September 11, 2023
min read
People & Culture

The Power of Spotify Squads

Among the other many reasons it's known around the world, Spotify became hugely popular in the Teal community after releasing a two-part video series on their unique way of structuring their engineering team.

It focused on autonomy, trust, and speed.

The Corporate Rebels also wrote an article detailing each key piece of the structure.

While it's always best for organizations to think about their own needs and preferences when deciding how to organize, seeing how other companies do things can inspire us and give a good starting point.

So, in case you wanted to try designing your organization similar to how Spotify's engineering culture was, we will show you how to set this up in Holaspirit.

Spotify's Structure

To get started, we first need to understand the basic components of their structure. Rather than roles and circles, which you would see in Holacracy, Spotify's engineering department structured with the following pieces:

  • Squad: A small groups of people who have all the skills needed to completely fulfill one specific aspect of the work. Akin to a team.
  • Tribe: A group of a few squads who all work on a single piece of the organization. Akin to a department.
  • Chapters: Every member of a tribe, each on different squads, who does the same task. For example, the product tester of each squad in Tribe A would share a chapter. Each chapter is lead by a line manager.
  • Guild: Any number of people across any number of tribes who are interested in a specific topic, such as shared interests and hobbies. Anyone who is interested can join any guild.

How to build it in Holaspirit

Despite the seemingly complex nature of how Spotify structured itself, it's relatively easy to replicate in Holaspirit. Just follow these steps:

  1. Create 2 circles: Tribes and Guilds
  2. Under Tribes, create a separate sub-circle for each tribe
  3. In each tribe sub-circle, create two additional sub-circles: Squads and Chapters
  4. In each squads sub-circle, create an additional sub-circle for each squad. Add all relevant squad members to each of these circles.
  5. In each chapters sub-circle, create an additional sub-circle for each chapter
  6. In each chapter, change the Team Lead/Link Link role to Line Manager. Add all relevant chapter members to each of these circles.
  7. Under Guilds, create a separate role or sub-circle (as desired) for each guild

That's all there is to it! It will take a lot of time upfront to completely restructure things to match this format, but should be made significantly easier by first adjusting your organization's role templates so that each circle create has only the core roles you desire and that you can easily add additional roles far more easily (such as the line manager for each chapter).

Revolutionize your way of working now!