Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Notes from 'Is Your Team Happy Or Frustrated?'

Is your team Happy or Frustrated?


Participant Survey: Are your teams happy or frustrated?

o   Some teams are happy and some are frustrated

o   Team flips between happy and frustrated

o   Engineers do not say much and so it is hard to judge


What do Happy teams look like? What makes teams Happy?

o   Have engaged PO, great SMs

o   Teams feel empowered to reject stories

o   Good SMs with servant leadership characteristics

o   Good retros, continuous improvement. Take one thing from the retro and work on it


What do Frustrated teams look like? What makes teams frustrated?

o   Want rigid processes

o   Want to be told what to do

o   Can be productive

o   They have multiple personality disorder

o   Process confusion – Scrum + Waterfall

o   Interruptions due to a highly specialized team being called on to do outside sprint work

o   Micro managed teams (by managers, leads)

o   No SM

o   New to Agile

o   Team members do not know what to do; lack of training and so teams are lost

o   User Stories are not well defined

o   No one makes decisions

o   No one steps up

o   Managers do estimating

o   Story dependencies lead to team members waiting on others

o   POs tell the how


How can you make teams Happy? Remove Frustrations?

o   Look for 'engagement' rather than happiness because happiness depends on non-work factors too

o   Leverage (R)AMP framework

o   Once teams understand roles and how artifacts look like, they become better

o   Use retro as a tool for improvement

o   Teams may feel safer without managers

o   Coach teams to speak up when User Stories are not right or have problems

o   Do not commit to work that you do not understand

o   Understand the overall picture

o   Reinforce Scrum principles

o   Teams take time to feel open and safe and share emotional state

o   Share facts/trivia to get conversations going

o   Prizes, games, candy, …….


How do you get newly formed teams to commit?

o   First 5 sprints are hard

o   Use anchor stories to do relative sizing

o   More prescriptive to start with

o   Really understand the story

o   OK to fail

o   Optimize for the system rather than locally

o   Teams take t


Retro as a tool to gauge happiness

o   Happiness scores using a tool

o   Radar chart with several dimensions including how the team feels

o   Retro

o   One word – how you feel

o   Record emotional state (happiness) for each 10 days of the sprint

o   Chart it and then use the chart to have a discussion on retro day on what happened

o   Generated lot of interest in the past


What if team says – we don't want fun / don't want to play kindergarten games

o   Figure out what is fun for the team

o   Hackathons

o   Give ownership of engineering processes and ceremonies such as demo

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