Agile Coaching 101 – Measuring Health

With the start of the new year and a new quarter, it is normal for teams to assess where they are in regards to the last quarter.

As agile coaches/scrum masters we should always aim to do a quarterly assessment with our teams.

Since Spotify came into play (pun intended) and into the world of agile, most companies adopt this time to do a health check. Some use the same exact model Spotify gave to the community, others adopt it a little and make it theirs.

Measuring the Health

Independent of what flavor you use for your health check, there are a couple of themes you should always take into consideration.

  • Support: Do we have what we need to do our work?
  • Process: Is our process suitable for us?
  • Easy of Release: How hard is it to ship things to production?
  • Worklife balance: Are we always in crunch mode?
  • Codebase: How healthy is our codebase?
  • Teamwork: Do we work as a team or individuals?
  • Pawns or Players: Who is in control of how we do what we do?

Based on these 7 categories you should ask your team to vote where they think they stand. This could be a numeric vote or traffic light vote (like Spotify). No matter how you measure it, the important part comes after.

A small improvement

Hopefully, after all the voting is done you have identified a couple of items that need work. My suggestion, focus on one at a time.

If you can fix at least 1 of them for the next quarter, it may look like nothing but it is already a big improvement. If you can pick more than one item, it’s even better, but make sure you have a clear priority of what to tackle first.

I like to use the improvement kata to come up with a couple of actions to do during this quarter. And yes, make sure they are visible for everyone to see and keep reminding your team about them on every retro.

Have you ever done a health check?
How do you do it?
Similar to this one?

Let me know over the interwebs what is your best method.



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