Team Awesomeness, a great way for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches to facilitate group dynamics and team’s awesomeness.
A common goal for our teams at King is to strive to be a high-performance team that communicates and collaborates well both within and outside the team. In that spirit, we are testing a concept that I call “Team Awesomeness”. Generally, it’s a lightweight questionnaire, which the team answers together as an extension to the retrospective.
The team fills out a questionnaire with 25 questions divided in five different areas: contribution to King, contribution to the team, innovation, communication, and quality. The team members read each question out loud and then do “fist of five” voting. Those members with the highest and lowest votes should explain their choice. The whole team listens and discusses, then votes again, as in planning poker.
The team tries to reach a consensus on a score, makes notes, and then moves to the next question. After going through all the questions, the team should clearly see in which areas it needs to improve.
The first Team Awesomeness exercise takes approximately two hours. The exercise offers good input for an improvement theme (see picture). The team can also easily measure progress. Make sure the results are transparent for the whole team, and put the score on your Scrum/kanban board.
We don’t tell a team which methods or processes it needs to put in place to strengthen its weak areas; if a team, for example, finds that they need to improve quality, the company doesn’t tell them to fix more bugs or start with TDD. The team must find a solution that works for its members, so that they feel they own the quality – and as a result become more creative and innovative.
Here’s a real example. One team went through the Team Awesomeness questionnaire and found weaknesses in quality and communication. The members concluded that if they could improve how they communicate within and outside the team, the quality would most likely increase as well. They were right: the quality of the services the team provided to its users improved. Quality does not only arise from minimizing the number of bugs or broad test coverage. It also is about understanding a user’s needs and having the right expectations for the service or product that you provide – and this team showed that.