GERVAIS, ERIC, DAVID
Ø Gervais Johnson, MATRIX, Western Agile Lead,
Empower Agile Adoptions, Transitions and
Transformations, 16 Years IBM tenure / Agile
Ø Eric Mittler, Wells Fargo, Manager for
international team supporting Wells Fargo
Internet Banking Services, evangelist for Speed
Ø David Bellamy, CEO of Happiness Lab, focused
on workplace happiness and well being of people
within hyper-performing organizations
PMP, ACP, CSM, CSP, CSPO, LeSS,
SAFe SPC4, ACC, CISP, ICAgile Coach
HAPPINESS = HIGHER PERFORMANCE
Definition of Done
Definition of Fun
Jeff Sutherlands paper ‘Teams That Finish Early
Happier People are 12 % More
You Improve What You Measure
WHAT IS HAPPINESS?
word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, "human
flourishing" has been proposed as a more accurate translation. -
• Joyful, Delighted, Smiling
• Challenged without being Stressed Out
• Feeling Good, Untroubled, Comfortable
• Empowered - A Manageable amount of Stress
STAND UP @ STAND UP
• Literally stand up (one leg?)
• Try alternative delivery methods (sing/
• Be Present, In Person (or on video)
• Say 4 things: 1) what you did, 2) what
you will be doing, 3) What blockers you
have, 4) Something cool you saw
someone else doing
Pull up! You’re gonna crash!
Why: Stand-ups move faster making team happier. People will smile more.
Problematic/confrontations are made eaiser
PASS THE BATON
• At major ceremonies (Iteration Planning or Retrospective), practice “passing
• Cookie rotation
• When finished speaking, pick the next speaker by
looking that next person in the eye and say
“Vijay, so how do you feel?”
• Only the person with the Groucho Marx glasses
gets to speak.
Why: Making meetings fun. Make measuring affect a natural part of the process.
• Pair on everything!
• Rotate pairs every stand up
• Pick stories — never assign them! It’s more fun to race to
pick a story than to have someone assign it to you. Just
stop using the word “assign” or “assignment”
• If you don’t know how to do it, you are in charge.
Only have novice people own Stories or Tasks that they
do not know how to do.
Then the expert, who does know, is put in charge of
making sure the novice succeeds.
• Creates a supportive social environment.
• It’s OURS not MINE alleviates stress.
• The act of rotating/variety is fun.
• Having people compete to get to a story rather than a
PM assign a story is a more happy state.
HEAT MAPS IN RETRO
• Agile teams write retro comments
on red cards
• One observation per card
• Use the card color to indicate
how you feel
• Voilà insta-heat map
Why Coders are often shy to say how they feel.
Get a metric without much work & without being anonymous.
GAMES & BREAK TIME
• Encourage team to take an hour or
TWO to play
• Get a ping pong table
• Have a chess board out
• Dominion! by Rio Grande FTW
• Get a video game console
• Geek out
• Have a public leader board
Why: Playing games, doing puzzles & sports INCREASES happiness,
productivity, and the desire to be present.
• Name your servers, projects, code
names something stupid
• Nick names (can be self picked) for
• Sum up your iteration or epic with a
stupid code name (can be done mid
• Inside jokes the leadership team doesn’t
Why: Make some future teammate unexpectedly laugh.
Build a team culture. Make sure you are always respectful.
PRAISE & COMPLIMENTS
• In retrospective force grumpy people to assert 5 cool things
that happen are allowed to voice a criticism
• A “cool thing” can be anything, can be silly or even gallows
• This will skew your heat map, but you can do math.
• Encourage an atmosphere of gratitude
• Ask why others cannot do that cool thing too
Why Praising others makes one feel good internally.
It is nearly impossible to both wish someone well and wish them ill at the same time.
NO DUE DATES OR COMMITMENTS
• Continuous Delivery Instead of Due Dates
• Commit to working hard = Happy
• Committing to completing a task on a due date = Stress
• Use math to predict feature completion
• Committing to task completion on a specific date is stressful and naturally
results committing to the least amount of work e.g. Slow to Market.
• Committing to work hard or harder than before, is empowering and happier
SAY PEOPLE’S NAMES
Why: Hearing your name engages you makes
you feel included and happier
• Encourage everyone to learn everyone
• Practice the pronunciation of everyone’s
• Learn something about everyone on your
BREAK DOWN HIERARCHIES
Why: DevOps logic. Over time the team
will all be raised up.
Empowerment is a key to happiness
• Empower everyone
• Rotate leadership. Have novices lead
• Senior people do not lead!!!
• Senior people are in charge of ensuring
novices succeed or fail gracefully
• Your coders should have kick ass
laptops, two HD monitors and the
fastest network connection possible.
Certainly better than what they have at
• Telepresence robotic ﬂying drones
• WiFi enabled expresso machines
• you get the idea
Why: Techies love environments that…wait for it…have tech
Why This engages & motivates Techies. Team discovers new better ways to
work. Fosters happier teams.
• Have special stories in your
backlog to research new
• Have special days when
you go off your iteration
stories to explore new tech
• Have moon shot projects
that you expect to fail
Practical Experimentation Themes
Note these themes in the suggested experiments
1. Being Physical/Kenetic vs stationary
2. Alternative & Alternating Communications
3. Being Present rather than Virtual
4. Adding Variety
5. Increasing joy in others & respect
All this stuff is just “nice to have.”
Work is not supposed to be fun.
I’ll wait until management tells me
to be happy.
I don’t care about success.
This will never work.
• P = Purpose
• O = Outcome
• W = WIIFM
• E = Energize and Engage
• R = Roles/Responsibilities
Chief of Happiness
Chief of Customer
Facilitator: Answer Work Shop Instructions, Gets Help
Chief Agile Officer
The team is not performing
optimally, the Burn Down
Chart, Velocity, and other
management reporting is
showing poor performance in
all categories, thus causing
unhappiness within the team
and leadership. The team
morale is low and the last
very low Team Health.
Objectives to demonstrate how to determine individual and team happiness and to come up with
experiments to improve team health and specifically the happiness level
We will use the Retrospective format for team discussion and coming up with the 3 experiments
The team will present their results to the entire audience
Under performing team members
Half of the team members has
low motivation and morale
due to stress at work
One member has low
motivation and moral due to
issues at home
Changing and volatility of success
During the last 2 Sprints the
success criteria of 50% of the
Stories selected are changing
During the last 3 Sprints the
success criteria of 20% of the
Stories selected are insufficient
UNRELAISTIC DEMANDS (MICRO-
Since the beginning the Business
executive has been demanding
more completion of Stories per
Sprint than what we have
indicated can be done
Over the last 2 Sprints the
Product Owner keeps wanting
to add Stories in the middle of
the Sprint and does not take No
for an answer
Product Owner is not present
during the Sprint Review
Each team will DESIGN at least 3 EXPERIMENTS to address the low Team Health and
improve CONDITIONS OF TEAM HEALTH AND HAPPINESS. We are looking for Story
level details. The team will present the 3 Experiments to the audience where they will be
rated using the Happiness Lab
Each team will present their 3 EXPERIMENTS to the audience.