How to build products the Spotify way!

I am fascinated by the process that went behind building the products that I use every day. Spotify is a company that has an awesome track record of product delivery with over 20 million active users and 5 million and growing paying subscribers. Spotify’s core phases for Product Development are as follows:

  • Think It = figure out what type of product is being built and why.
  • Build It = create a minimum viable product that is ready for real users.
  • Ship It = gradually roll out to 100% of all users, while measuring and improving.
  • Tweak It = Continuously improve the product. This is really an end state; the product stays in Tweak It until it is shut down or reimagined (= back to Think It).

The following chart shows the Risk vs. Time for each phase: RiskVs.Time

As you can see, the “Think It” stage drives down risk at a low cost. You can also see why the “Build It” phase is short as possible (high operating cost and little risk reduction). To gradually reduce operating cost in “Tweak It” reflects that, over time, the product doesn’t need to be updated as much and teams can start moving on to other things.

In addition to their product development process, Spotify also has a unique approach to how they organize their teams into their Goal Focused Squad model. The following video goes over how Spotify organizes their teams:

You can also read more about Spotify’s Product Development process here.

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Zain Abiddin is an Entrepreneur & Product Manager. He is the founder and Product Manager of Chillik Media, a design led software agency based in San Francisco.

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