Spotify engineering culture notes

Standard

Agile

  • Scrum gave them a team-based culture starting point
  • It didn't scale for several teams so they made Scrum optional, but continued embracing Agile principles.

Team configuration

  • Are around 8 and have end-to-end responsibility for the stuff they build (design, code, commit, deploy, maintain, devops) and full autonomy to do it.
  • They have a mission/vision and short-term goals that are renegotiated every quarter.
  • Area: work zone with adjustable desks, lounge zone for planning sessions and retrospectives with whiteboards (kanban, brainstorming) another room for small meetings.

Autonomy

  • Leads to motivation which leads to build better stuff
  • Leads to be faster, working locally, avoiding managers and intermediators
  • Minimize dependencism and over-coordination, improve scale-out
  • Continuous delivery based on small, easy releases based heavily on automated tests

Goals

  • Teams' mission needs to be aligned with the core strategy of the company
  • Teams need to be loosely coupled but tightly aligned

Alignment vs Autonomy

align-autonomy

Leadership

  • Leader must communicate what needs to be solved and why (mission), but not how
  • Teams must coordinate to solve it

Coordination

  • Everyone can change others code even in different teams but must pass through peer code reviewing
  • Design guidelines and code standards reduce engineering friction but not too strict

Team building

  • Built around talent
  • Keep the motivation high
  • Trust > Control

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