Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Mar 26, 2021

This week, Dan Neumann is joined by his co-host, Sam Falco, principal trainer and professional scrum trainer at AgileThought.


Together, they’re exploring a question that was sent in by a listener. They asked Dan and Sam to share their take on “the Spotify Model.” The popularized model was first introduced in 2012 by the whitepaper, “Scaling Agile @ Spotify” and described a “people-driven, autonomous approach for scaling agile that emphasizes the importance of culture and network.”


Often, organizations will look at a successful company and say, “How can we emulate what they do?” rather than, “How can we emulate how they think?” There is a desire to mimic a pattern that another organization created because it fits their context, environment, people, and processes. However, installing the Spotify model can be fraught with danger because you’re not Spotify in 2012.


If you have your own question for the Agile Coaches’ Corner that you want Dan and Sam to answer in a future episode, you can send it in at!


Key Takeaways

Why wouldn’t the Spotify Model work for your organization?

Just because you see somebody do something someplace else, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you — because you’re not them

You shouldn’t look at a successful company and say, “How can we emulate what they do?” but rather, “How can we emulate how they think?” (i.e. “the Spotify Model” worked for Spotify, but will not work for your company — emulating is not likely to bring you success)

The model may not be applicable — and even if it is, there is going to be resistance and additional challenges will be exposed that will need to be addressed

Parallels between how organizations bring in the Spotify Model vs. how they bring in the Scrum framework:

With both, if you don’t do all of the elements, success is less likely

The Scrum framework, however, is a lot easier to adopt (preferably, adopt the Scrum framework and use it to find out what processes work for your organization)

Installing the Spotify Model can be fraught with danger because you’re not Spotify in 2012

You could try implementing some of the Spotify Model’s approaches (but most importantly, make sure it works for your organization)

When it comes to implementing any type of framework or model, the early questions should be: “What do you hope to accomplish? Why do you want to install this model or adopt this framework? What’s not working for you now and how do you think this will fix it?” This way, you can evaluate and measure 

Regardless of what model you’re proposing, think about: What does success look like? Why are you doing it? What is the problem you’re trying to solve?

Tips for adopting any model or framework:

Look at what’s working (and not working) within your own organization and have discussions on what to do next based on this

Adopt an experimental mindset

Be clear about the problem(s) you’re trying to solve as an organization

Be clear about how you’re measuring success

Look at all of the components of whatever you’re trying to adopt and ask, “How will this work here?”, “What will prevent this from happening?”, and “What exists in our current system that is antithetical to these components?”

Approach the question of “Should we adopt _______ model or framework,” with empathy and humility — whatever is being suggested (by whoever it may be) is trying to help the organization; not hurt it

How to ensure that implementation of a model or framework is successful:

Facilitate and make sure that you have all levels of the organization involved

Ask: “How is it that we can maintain our current system and adopt a new system and still be successful?”

Remember: The current system is not going to change overnight

Note: Your journey will not be a straight shot from point A to point B

No matter the model or framework, the organization’s DNA is going to respond in unexpected ways — be prepared for the unexpected

Bureaucracy kills innovation — if you want to be innovative, you need to kill bureaucracy

It can be extremely beneficial to get an outside perspective and bring someone in outside of your organization


Mentioned in this Episode:

The Spotify Model

“Scaling Agile @ Spotify,” by Henrik Kniberg & Anders Ivarsson

Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them, by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 5: “Exploring an Experimental Mindset with Adam Ulery”

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 120: “Build Better Teams with Sam Falco”

The Tuckman Model


Wicked Questions |

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 122: “The Journey of an Agile Transformation with Quincy Jordan”

“Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.” — Norman Kerth
Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Review, by Norman L. Kerth

Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, by Martin Lindstrom


Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on!

Email your thoughts or suggestions to or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!