The Spotify Agile Manifesto

manifestoThis morning I stumbled upon an already ‘old’ article by Joakim Sunden describing the Spotify Agile manifesto. They wrote their own manifesto because in their opinion the original Agile Manifesto wasn’t concrete enough, didn’t really paint an inspiring picture, and wasn’t specific enough to their context. Without judging this reasoning, I can appreciate the effort they’ve taken.

It reminds me of an exercise I often do with new teams: creating a team manifesto. This helps new teams agreeing upon their specific way of working, sharing their values and principles and ensures mutual understanding. The team manifesto can be seen as the personalised team version of the Agile manifesto and can perfectly act as an ‘add-on’ to the original manifesto.

I’ve added the ‘skinny’ version of the Spotify manifesto below, they’ve also refined every principle in more detail with concrete statements, please check the original article for this part.

Agile a la Spotify

Continuous Improvement

At Spotify, part of my work is to look for ways to continuously improve, both personally, and in the wider organisation.

Iterative Development

Spotify believes in short learning cycles, so that we can validate our assumptions as quickly as possible.

Simplicity

Scaling what we do is key to Spotify’s success. Simplicity should be your guidance during scaling. This is as true for our technical solutions, as for our methods of working and organising the organisation.

Trust

At Spotify we trust our people and teams to make informed decisions about the way they work and what they work on.

Servant Leadership

At Spotify managers are focused on coaching, mentorship, and solving impediments rather than telling people what to do.

What Does This Mean for the Spotify Culture?

Besides the described values/principles they also describe in more detail what these statements mean to the Spotify culture. This because their desire was to make the manifesto more concrete and inspiring. For example the Servant Leadership principle, one that I full heartedly  embrace, is detailed in:

  • Decisions are transparent
  • Managers encourage collaboration to solve problems rather than dictating a solution
  • Managers help to address impediments that the squad/chapter cannot solve themselves
  • You have regular one-on-one coaching and mentorship time with your manager
  • People development happens alongside Spotify’s success.

Check the original article for the complete manifesto.