Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Agile retrospective: The Happiness metric

I included the Happiness Metric exercise in our sprint retrospective yesterday, and I think it was fairly well received. To my great pleasure, the team seems to be, generally, a fairly happy bunch.

Here's what we did:

In this exercise, we answered a few questions about happiness, rating on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being ecstatic), how happy each of us are with our team.

On a white board, write four questions:
  1. How happy are you with your team right now?
  2. What is working best for us as a team?
  3. What is working worst for us as a team?
  4. What we could do right now to make us happier?
Explain to the team that this information is to be kept private, for the use of the team only, and not to be reported elsewhere or to their management.
  • Have the team write a sticky note, rating their answer to question 1.
  • For each subsequent question, they can write as many notes as they want and place them next to the questions.
  • Review the notes, group them together to find common themes, and agree on any actions to take away which might increase team happiness.
This exercise can be repeated periodically, and can be translated into a google docs spreadsheet which the team can keep constantly updated with their levels of happiness. The benefit of this exercise is to uncover easily fixed issues which make team members unhappy, as well as find issues which effect several members of the team, and nip problems in the bud early.

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