Improving digital team productivity at Spotify

Yafaa Ahres

Learn about the challenges of improving productivity for your internal teams – and how music streaming business Spotify raised the tempo of its digital product design and delivery workflows.

Increasing your business efficiency and team productivity will typically be among the key anticipated benefits of digital transformation in your organisation – alongside outcomes such as cost reduction, increasing revenue and providing better customer experiences.

Taking productivity to the next level

Working with an expert digital consultancy can enable you to raise productivity in the workplace and beyond. New digital processes, services and collaboration tools help your people be more empowered and engaged. You can build a digital business culture combining people, technology, and best practice. Moving forward, you can increase efficiency, improve performance and enhance the working environment for your employees.

For a more collaborative organisation, you need to equip your people with the right digital processes and tools. You can consolidate data silos, and enable alignment and cooperation across all your teams. Automation of digitised tasks makes processes run faster and more efficiently, with less stress on employees.

Digitising your processes for new efficiency

Digitising a business process is about more than just ‘going paperless’ or communicating with your team online. It means applying the capabilities of digital technology to every aspect of that process – and how it serves the user or customer.

Your digital consultancy can help you put customer-centricity and user-focus at the heart of how you reimagine your processes for digital. You can rethink how to benefit the user and then realign the value delivery processes with technology – to answer user needs in the most productive way.

Accelerating your digital product delivery

A consultancy can help your organisation increase efficiency and productivity across your product delivery workflows and operations, using agile development and design methodologies.

Boosting productivity is important for improving your product development – with new tooling and processes emerging and evolving to help. Productivity can be a complicated area to navigate, whether defining, measuring, or looking to improve – but it is a vital area of focus for any company with product delivery operations.

Your consultancy can help you identify and overcome the bottlenecks and blockers in your workflows – conducting user interviews and workshops to identify causes of congestion that may be hindering productivity.

Productivity transformation in action at Spotify

Even the most cutting-edge tech companies face familiar challenges when it comes to managing teams effectively – as Spotify recently experienced.

Spotify is the world’s largest streaming music provider. Its services are available on a wide range of platforms, including Apple's iOS and MacOS, Android, Windows, web, smart TVs and in-car entertainment systems. To ensure a great customer experience across all these platforms, Spotify has a dedicated design team of over 350 people to implement, maintain and continuously improve the design of its products.

Redesigning workflows to improve productivity and quality

Spotify is respected across the global creative community for the quality and consistency of its digital design. The company’s Design Platform leadership is tasked with improving the way internal design teams work – to continuously push the quality and speed of design execution.

Spotify recently initiated a business-wide review of its design work processes to improve productivity. The business needed an in-depth understanding of workflows – to remove bottlenecks for designers, while enhancing productivity and the working experience.

 They engaged London-based digital product consultancy Elsewhen as a strategic partner to review design workflows – and recommend changes to support Spotify’s objectives and key results (OKRs).

Understanding work processes to enable improvement

During the project, Elsewhen embedded its people into the Spotify design teams – to gain a deep understanding of their real-world processes and how to improve these. Our activity was focused in four main areas.

  • User research: We conducted interviews with Spotify team members to gain first-hand insight into user needs and working processes. 

  • Process mapping: We mapped out the current product design workflows, and visualised the findings – as a basis for discussion and identification of opportunities.

  • Service design: We then proposed enhancements to methods, tooling and workflows. All our work was delivered as live and interactive artefacts – captured in Figma, Miro and other collaborative tools.

  • Rapid prototyping: We created digital prototypes to test ideas for improvements in the design workflow. Moving from static mock-ups to clickable prototypes helped the team gain invaluable user feedback. It equipped Spotify with tested ideas ready for further development.

Defining a blueprint for service design transformation

The new service blueprint was a key output of the project. This illustrated the workflow across people, systems and processes – and the areas where research showed opportunities for improvement. 

We approached this from a data-driven perspective, specifying metrics to track areas for improvement – and make sure that all opportunities for positive change were backed by meaningful data evidence.

With this aim, we augmented the blueprint with an outline of the data flow through the process – and the metrics to focus on at each step.

Enhancing employee experience and team efficiency

Our research and recommendations enabled meaningful change to help Spotify meet its OKRs. It helped the Design Platform team to support Spotify’s target of enhancing employee effectiveness.

To share the benefits more widely, in 2021 Spotify and Elsewhen jointly released a public-domain version of the Spotify Design Productivity Blueprint to the global design community. This diagnostic toolkit includes workshops, interview templates, and a productivity canvas, to help communicate findings and needs to the organisation. By mid-2022, it had been downloaded by more than 6,000 Figma community members worldwide.

As Spotify’s Design Team concluded: “Empowering teams and individuals to do their best work is an ongoing concern for Spotify. With that in mind, we worked in partnership with digital product consultancy Elsewhen to measure – and ultimately evaluate and improve – designer productivity. Being removed from the organisational day-to-day, and with deep experience in resolving similar challenges for other companies, they were ideally placed to objectively engage with workflow issues.”

Explore our case study to learn more

Find out more about how Elsewhen helped music streaming leader Spotify improve team productivity.

Read the case study

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