Why do a team health check?

Ensure team phsychological safety

persons

   

The team health check, or squad health check was initially developed at Spotify by Henrik Kniberg & Kristian Lindwall, and published under Creative Commons Attributions-ShareAlike. The Agile Team Health Check is a Curipod version of their original model to help teams raise issues and fix them quickly, create a culture constructive feedback, and build trust within the team.

   

How it works

The team health check template consists of 10 questions/areas. For each question every team member answer anonymously how they feel it’s going related to the area. 💚 Green heart - Awesome, 💛 Yellow heart - Minor issues, ❤️ Red heart - Crappy. When everyone has answered, the results are shown as in the image below. From here, any team member is free to take the word, and express how they feel, and the team can discuss what measures can be taken to improve the situation.

   

   

The 10 team health check areas

These are the 10 areas which is part of the original model for agile development teams. These can of course be modified to teams working within other domains.

Area/Question Example of Awesome Example of Crappy
Easy to release Releasing is simple, safe, painless & mostly automated. Releasing is risky, painful, lots of manual work, and takes forever.
Suitable process Our way of working fits us perfectly Our way of working sucks
Tech quality (code base health) We’re proud of the quality of our code! It is clean, easy to read, and has great test coverage. Our code is a pile of dung, and technical debt is raging out of control
Value We deliver great stuff! We’re proud of it and our stakeholders are really happy. We deliver crap. We feel ashamed to deliver it. Our stakeholders hate us.
Speed We get stuff done really quickly.No waiting, no delays. We never seem to get done with anything.We keep getting stuck or interrupted. Stories keep getting stuck on dependencies
Mission We know exactly why we are here, and we are really excited about it We have no idea why we are here, there is no high level picture or focus. Our so-called mission is completely unclear and uninspiring.
Fun We love going to work, and have great fun working together Boooooooring.
Learning We’re learning lots of interesting stuff all the time! We never have time to learn anything
Support We always get great support & help when we ask for it! We keep getting stuck because we can’t get the support & help that we ask for.
Pawns or players We are in control of our destiny! We decide what to build and how to build it. We are just pawns in a game of chess, with no influence over what we build or how we build it

   

Why do we do team health checks in Curipod?

As a startup, things are happening at very a high pace, with high pressure, difficult decisions, and lots of uncertainty. To be able to handle this, it’s important that every team member is motivated, empowered, and gets all the support he/she needs from the rest of the team.

The team health check (which we do every month) is way for us to make sure that we set of the time to let everyone express how they feel, and catch challenges or issues within the team, which might otherwise might have gone under the radar. Are someone feeling stressed because they are pulled in all directions? Is the release process painful? Are we not learning anything new? And if problems like this come up, how might we find solutions together?

When doing the team health check we also review the last month health check, and review the issues we found and what we agreed to do to improve the situation. This is a great way to keep everyone responsible for the team health.

   

When are you doing your next team health check?