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Don’t forget to celebrate

At the London Scrum clinic in March 2019, Michaela Dennis posed a great question to the group…

“What are fun ways to celebrate success?”

She went on to articulate how she wants to (and encourage others to) enjoy coming to work. So the group conversation started with a few of the usual suggestions chucked into the mixer. Doughnuts / bowling / pub drinks… pretty vanilla so far, but then it got super interesting…

It rapidly surfaced that everyone (even in this small group of around 8) liked to celebrate in different ways, so this was likely to also be true of our teams at work. Therefore, a great thing to do would be to simply pose the question to your team “How do we want to celebrate?”.

I think this would be an awesome addition to team charters as it not only provides an additional working agreement, but also sets a positive intention that there will be reasons to celebrate in the future.

Now part of the richness of the scrum clinics is the varied experience of the people and the collective group-think that occurs as a result of this, so it was unsurprising that some interesting follow up questions emerged.

Should we only celebrate success?

We often link celebrating with hitting a significant milestone. Nothing wrong with that, although this could lead to long gaps between celebrations.

But, what about failure, or when things didn’t go well but we learnt a shit tonne as a result? Is that not cause for celebration? So another great question to bring to the team is “What / When do we want to celebrate?”. Could be something else to consider adding to a team charter…

One of the SM’s in the room told how his team name all their sprints after either a cake or a drink, at at the end of every sprint they celebrate during the retrospective (regardless of what happened during the sprint) by consuming the drink or cake together!

Another good question that came up was – “What if I have a distributed team?

A few ideas came up – mostly around some kind of co-ordinated activity, that everyone can participate in at their respective location. The cake / drink sprint name idea could easily be applied here. But the best idea centred around music, and the co-creation of a playlist that everyone in the team contributes to by adding a song of their choice to mark the occasion. We liked the idea. So we did it. Right there and then we co-created a playlist (1 song each) to celebrate the positive discussion in that brief moment in time we had shared together. Feel free to listen to it.

So to sum up – be curious with your team about celebrating, and form some agreements around what, when and how they want to celebrate. Then let the good times roll…

How and what do you celebrate with your team?

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