Phil Taylor

@phil.taylor.me

Importance of individual recognition in an agile team

I’ve been working with 10+ scrum teams throughout my career. Worked with backend engineers, frontend engineers, testers, architects, etc. — people in wild variety of positions and levels.

We agile coaches concentrate on creating a healthy and well functioning team. As we’re building the team, we focus on making sure that the team members act as one team, work together on the same goals and think of themselves as one unit.

With a well built and functioning agile team we often forget about the fact that a team consists of individual people with individual goals and a need for individual success. In a professional environment it’s often easy to forget that in the end we’re all just people wanting to feel good and advance in our careers.

As an agile coach I find it imperative to not only concentrate on the team unity but also make sure that the team members feel appreciated and can realize them-selves while working in the team.

Of course it’s important that the team members get individual feedback from their managers and possibly from the agile coach but at the end of the day what I’ve found is that most people search for positive feedback from their peers. Getting appraisals from teammates motivate people in ways that someone outside the team simply cannot do.

There are many methods of helping a team in recognizing individual success. What I’ve found most effective is the kudo box technique introduced in management 3.0.

Kudo box and Kudo cards

The method is incredibly easy to use and surprisingly effective.

  • Simply create a bunch of cards on which team members can write appraisals and thank you notes on.
  • Then put out a box where you collect these notes.
  • Open up the box every 2 weeks and read the notes out loud to the team.

As our teams are not co-located we use an online tool to collect these notes. We’ve started using Scrumile as our main agile team tool on top of JIRA with great success and it has the appraisal box feature which works great as a kudo box.

The feedback from the teams was tremendous, our team members feel more appreciated and are more willing to go beyond there daily tasks so that they can help the team advance faster.

Hope using a appraisal box will be as useful and satisfying for your teams as it’s been to us.

Phil T.

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