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How things still don’t quite work at Spotify... and how we’re trying to solve it

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Cerner Tech Talk version of my Culture and Methods talk. Exploration of key problems with how Spotify currently works to encourage "no problem is a problem" thinking

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How things still don’t quite work at Spotify... and how we’re trying to solve it

  1. 1. How things still don’t quite work at Spotify… and how we’re trying to solve it Jason Yip Agile Coach, Spotify NYC jyip@spotify.com @jchyip https://medium.com/@jchyip, https://jchyip.blogspot.com
  2. 2. One of my favourite Toyota-isms
  3. 3. “No problem is a problem”
  4. 4. In essence, we won’t improve unless we are willing to explore what isn’t working.
  5. 5. I’m not going to talk about what’s great at Spotify
  6. 6. I’m going to talk about what still doesn’t quite work
  7. 7. There is still too much distance between problems and problem-solvers.
  8. 8. AKA distance
  9. 9. Does this structure need to fundamentally change?
  10. 10. There is still too much specialisation.
  11. 11. Larger cross-Tribe / Mission initiatives are still not done well.
  12. 12. Divide and conquer leads to integration problems
  13. 13. Instead, conquer and divide
  14. 14. There is still a tendency to divide and conquer for large cross-Tribe initiatives.
  15. 15. We know this is a problem and even how to solve it. I’m not sure yet how we’ll cross this knowing-doing gap...
  16. 16. There is not enough cross-pollination of ways of working.
  17. 17. Useful variation ‣ Context-specific forces ‣ Experimentation ‣ Reinforces sense of autonomy ‣ Makes onboarding more complicated ‣ More difficult to move between Tribes / Missions Non-useful variation
  18. 18. ‣ Test Driven Development ‣ Conquer and Divide ‣ Evolutionary Architecture ‣ Pair programming Habits difficult to derive on your own
  19. 19. There is no real mechanism to deal with larger organisational architecture issues.
  20. 20. How should one think about all this?
  21. 21. In 2008, I did a Lean study tour in Japan. http://jchyip.blogspot.com/2008/12/japan-lean-study-mission-summary.html
  22. 22. On the 4th day, we met Takeshi Kawabe (ex-Showa Manufacturing) who recalled a lesson from Taiichi Ohno.
  23. 23. “Stop trying to borrow wisdom and think for yourself. Face your difficulties and think and think and think and solve your problems yourself. Suffering and difficulties provide opportunities to become better. Success is never giving up.” Taiichi Ohno
  24. 24. If there is anything fundamental to Spotify Engineering Culture, it’s probably autonomy.
  25. 25. Autonomy means you are free to act.
  26. 26. Autonomy also means you have to face your difficulties and think and think and think and solve problems yourself.
  27. 27. Autonomy means you succeed by never giving up.
  28. 28. What doesn’t quite work at Cerner and how are you trying to solve it?
  29. 29. Thank you for your attention