Suddenly the moment came. I was working as a technology director for the Spotify mobile platform department. It was fall 2017. My new manager Tyson wanted to kick off his new leadership team and as part of that we wanted to formulate north star goals, a common practice in a purpose driven company like Spotify. I was expecting the usual stuff from a platform department, around productivity, internal customers, speed and stuff.
And then Ramon, project manager for the ongoing Google cloud migrations, says something like: Google cloud is running on green energy, could we not have a goal around that?
Is this the moment? No one speaks up. Are we ready? Could I finally find a situation where I can make an impact on an issue so important, to the world, and to me personally?
I’m leaving the band, I’m going solo. Thanks for these 6 years Spotify, lots of fun, lots of hard work, so many lovely people, so much done and so much learned. Here’s some of the most important stuff I did, and learned on this tour, which I will bring with me on my new tour, as a contractor, trainer and author.
I joined as an agile coach,
but ended up driving coaches out of the teams,
and managers into the teams: scrum master as manager,
the missing piece in the Spotify model (never but a dream anyway).
The Spotify ‘model’ was presented in 2012 and has stired a lot of interest in the agile community and the software industry in general. In May I was asked to talk about this a the Bay Area Agile Leadership Network meetup in San Francisco (where I at that time was working as an agile coach at the Spotify office): Since 2012 Spotify has continued to grow hectically. How has agile evolved at Spotify since then? Going back in time, and following the latest structural changes makes it clear that the model was never the primary mover: instead a number of core principles and ambitions has worked as constraints on how to grow the most suitable organization for the task, with small enough structure to help but not be in the way: you could call it Minimum Viable Bureaucracy.
Good meetings is very much about achieving deep collaboration. But collaboration is often hard. We go into meetings with different modes, intentions, and expectations. How can we make meetings both more fun and energetic? Surprisingly enough: maybe by being more formalized. Core Protocols Stack helps shaping better meetings. Here’s a workshop you can use to introduce Core Protocols to a team.
Help your team improve by visualizing their way working with the fluent@agile game. With the game you can help a team find out where it is on its agile journey and help it find new ways of both fine tuning and make leaps in their daily agile practices.
Me and Christian Vikström made the game together at Spotify during the spring 2014 when we were coaching and helping team to improve their agile skill sets and processes. We found the model “Agile Fluency™” developed and described by Diana Larsen and James Shore very useful. It’s based on their long experience of helping team grow agile and the different stages both teams and organizations (most) often will go through.
The Pirate Ship is a workshop format that will help you grow amazing teams. It is “speed boat” on steroids. I have now been using it for a number of years, and it’s proven to be a useful and productive format.
One of the best exercises I know of on how to learn and practice User Story slicing techniques is the so called Elephant Carpaccio exercise. To help facilitate the workshop I put together these slides. You can read more about it in this Crisp.se blogpost and access the presentation here.
One of my biggest surprises when I first met the squads I where going to work with at Spotify was that none of them were using User Stories. At first I observed to see their alternative. Unfortunately there was none. I developed this workshop to try to introduce the concept. Read more and get the slides from Crisp.se
Last week i quit my assignment at Spotify. I was there to help and act as a stand-in for Joakim Sundén while he was on paternity leave. I had the pleasure to work closely with the Agile Coach Christian Vikström on Spotify and together we have been coaching the Browse, Growth and Customer Support squads. A was also a member of the tribe management team, and together we did some new interesting stuff.
Spotify is shock full of super smart people, but many of them has not worked there for long, many of them has not worked long at all, teams have been newly formed and are under constant change. Simply put: even Spotify needs a lot of basic agile coaching.
A Lean Canvas hypotheses board based on And then Jeff Gothelfs book, Lean UX. There is was. The magic formula: “We believe FEATURE for PERSONA(S) will achieve OUTCOME. We will know when we see METRIC”. Read more about it at Crisp.se