Spotify Model And Why It Matters In Business

The Spotify Model is an autonomous approach to scaling agile, focusing on culture communication, accountability, and quality. The Spotify model was first recognized in 2012 after Henrik Kniberg, and Anders Ivarsson released a white paper detailing how streaming company Spotify approached agility. Therefore, the Spotify model represents an evolution of agile.

Understanding the Spotify model

While it has become popular in agile development circles, Kniberg stresses that the model is less of a framework and more a unique company philosophy. In other words, the Spotify model simply represents Spotify’s view on scaling agile in a technical and cultural context.

Nevertheless, the model has received praise because it has enabled Spotify to successfully expand and scale agile. It also serves as a more attractive form of embodying cultural change, creating motivated and empowered employees through increased autonomy.

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The seven constituents of the Spotify model

Spotify now has over 30 agile teams spread over four cities in three different time zones. To explain how the company achieved this, consider the following seven constituent parts:

  • Squads. Similar to Scrum teams, a squad is an autonomous and self-organized group of 6 to 12 people. Each squad has a mission and is free to choose which agile methodology it will use – whether that be Kanban, XP, or a combination of both. Each squad has an Agile Coach who improves processes and a Product Owner who clarifies the vision for the feature area. Face to face communication is encouraged and squads have direct contact with stakeholders.
  • Tribes. A tribe is a group of multiple squads working on a related feature. Approximately 100 individuals are ideal, but some tribes may contain as many as 150 individuals. Each tribe has a leader who is responsible for creating the conditions necessary for innovation and productivity.
  • Chapters. These are groups formed by individuals of various squads that exist within tribes. Like tribes, each chapter is led by a manager who supports individual members to achieve personal growth and overcome challenges.
  • Guilds. A guild is an informal group of people from different tribes who share similar knowledge, tools, or practices. Guilds are similar to chapters because they maintain transparency in problem-solving and help keep work in alignment. Guilds are less formal in that anyone interested in joining can do so. But their ability to reach across an organization and exert influence is greater than the ability of chapters.
  • Trio. A trio simply refers to a tribe that has a design, product area, and tribe leader.
  • Alliance. An alliance is formed by three trios. Again, each alliance has a design, product, area, and tribe leader.
  • Chief architect. The individual who defines the architectural vision, guides design and deals with issues that arise from architecture dependency. The chief architect reviews the development of new systems to ensure they avoid common mistakes. Note that the chief architect gives feedback in the form of inputs, but the final decision ultimately lies with the squad building the system.

Benefits of the Spotify model

Two of the more obvious benefits of this model include:

  • Less focus on the process. The Spotify model seeks to empower employees to do the best work they can in whatever way they see fit. With less of an emphasis on rigid ways of working, the organization becomes more flexible, adaptable, and productive.
  • More autonomy. When project teams are given more autonomy, trust and accountability also increase. These values help create an environment where employees are free to share their failures as much as their successes. When a team does fail to deliver, they have a safe space to learn from their mistakes and make the necessary improvements. Spotify as a company progressed through many iterations of the Spotify model in much the same way, improving incrementally and becoming highly successful as a consequence.

Key takeaways

  • The Spotify model helps businesses scale agile with autonomy and purpose with a primary focus on culture and people.
  • The Spotify model is not a framework that can be emulated but more of a company philosophy of best practices. These best practices are underpinned by seven constituent parts: squads, tribes, chapters, guilds, trios, alliances, and chief architects.
  • The Spotify model empowers employees to deliver great results by providing an environment that is conducive to continuous improvement, flexibility, and autonomy.

Connected Agile Frameworks


AIOps is the application of artificial intelligence to IT operations. It has become particularly useful for modern IT management in hybridized, distributed, and dynamic environments. AIOps has become a key operational component of modern digital-based organizations, built around software and algorithms.

Agile Methodology

Agile started as a lightweight development method compared to heavyweight software development, which is the core paradigm of the previous decades of software development. By 2001 the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was born as a set of principles that defined the new paradigm for software development as a continuous iteration. This would also influence the way of doing business.

Agile Project Management

Agile project management (APM) is a strategy that breaks large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. In the APM methodology, each project is completed in small sections – often referred to as iterations. Each iteration is completed according to its project life cycle, beginning with the initial design and progressing to testing and then quality assurance.

Agile Modeling

Agile Modeling (AM) is a methodology for modeling and documenting software-based systems. Agile Modeling is critical to the rapid and continuous delivery of software. It is a collection of values, principles, and practices that guide effective, lightweight software modeling.

Agile Business Analysis

Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA) is certification in the form of guidance and training for business analysts seeking to work in agile environments. To support this shift, AgileBA also helps the business analyst relate Agile projects to a wider organizational mission or strategy. To ensure that analysts have the necessary skills and expertise, AgileBA certification was developed.

Business Model Innovation

Business model innovation is about increasing the success of an organization with existing products and technologies by crafting a compelling value proposition able to propel a new business model to scale up customers and create a lasting competitive advantage. And it all starts by mastering the key customers.

Continuous Innovation

That is a process that requires a continuous feedback loop to develop a valuable product and build a viable business model. Continuous innovation is a mindset where products and services are designed and delivered to tune them around the customers’ problem and not the technical solution of its founders.

Design Sprint

A design sprint is a proven five-day process where critical business questions are answered through speedy design and prototyping, focusing on the end-user. A design sprint starts with a weekly challenge that should finish with a prototype, test at the end, and therefore a lesson learned to be iterated.

Design Thinking

Tim Brown, Executive Chair of IDEO, defined design thinking as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” Therefore, desirability, feasibility, and viability are balanced to solve critical problems.


DevOps refers to a series of practices performed to perform automated software development processes. It is a conjugation of the term “development” and “operations” to emphasize how functions integrate across IT teams. DevOps strategies promote seamless building, testing, and deployment of products. It aims to bridge a gap between development and operations teams to streamline the development altogether.

Dual Track Agile

Product discovery is a critical part of agile methodologies, as its aim is to ensure that products customers love are built. Product discovery involves learning through a raft of methods, including design thinking, lean start-up, and A/B testing to name a few. Dual Track Agile is an agile methodology containing two separate tracks: the “discovery” track and the “delivery” track.

Feature-Driven Development

Feature-Driven Development is a pragmatic software process that is client and architecture-centric. Feature-Driven Development (FDD) is an agile software development model that organizes workflow according to which features need to be developed next.

eXtreme Programming

eXtreme Programming was developed in the late 1990s by Ken Beck, Ron Jeffries, and Ward Cunningham. During this time, the trio was working on the Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System (C3) to help manage the company payroll system. eXtreme Programming (XP) is a software development methodology. It is designed to improve software quality and the ability of software to adapt to changing customer needs.

Lean vs. Agile

The Agile methodology has been primarily thought of for software development (and other business disciplines have also adopted it). Lean thinking is a process improvement technique where teams prioritize the value streams to improve it continuously. Both methodologies look at the customer as the key driver to improvement and waste reduction. Both methodologies look at improvement as something continuous.

Lean Startup

A startup company is a high-tech business that tries to build a scalable business model in tech-driven industries. A startup company usually follows a lean methodology, where continuous innovation, driven by built-in viral loops is the rule. Thus, driving growth and building network effects as a consequence of this strategy.


Kanban is a lean manufacturing framework first developed by Toyota in the late 1940s. The Kanban framework is a means of visualizing work as it moves through identifying potential bottlenecks. It does that through a process called just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing to optimize engineering processes, speed up manufacturing products, and improve the go-to-market strategy.

Rapid Application Development

RAD was first introduced by author and consultant James Martin in 1991. Martin recognized and then took advantage of the endless malleability of software in designing development models. Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a methodology focusing on delivering rapidly through continuous feedback and frequent iterations.

Scaled Agile

Scaled Agile Lean Development (ScALeD) helps businesses discover a balanced approach to agile transition and scaling questions. The ScALed approach helps businesses successfully respond to change. Inspired by a combination of lean and agile values, ScALed is practitioner-based and can be completed through various agile frameworks and practices.

Spotify Model

The Spotify Model is an autonomous approach to scaling agile, focusing on culture communication, accountability, and quality. The Spotify model was first recognized in 2012 after Henrik Kniberg, and Anders Ivarsson released a white paper detailing how streaming company Spotify approached agility. Therefore, the Spotify model represents an evolution of agile.

Test-Driven Development

As the name suggests, TDD is a test-driven technique for delivering high-quality software rapidly and sustainably. It is an iterative approach based on the idea that a failing test should be written before any code for a feature or function is written. Test-Driven Development (TDD) is an approach to software development that relies on very short development cycles.


Timeboxing is a simple yet powerful time-management technique for improving productivity. Timeboxing describes the process of proactively scheduling a block of time to spend on a task in the future. It was first described by author James Martin in a book about agile software development.


Scrum is a methodology co-created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland for effective team collaboration on complex products. Scrum was primarily thought for software development projects to deliver new software capability every 2-4 weeks. It is a sub-group of agile also used in project management to improve startups’ productivity.

Scrum Anti-Patterns

Scrum anti-patterns describe any attractive, easy-to-implement solution that ultimately makes a problem worse. Therefore, these are the practice not to follow to prevent issues from emerging. Some classic examples of scrum anti-patterns comprise absent product owners, pre-assigned tickets (making individuals work in isolation), and discounting retrospectives (where review meetings are not useful to really make improvements).

Scrum At Scale

Scrum at Scale (Scrum@Scale) is a framework that Scrum teams use to address complex problems and deliver high-value products. Scrum at Scale was created through a joint venture between the Scrum Alliance and Scrum Inc. The joint venture was overseen by Jeff Sutherland, a co-creator of Scrum and one of the principal authors of the Agile Manifesto.

Read Also: Business Models Guide, Sumo Logic Business Model, Snowflake

InnovationAgile MethodologyLean StartupBusiness Model

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