficiency
Resource Efficiency
‣ Autonomousteamsareresourcehungry
becausetheyneedtobeself-sufficient
Resource Efficiency
‣ Autonomousteamsareresourcehungry
becausetheyneedtobeself-sufficient
‣ Teamscangetfocusedonimproving
thingswithintheirsphereofcontrol,
ignoringlargerissues
So…
So…
‣ Wewanttolearnfasterthanourcompetition
So…
‣ Wewanttolearnfasterthanourcompetition
‣ Usingdatatovalidateourideashelpsusmakegooddecisionswhilegoingfast
So…
‣ Wewanttolearnfasterthanourcompetition
‣ Usingdatatovalidateourideashelpsusmakegooddecisionswhilegoingfast
‣ Autonomousteamshelpusgofaster
So…
‣ Wewanttolearnfasterthanourcompetition
‣ Usingdatatovalidateourideashelpsusmakegooddecisionswhilegoingfast
‣ Autonomousteamshelpusgofaster
‣ Looselycoupledarchitectureshelpautonomousteamsworkwithoutcoordination
bottlenecks
So…
‣ Wewanttolearnfasterthanourcompetition
‣ Usingdatatovalidateourideashelpsusmakegooddecisionswhilegoingfast
‣ Autonomousteamshelpusgofaster
‣ Looselycoupledarchitectureshelpautonomousteamsworkwithoutcoordination
bottlenecks
‣ Reducingtimebetweenreleasesincreaseslearningopportunities
Questions?
twitter: @kevingoldsmith

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