326 Weekly Journal 6


Read Sutherland’s Chapter 7 on Happiness

Yes, we are reading about happiness!!  But not happiness as an emotional state.  Sutherland (and many others who study “happiness”) apply the label to a state of flow that results from people who are using and improving their skills to achieve goals that are important to them.  In order to maintain a productive software development team … or any other work group … employees really do need to hold a positive view of their jobs and the work that they do.  When morale declines, productivity suffers … and no amount of brow-beating management style will reverse that for long.

So, how do you create a happy team??  Sutherland has some simple ideas to get you started.  If managing people and projects is of interest to you, there are many, many leadership and management books and seminars and workshops, etc. in your future.  But start with his ideas and see how you can employ them in the next couple of weeks.


This week:

  1. Do the Happiness Metric in Chapter 7 (page 151) with your team during the sprint retrospective.  What is the one kaizen that the team comes up with?  How will you make the change, measure  results (the “acceptance test”), and report back results in the next sprint team report? (Note: just by asking, you will probably lift the team’s morale!!)
  2. Last week, I encouraged you to quantify your progress and calculate your team’s velocity … or at least a numeric summary of the points each task completed was worth.  Compare that to this week’s volume of work.  Is it increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same?  How might Sutherland interpret the results?
  3. How do you foster transparency and information sharing?  Do you have some team members who seem to tend to hoard knowledge?  How can you get them to share?
  4. Keeping in mind the need to maintain the balance between directly productive tasks and building community (which I’ll argue is a long-term investment toward productivity), how is your team building connections … between members, community partners, alumni mentors, and management (i.e. …. me)??