Agile teams experience highs and lows in a more moderate amount compared to older processes. Whether your team has released what they have committed to, released more than they would have thought, or took in too much than they can handle, they need some form of celebration or mini-break. You don’t want a team burning out and collapsing for the next few days.
Your team members need some time to pat each other on the back to recognise what they have done. No matter how little, they deserve a reward. Not to mention it’s also a core value of agile to ensure the team continues in its successful path
Stop and smell the roses
This study suggests that people are happier when some time is taken to appreciate the good things in life. Professor Nancy Fagley of Rutgers University had 243 students undertake a survey measuring their levels of appreciation, which is defined as “acknowledging the value and meaning of something—an event, a behaviour, an object—and feeling positive emotional connection to it”. Gratitude is a positive emotion directed toward a benefactor in response to receiving a gift of some sort, and is just one of several aspects of appreciation according to Fagley.
Fagley found that appreciation and gratitude both seem to strongly correlate to happiness, her results suggest that appreciation is twice as significant as gratitude in determining overall satisfaction with life. Students’ personality traits were also important to predicting life satisfaction— they seemed to be more important than their age, gender or ethnicity. Some aspects of personality—like being less neurotic and more outgoing—were linked to greater life satisfaction. However, being high in appreciation was significantly related to high life satisfaction regardless of one’s personality.
The challenge in fostering appreciation is that we want to periodically reflect on the positive aspects of our lives, value our friends and family, relish and savor the good times—without the practice of reflection becoming a rote habit or something that is taken for granted
Our team ends an iteration every other Friday and conduct the sprint retrospective at the end of a Friday afternoon. After the meetings we go for drinks with the rest of the company. Getting a change to relax and have a good laugh is a good way to unwind after a working week.
Our company recently hit a big milestone, so we went for drinks in a snazzy part of the city, there was good and is a nice reward that recognises everyone in the company.
Here’s a cool post on rewarding agile teams by Mike Cohn - How to Reward Agile Teams
The Shout-Out Shoebox
Megan Sumrell, an agile trainer and coach. Shared the following with an agile testing Open Space session at Agile 2007
Celebrating accomplishments is something I am pretty passionate about on teams. On a recent project, we implemented the Shout-Out Shoe box. I took an old shoe box and decorated it. Then, I just cut a slit in the top of the lid so people could put out their shout outs in the box. The box is open to the entire team during the course of the sprint.
Anytime team members want to give a “shout-out” to another team member, they can write it on a card and put it in the box. They can range from someone helping you with a difficult task to someone going above and beyond the call of duty. If you have distributed team members, encourage them to email their shout-outs to your Scrum Master who can then put them in the box as well
At the end of our demo, someone from the team gets up and reads all of the cards out of the box. This is even better if you have other stakeholders at your demo. That way, folks on your team are getting public recognition for their work in front of a larger audience. You can also include small giveaways for folks, too.
This piece of writing was inspired by a part of the book that I'm reading right now - Agile Testing : A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams