I've come across the so called "Spotify model" several times. Pretty much every organisation I am working with is using it one way or another either as inspiration for their target organisation or as an example of what they would like their IT culture to be like.
Thanks to the brilliant 2-part video posted by Henrik Kniberg, I was able to listen, visualise and truly digest what this engineering culture actually means from a organisational, technological and people/culture point of view.
To this end, I've created the following presentation with the intention to also share my interpretation of their engineering approach.
The Spotify engineering culture empowers its people at many different levels as it provides a very good balance of freedom and structure. It’s open approach towards collaboration, respect and trust, ensures that Squads are align, share knowledge and experiences, thus avoiding common pitfalls –whilst not reducing the amount of innovation.
Their experimental and “fail fast-learn fast-improve fast” culture is an engine for innovation as teams are encouraged to try new ideas out, without being worry of being punished if some of the ideas fail.
Spotify’s decoupled architecture (probably based on Microservices although not explicitly mentioned) is most likely a result of their engineering culture, as opposed to purely driven by technology and/or architectural preferences. Can’t help it but to say it’s Conway's law in action.
This model however, is not for all organisations and many will find it very difficult to adopt. Specially large traditional corporations where the level of politics and bureaucracy is so high that change take ages to occur, shifting to the Spotify way of doing this will be a huge undertaking. For such [traditional] organisations, keeping pace with more innovative companies (those that do succeed in adopting a Spotify like model) will be a struggle. On the flip-size, large organisations that do manage to shift, will be able to benefit from their size and market reach plus the agility, speed and innovation enjoyed by the likes of Spotify. Only time will tell!!.