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About 4 months ago, our agency began using Scrum, an agile methodology for our work. We’ve already realized several major benefits, including increased efficiency, productivity and improved team communication. But, one of the unforeseen benefits has been an increase in team happiness, which directly impacts our overall productivity.

Team happiness is usually a difficult thing to assess. People come to work with personal stressors and anxieties, and this often impacts overall happiness. But, to be clear, we’re measuring team happiness as it directly relates to our work. Personal issues that impact performance and attitude are, of course, addressed individually.

HOW WE MEASURE TEAM HAPPINESS

Each week, at our retrospective meeting, we review the work we completed that week and discuss what we did well and what we could have done better. We then assign action items to address anything listed in the “what we could have done better” list.

This exercise allows us to continually improve our work and our efficiency, which correlates directly to the happiness of the team as a whole. But, we also take the time to assess individual happiness.  

Each week, each member of the team rates their happiness on a scale of 1 to 10. It takes a little focus, but the team has learned to evaluate their happiness as it relates to the work done by asking themselves questions like these: 

  • Was I able to complete the work that I committed to this week?
  • Did I have everything I needed to complete tasks BEFORE beginning my work?
  • Did I provide value to our clients?
  • Were there interruptions to my work?
  • Were there any impediments to my work?
  • Do I feel satisfied with my work with this week?
  • Overall, did I enjoy my work?

 We then average the scores to measure our overall happiness index to evaluate if there is a large change up or down compared to prior weeks. If an individual reports a score that is particularly high or low, we discuss what warranted the score. A low score might mean additional “action items” to address impediments. A high score may provide some insight into what is working well. High scores also allow us to share and celebrate individual “wins”.

This simple ritual, held weekly, has allowed us to continually improve our processes and productivity. But, as we adopted a new methodology, it’s also helped us insure that each team member is adjusting well to the changes in routine.