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The Spotify Team Health Check - Scaled Retro

Help your teams to improve at scale with this template

I recently shared my top 5 metrics that I believed were more powerful than Velocity. Team Health is one of those metrics and here's a template using the Spotify Health check that you can use to track it.

The original Spotify health check was created by Henrik Kniberg & Kristian Lindwall in 2014 and shared under the creative commons license.

This version includes the extended categories of inclusivity, feedback, communication, stress and proactivity as shared by Martin Oesterberg

Why use this template?

  • You'll create a simple, visual dashboard of team health from their perspective, not an external consultant or maturity model.

  • Spot areas of concern (or excellence) that the team can design experiments around in their pursuit of continuous improvement

  • Track progress over time by running the health check at a frequency that fits your needs. I recommend at least quarterly.

  • Zoom out to the company level by visualising health of teams of teams. Use this to spot trends (systemic areas of focus) that need leadership support

Access the Miro template below, plug & play into your own instances and let us know how you get on!

How does it work?

  1. Book a 1-2 hour slot in the diary with a team (or as part of a retrospective), ensuring the agenda is clear, the team will be discussing its health from their perspective.

  2. Navigate to the Team template here; and let the team know that we'll be exploring each of the areas of the health check including fun, easy to release, learning & support.

  3. Ask the team how they feel as individuals against each of the categories. Take each one by one. Each person should provide a colour (indicating health) and an arrow (indicating trajectory). Use the Miro voting functionality, drag and drop the colour / arrow icons OR use an anonymous survey such as menti to capture peoples views. Doing so anonymously can avoid anchoring bias.

  4. After everyone has voted, average the scores to agree team consensus. Invite discussion if needed. It can be useful to highlight particularly different perspectives.

  5. Add this averaged health rating to the table including any notes or commentary to help you remember the rationale for the rating.

  6. Once all categories have been rated, you've got a snapshot of team health at a point in time. Now it's time to narrow in on where the team should improve.

  7. Ask the team to choose the three categories that most concern them. These are typically the areas voted red, or those that have a downward trajectory. Run a focused session on these areas that identifies experiments to try next that may improve these areas.

Team Health at Scale

Running this health check across multiple teams can help you to spot areas that multiple teams struggle with. These are systemic challenges that may require support from leadership. Design experiments or interventions that aim to address these challenges at scale.

To use this template at scale;

  1. Run the health check across multiple teams using the Team template. Once per quarter is an ideal frequency to measure team health

  2. Navigate to the Scaled Health template and input the averaged scores. This will populate your dashboard

  3. Zoom out and spot the areas of concern affecting multiple teams. Narrow in on the most concerning ones and design experiments to address these.

  4. Check in every quarter to gauge team health over time. If you're seeing red trending to ambers, ambers to greens, downwards arrows transitioning to upwards, you're on the right track!

Important note

  • Don't use this template to compare teams. It is team health from their perspective. Use it to support teams, not measure their productivity.

  • If any person rates an area as a red, I believe it can't be 'green', even if the majority believes this. Don't forget the individual.

  • You can extend this model further by pulling it into excel and comparing % of teams rating each colour and get some more quantitative data supporting team health over time. E.g. From Jan to April 2023, 'Stress' as a category improved from 63% of teams scoring red, to 43% scoring red.

Happy retrospecting!


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Don't stop believin' folks

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