The Team Health Check is a self-assessment process for Agile teams who want to improve the way they work together. Results are tracked over time so that the team can see growth and continuously identify new areas for improvement. The Team Health Check is a great way to take the temperature of a team and start down a path of continuous improvement.
In this article, you’ll learn more about team health checks and the basic steps you need to facilitate a team health check in your organization.
Why are Team Health Checks Important?
Most of us have experienced positive and negative team experiences. One common theme of positive teams is that the members trust each other and have trust in their managers and the organization. One way to build that trust is by facilitating regular health checks. To be successful; however, the health checks must be facilitated in a way that encourages honesty, celebrates constructive criticism, and addresses the feedback that is provided.
Characteristics of a Team Health Check
The following are common characteristics that must be present for a health check to have real value.
- Only the Team should see the results. The benefit of a team health check is for the team and should not be used to satisfy upper management. The purpose is not to LOOK good, it is to BE good.
- Used to support and not judge. Team members need to feel comfortable to provide honest feedback. Depending on the trust level that currently exists in your organization/team, you will likely want to start with anonymous feedback.
- Consistent timing. Whatever timing the team decides on, make sure it is consistent. For instance, if you are running Scrum, the Sprint Retrospective is a great time to run a health check. Don’t run one health check and then never run another one. Also, always run the assessment at the same time with your team, even if you are using an online or remote tool. Set up a time for the team to take the assessment together and then debrief the results together.
- Growth plan at the conclusion. How many of us have taken a survey only to have nothing done with the data? Frustrating, right? For a team health check to be successful, there must be a growth plan at the end that is agreed upon within the team.
Steps to Facilitate a Team Health Check
When you facilitate a team health check, you’ll always want to follow the same steps: (1.) introduce and explain the purpose; (2.) administer the assessment together; (3.) analyze and debrief together; and, (4.) build a growth plan together.
What is the common theme here? Together! As I mentioned earlier, it is so important for your team to complete each step of the health check together. This will help to build trust and ensure that everyone is contributing and heard in the process.
You’ll want to schedule a team health check when you have 2 to 3 hours of time to devote to the full process. No part of the agenda should be skipped or rushed through.
Methods and Tools
There are a variety of health check tools such as surveys, indexes, and feedback sessions. Be sure to research different options ahead of time to help your team determine the right fit. If the assessment is not administered correctly or if the data is not used appropriately, the health check can even de-motivate a team.
Free Agile Webinars
Now that you have a little background, hopefully you’ll want to learn more. Scrum Training Institute will be hosting a series of free webinars to help you learn more about methods and tools and how to facilitate your own team health checks.
To register, click one of the links below: