Category Archives: Doing Business

Embracing Agile

Spotify, the music-streaming company, exemplifies an experienced adapter. Founded in 2006, the company was agile from birth, and its entire business model, from product development to marketing and general management, is geared to deliver better customer experiences through agile innovation. But senior leaders no longer dictate specific practices; on the contrary, they encourage experimentation and flexibility as long as changes are consistent with agile principles and can be shown to improve outcomes. As a result, practices vary across the company’s 70 “squads” (Spotify’s name for agile innovation teams) and its “chapters” (the company term for functional competencies such as user interface development and quality testing). Although nearly every squad consists of a small cross-functional team and uses some form of visual progress tracking, ranked priorities, adaptive planning, and brainstorming sessions on how to improve the work process, many teams omit the “burndown” charts (which show work performed and work remaining) that are a common feature of agile teams. Nor do they always measure velocity, keep progress reports, or employ the same techniques for estimating the time required for a given task. These squads have tested their modifications and found that they improve results.

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Digital video is an area Nair would like to see Balaji grow into

The future can well be this: 10 million people are willing to pay you $2 for 26 episodes of a top-quality show. That’s Rs.120 crore. Even if you split that, it’s a good amount. At this point, it all sounds like we are smoking something but Netflix has already done it”

So digital video is an area Nair would like to see Balaji grow into, over the next two-three years. He is also looking at sports programming through ownership of a team, perhaps in kabaddi or football. “Creating programming surrounding alternative sports could be an option too,” he says, adding that there is no concrete plan yet. “We are going to look to collaborate now. We have got our strengths but we want to do more things. We want to grow the company—grow it tenfold, for argument’s sake,” he says.

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