Spotify model: Agile at scale

spotify model
spotify model

Spotify has created an agile model at scale that has become very popular; it’s named “Spotify model”. Let’s appreciate its principles with this article.

You can watch the agile minute video on the Spotify model:

Don’t apply everything without thinking

Henrik Kniberg and Anders Ivarsson has presented this model in 2012. Now, we can consider that it has changed and it has been updated to optimize the organization on a daily basis.

Henrik has said on infoQ :

It wasn't a refound, but  a continuous flow of little process 
and iterative improvement. We're evolve since 3 months : the way of 
working has evolved in the time.

We will see the very bases because they’re very interesting in each organizations but don’t forget that the agility advice you  to first adapt the method according to context.

There is no sense on fixing the methodology while something look-likes not adapted.

Let’s do Squad (Spotify Model)

The squad in the Spotify Model are teams from 5 to 7 engineers plus one Product Owner totally autonomous ; they work like a startup. In general, we have agile coach to support these squads. You can compare a squad to a feature team that we can see in other methodologies. It’s important to have a multidisciplinary team for each squad.

For Lean Startup worshipers, you could add some people in order to create  a 100% autonomous squads ; as a reminder, a squad must have 10 peoples maximum. This personal advice isn’t in the Spotify model.

Each squad can use the agile methodology or agile related methodology of his choice; we advice to use the more adapted methodology to the need: scrum, kanban, scrumban…

Squad Spotify
Spotify squad dans le modèle Spotify

It’s useful to do a health monitoring of the team in order to improve the non-optimal points. Spotify purpose the practice Squad Health Check model for that.

Chapters in Spotify Model

One person in each squad of the same tribe (we will see this concept later) with the equivalent skills will create together a chapter. This chapter will be important to align the vision of each squad.

Each chapter will come together one hour per week to share the vision; this sharing allow to have a better global consistency.

Chapter Spotify
Chapter in the Spotify model

Tribes in Spotify Model

The tribes are the gathering of many squads from 5 to 8 that work together on a same global theme. We advise to have 80 peoples per squad maximum in order to keep a reasonable sizing.

Tribe Spotify
Tribes in Spotify model

The guilds in Spotify Model

The guilds in Spotify model gather the peoples of the same skills from all over the company to can to share regularly on the practices, the rules…

They will create the non-conference together to align together on the projects, goals and outcomes.


Guild Spotify
Guild dans le modèle Spotify

Spotify Model: a lot of continuous improvement

Spotify would have a real continuous improvement movement in the project. They decide to put a lot of practices:

  • training: to train the team with classic training, BBL, workshop of sharing…
  • questions & answers: the CEO is available for a question/answer session.
  • hack day or hack week: sessions to develop something different that could to improve the company.
  • adds-on: 20% of time of each one is dedicated to improve the context or try new concepts.
  • the post-mortem public: we gather one day to share about one incident. This principle is close to the 5 why to search further the root of the trouble.

Conclusion Spotify Model

To conclude, I hope that this article about Spotify model will help you to create an agile model in your company. Now, the Spotify model has evolved but you can see if each of these practices can improve your organization.

Usefull links:

SAFe vs Spotify
Le modèle Spotify (french)


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About Judicaël Paquet 190 Articles
Judicaël Paquet (agile coach and senior devops) My activities in France and Switzerland: - agile transformation architect - customized agile training - sensitization and manager coaching - agile maturity audits and situations - agile coaching (teams, orga, product owner, scrum master, agile coach) Specialties: scrum, kanban, management 3.0, scalability, lean startup, agile method.