A happy and healthy agile team can impact their ability to deliver high-quality software and meet customer needs. The question of course is how do you know if your team is happy? How do you keep on top of this and how can you track team happiness over time?

An agile team health check can be a simple tool that lets you pick the key dimensions (or criteria) of health that matters most to the organization. Spotify, Atlassain, Google are just some of the companies that share their health check models and help to popularize this concept.

Infi, a Dutch software company, used TeamRetro to shape their own health check model that used a range of dimensions specific to their values, culture, team goals and organizational requirements.

Based on this set of criteria, this crew of developers initially ran verbal meetings in which each person responded to their model each week. 

However, this can be hard to track efficiently so they went to the next level. Capturing this information with an agile team health check tool meant that they could capture that data quickly. They then used TeamRetro’s API to build that own API that displayed their health check data on their office TV screens. This meant that the data was always visible and highlighted the organization’s commitment to supporting happy, productive teams.

Here, Software Developer Martijn Groeneveldt, shares their story… and their link to Github so you can try out the dashboard for yourself.

Why does your software development team use health checks?

Our team runs health checks because we are a company that truly believes in caring for our employees. 

We believe that in the software development and consultancy business, human factors can make the difference between ‘okay’ and ‘awesome’. That’s why we run weekly check-ins. They are a good way to check whether there are things we can do, or do differently, so individuals are able to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

What health check dimensions did you use to measure team happiness?

We chose to continue with a model we were using for verbal check-ins before we started using TeamRetro. 

Our health check model consists of the following six factors – (translated from Dutch)

Stress

Do you experience stress or busyness in your life?

Fun

Do you have fun in what you do?

Impact

Do you have the feeling that you’re making an impact for the client or Infi?

Colleagues

How does the collaboration with colleagues and clients go?

Technology

Is the technology you are working with (still) fun and interesting?

Process

Are the processes that should make everything run smooth working as intended, or do they get in your way?

How does TeamRetro support your health checks?

By using the TeamRetro health checks to have weekly team meetings, team members consistently respond to the same prompts. This way they don’t accidentally forget or leave things out.

Using TeamRetro also means team members can write down their thoughts ahead of the weekly team meeting. We also can produce a nice statistics graph of all health checks done the previous periods.

We then display this on our screens so that our team can see it as needed.

(Example as shown – data is for illustrative purposes only and is not reflective of Infi)

  • Iinfi-data-health-checks-TeamRetro-image

What are the benefits of making your agile metrics visible?

Having the data visible means you also have the ability to make better decisions, reduce decision latency and ensure that any issues are addressed as soon as possible. This suggests that transparency is crucial to agile.

Whilst most teams can focus on the quantitative aspect of burn down charts, velocity points and error rates, having your team’s health check clear and upfront is a great way to put people in the picture too.

With special thanks to Martijn Groeneveldt, software developer at Infi, you can access their code for the dashboard here: TeamRetro Health Dashboard.

Want to run your own health check? Here are a few models ready to go, or you can create your own.