In 2014 Henrik Kniberg posted an article describing how a small music player company in Sweden organized some of their development teams. It’s a nice article describing how Spotify was organizing at the time. The names Spotify came up with for the various dimensions of the organizational structure are cute – “Tribes,” “Guilds,” “Chapters.” Somehow, however, this interesting anecdote became a rigid prescription that many large corporate IT organizations thoughtlessly copy, often (mis)guided by one of several large consultancies who flog the Spotify model as a key component of their clients’ Agile org design. In many cases, these consulting charlatans even mis-identify the Spotify model as a “methodology,” further inflating expectations of its potential value and impact.
Running a meetup group that focuses on agile coaching, software development and design means I get to meet a lot of people from a lot of different companies. As is normal in these interactions we tend to talk about work and how things are going for one another. By far the biggest discussion point tends to be about how companies are pivoting towards agile adoption, or as we all like to call it now ‘Agile Transformation.’