“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.”
– Johnny Carson
Happiness is usually the most common factor in the longevity of an employee’s stay in his or her company. In a professional point of view, it would seem like it is not even a factor that should be considered or prioritized; what matters more is that the job gets done when it needs to be done. It would seem like happiness should not affect productivity. But in contrary, economists from University of Warwick has conducted a study and found out that happiness led to a 12% increase in productivity. Therefore, if we want to keep good employees in our company, it is important that we maintain their happiness with their job and with the company.
The Portal Integrators team does things the Scrum way, and one of the many benefits of being in a Scrum team is that our happiness as an individual and as a team is being taken care of.
During our Sprint Retrospective, after discussing how the past Sprint went and what things we could do to improve our process, we as a team are being asked the following questions:
- How happy are you in your role in the company?
- How happy are you with the company?
- How connected do you feel with the rest of the team?
We each answer these questions by using the Fist of Five voting method, in which we use our fingers to rate our happiness from one to five, one being the lowest and five being the highest. To avoid bias, we raise our hands all at the same time.
The ideal and the goal is that every team member votes five for each of the questions, but that’s not always the case in reality. It happens that someone would vote as low as one or two for at least one of these questions. Maybe someone is not happy with their role as a developer and prefer a Scrum Master role, or maybe they are not happy with the company and wants some changes. In these cases, the Scrum Master would ask what the team and the company could do to improve these scores. They would discuss as a team what can be done until they all come to a compromise.
The key to a successful retrospective is honesty. The Sprint Retrospective would only serve its purpose of strengthening and improving the team and the process if each participant is honest, understanding, and open-minded. It is normal for team members to feel awkward during the discussion of happiness scores because these type of conversations are difficult to open up especially if the happiness ratings are directed towards a specific person. Therefore, it is important that each member keeps an open-mind and try to understand where the other is coming from. If there are misunderstandings, the Retrospective and Team Happiness discussion is the perfect time to settle and clear out any issues. When there are no issues, doing work would feel much lighter and productivity would therefore increase.
Maintaining team happiness is only one of the reasons why being in a Scrum team is awesome. This is one of the secrets of the Portal Integrators team in delivering high-quality output to our clients – we are a happy bunch.