Leadership and Management

The agile coaches @ Spotifys MBTI, DISC profiles, and perspective bias

(The purpose with this blogpost is to share data about the agile coaches at Spotify.)

Slightly more than a year ago the majority of the agile coaches at Spotify took an MBTI test (most of us took it online). Back then all coaches were distributed among 5 different types. I found that really interesting and  wondered why that was. Were we biased towards certain type? Or were certain types actually better at coaching agile to teams?

Since then we’ve recruited 10 new agile coaches and I’ve been curious about what our current MBTI distribution looks like. Are we still heavy on only a few types? And what about our DISC profiles, perspective biases*, and backgrounds? Could it be that that we favor personality types, behaviour styles, and perspective biases? And do our tribes have different preferences?

I wanted to find the answers to these questions so I surveyed the agile coaches and here’s what I found.

background of agile coaches


DISC profile of agile coaches Perspective biases of agile coaches

bias and mbti

A few conclusions:

The survey also captured tribe belonging and length of employment and we have been able to identify some segration between the tribes, but I won’t go into detail about that.

Myself I’m an ISFJ. My natural DISC profile is High I, mid DSC. I have an “I” perspective bias.

I hope you found this interesting and feel free to reach out to me if you would like to discuss any of this more in detail.

Thanks for reading. :)

* Perspective biases:

  • I – Those with a “I” perspective see everything in the world through a window of the individual and the individual’s internal goings on, at least at first. They are concerned with things like developing peoples leadership potential, including their own, “being agile”, coaching individuals, and the values of behind Agile. Someone with a “I” perspective bias might say, “Agile would be successful if only the managers mindsets evolved into a new state of agile-supporting.”
  • WE – Those with a “WE” perspective see systems of people. They are concerned with things like how groups and whole organizations build shared meaning, enact common values, express diversity and achieve a high performance state. Someone with a “WE” perspective bias might say, “If only we had a true, meaningful corporate vision, the teams would rally around it and nothing would stop them. Then agile would be great!”
  • IT – Those with an “IT” perspective bias are measurers of individual things: a behavior, a team, an engineering practice, or a product’s market share. They want to know if what we’re doing is working. Someone with an “IT” perspective bias may say, “If only we can get the metrics right, we can prove the results we’re getting from agile. Then, the right actions would spread like wildfire and agile would be great!”
  • ITS – Those with an “ITS” perspective bias are process thinkers at the whole systems level, and are attracted to things like theory of constraints and software development methodologies. They are into whole system measurement. If you find yourself saying some version of this, you might have an ITS perspective bias: “It’s the system that matters. If only we put people in a good system, they will be incentivized toward good behaviors and agile would be great!”
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  • Martin Österberg

    Thanks for sharing!

    Would be interesting to hear what you intend to do with the results (if anything). Could you as a coach team for instance better serve the organisation if you were more diverse or if you better covered the It or Its perspectives? Do you need to recruit differently to avoid hireling peope similar to yourselves? If you don’t do any changes how do you manage your blind spots?

    • Viktor

      Hi Martin,

      At the moment we haven’t done anything (yet?). This was very recently shared within the agile coach group.

      There are many different kinds of diversity and I think it’s important to understand which diversity to strive for and which to avoid. Identifying which diversity that makes a big impact is not a piece of cake. :)

  • Sylvia

    Really interesting look at things in terms of the dynamics that influence the work we do. I’m really curious where you found the perspective bias information. I’ve never heard of that and Google search doesn’t come up with much. Is it a known tool or something you guys created in house?
    Thanks for the shared insight. I think I’ll try this with my new team!

  • Denis

    hi, i am working as a business analyst and want to try myself as a scrum master, my personality type is ENFP, do i have a great chance of succeeding in this?)

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