There has been much talk about the use of an Agile framework in the modern workplace. We’ll explain more about what Agile is in a moment, but we’re here mainly to touch on the significance of what has become known as ‘Spotify Agile’. Despite former employers claiming there is no specific Spotify Agile, the music streaming service uses a particular method of Agile working that it introduced some years ago, which has become so known. Let’s talk first about what Agile is and why it has become so important.
What is Agile?
Agile is a method of product development adopted by many companies. It removes the old management hierarchy structure and uses an altered corporate structure and culture. This utilizes the creation of small teams – ‘scrums’ – in which the individuals play an equally important part.
However, the team structure is less defined than in a standard corporate layout. Each team member is empowered to provide ideas and come up with improvements that add to the project. The result is a workforce that is given a sense of importance, can change and amend its route quickly, and that can deliver to the customer faster than in the usual method of working.
Agile is explained in very basic form, but we think we have given you the overall idea. Think of it as an ongoing brainstorming session with all suggestions treated with the same level of importance and not limited by the old-fashioned management structure we are all so used to.
So, Agile is a completely new way of developing a product or service and has been adopted by many businesses. Spotify uses one shaped to its own needs, which became known as ‘Spotify Agile’. Let’s have a look at it.
What is Spotify Agile?
A later part of this article will briefly talk about how Dutch banking giant ING improves on Spotify Agile but first, let’s talk about this method. Every Agile framework uses the same concept, but many companies amend the idea to fit. That’s what Spotify did when it introduced Agile working in 2012.
The Spotify Agile method became famous because it was an early one, and it was documented as it developed by those using it. Spotify uses Squads – their version of a scrum – which consists of 6 to 12 people in a cross-border group. Each squad focuses on one feature. It also uses Tribes, which are larger groups that build alignment within the Squads. There are Chapters designed to keep good working practices in place, and Guilds – perhaps the most interesting of all – which are voluntary groups joined by individuals who share the same passion for a subject.
There is more to Spotify Agile than this, but we feel this gives a good idea of the overall intention: to create a more fluid corporate culture that further empowers the individuals and the teams involved.
What are the benefits? Faster development time, more able teams, a greater focus on serving the customer, and enhanced loyalty from the workforce.
The downside is that this Agile method was developed for and within one company, Spotify. While others have copied it, some have found it not workable thanks to differences in their working practices and cultural needs. That’s why ING altered it to fit.
The Significance of ING
The article we linked you to earlier explains in detail what we will put in a few lines. ING took the Spotify model and, realizing it would not simply slot into place in their corporate culture, amended it to fit. What they did was introduce ‘LeSS’. This is an acronym for Large Scale Scrum and is opposed to the smaller Squads used in the Spotify model. The article explains it in detail, and we will leave it here for now, but safe to say that ING has improved on the Spotify model, although once again, it may not work for everyone. To finish, let’s look at the problems encountered in introducing Agile in any business.
The Agile model involves a complete change in corporate culture from the top-down, Whichever form it takes. The management structure needs to be relaxed, and individuals can work on their own and within the team. This means a change that will be difficult for the staff and those on the board, and in the management positions.
Getting past the obstacle that is ‘we’ve always done it this way is the first step, but as many businesses are proving, once Agile is accepted and in place, the changes in corporate culture are very much for the better in terms of working conditions and productivity, and there is doubt that agile has a place in the future of commerce as a whole.