Spotify Guilds: When the Value Increases Engagement, Engagement Increases the Value
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionCommunications of the ACM, 63, (3), 56-61. 10.1145/3343146
With the increasing popularity of agile development and team-oriented practices, bottom-up coordination structures have found their ways into software companies, first changing the small companies and now revolutionizing large-scale development projects and programs. One of the ways to enable bottom-up coordination is through cultivation of communities of practice. Existing research has demonstrated that successful implementation of communities of practice depends on organizational support, mutual engagement and regular interaction. Engagement is said to increase, when a community creates value for the organization and individual community members, while increased engagement is further associated with the ability to create more value. However, little is known about how to ensure member engagement in large-scale environments covering many sites and thousands of developers. In this article, we report our findings from studying member engagement in large-scale distributed communities of practice at Spotify called guilds. We report the perceived value guilds provide on individual and organizational level and discuss what hinders and what stimulates mutual engagement and value creation across time and space.