Door to Happiness

During my role as Scrum Master, I acted as a facilitator for my team and a trainer to a variety of teams. Out of all different roles, few things remain unchanged:

  • People from different backgrounds
  • People from different cultures
  • People with a different technical skillset

It is not guaranteed that everyone will perceive the context discussed in an intended way. Some will not like the context or facts presented and being introverts they will not share the feelings on how to improve the expected outcome from these discussions or training.

Upon my discussion with my fellow Scrum Masters, we agreed to explore Happiness Door to various situations like:

  • Anonymous Daily Motivation check-up for the team
  • Create Happiness Door during Daily Scrum
  • Create Happiness Door during Sprint Retrospective
  • Create Happiness Door during training workshops

I presented the thought to my Scrum Team and they loved the idea to present their emotions by being anonymous. But, we agreed to place some ground rules so that this activity does not hamper team relations:

  • Write what you liked and it made you feel happy
  • Write something went wrong and you want to improve it
  • No blame games
  • Maintain respect for each other
  • Thoughts should be based on facts and not assumptions

I created a Miro board for my team

The team agreed to update the board on a daily basis before the day ends and share a short snippet on how they felt throughout the day. After the first day, it looked like something below:

The discussion started after Daily Standup to work on removing what’s demotivating the team. This encouraged more collaboration within the team members to take care of what is causing discouragement within the team and how they can self organize to better deliver the work.

On daily basis, the team was responding to it and kept on adding new notes.

It also provided deeper insights, as I observed the pattern that Tech Debt sticky was lying around for a while and it made transparent that the team is stuck somewhere. Upon asking the question if the team needed help, the team updated that because of emerging requirements they will not be able to deliver it within this sprint and the same was then communicated to PO. The PO helped the team to take a call on emerging requirements and made sure that the team has the right time to deliver the technical debt.

It was time for the Sprint retrospective and I created Ideaboardz for the team. I was happy to see the Happiness Door on the Keep column and how it benefitted the team with better collaboration and Quick resolution of impediments.

I even have used this amazing piece in my trainings during the in-between breaks, where I will put up something like below o the door:

The attendees will put up the comment on what they liked or lacked during the break time. This small step proved very effective to reduce the feedback loop of the training to every break during the 2-Day boot camp and I was able to remodel the discussion, facilitation of the training based on the feedback.

To share an experience during one of my training, I got more than 50% of people feeling demotivated. During the break, I started a conversation with a few of the participants and found that there was no coffee for the rest of the day. I immediately went to the downstairs café and got Tim Hortons for the participants and everyone in the training loved and I could feel just because of a coffee, I had a more interactive and engaging audience for my training. Actually, it was feedback that resulted in coffee which did the job in that training.

The learnings are many from this short and simple exercise:

  • It increases the engagement levels of the team or the participants.
  • It reduces the feedback loop which is one of the agile components.
  • The team became empathetic to what others need and offered to help.
  • It increases transparency across various roles within the team. The product owner was able to understand the team’s concerns and help them.
  • It allows introverts of the team a chance to share their feelings.
  • Last, but not least, it gets you a COFFEE!!!

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