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  • Writer's pictureGreg Hansen

What Is "Spotify Agile"?

The "Spotify Model" is a variation of Agile Software Development, which emerged in the spring of 2000.

17 software developers, including Martin Fowler, Jim Highsmith, Jon Kern, Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, and Bob Martin met to discuss how they could speed up development in order bring new software to market faster.

Since then, there have been offshoots, variations, and different flavors. Spotify built this "model" based on their requirements and culture. It was later codified by Henrik Kniberg & Anders Ivarsson in October 2012.

"This has come to be known as the “Spotify Model” in the agile world, although it wasn’t actually intended to be a generic framework or “model” at all. it’s just an example of how one company works." – Henrik Kniberg

To this day, Henrik Kniberg still insists that he didn't invent the Spotify model, but only sought to help companies by spreading knowledge.

Key Takeaways

agile > scrum

principles > practices

servant (leaders) > (process) masters

cross pollination > standardization

community > structure

trust > control

failure recovery > failure avoidance

impact > velocity

innovation > predictability (100% predictability means no innovation)

value delivery > plan fulfillment

chaos > bureaucracy

The Good And The Bad

The Spotify model isn't perfect, there are benefits and drawbacks. But overall,

"Rules are a good start, then break them when needed." – Henrik Kniberg

Every organization is different. Every company has different needs. And every team has different people.

Like many things, take the good and what fits while leaving what doesn't fit.

Spotify Engineering Culture (Part 1)

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Spotify Engineering Culture (Part 2)

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Start Innovating Now

You don't have to be perfect or get it right the first time. What matters is that you try and deliver value to your customers with your product or service.

Agile can be fantastic. Or a disaster. The same with Scrum, Kanban, SAFe, or any other framework or methodology. Take a cue from Spotify and start trying to innovate more by worrying less.


Greg Hansen is the CEO of Hans and Company, a software consulting company that builds, integrates, and tests software for companies around the world. He is a recognized mentor for fast-growing technology businesses and has led innovations in public investment companies, venture capital, and growth marketing. You can find him on LinkedIn here.

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