team health check agile

Team Health Check Agile: A template for your team & organization

KPIs, ROVs, NPS: Companies are increasingly using ways to measure the progress of their projects. Because: 

Only those who recognize errors and problems in time can eliminate them.

A team health check not only examines the health of a project, but also the health of the team working on it. In order for this to reveal where things are not running smoothly, you need a clear systematic approach. Otherwise, the Team Health Check becomes a guessing game. 

Our detailed team health check template teaches you in detail how to approach a health check in practice. I also show you specific team health check questions that you can adopt and apply to your organization. 

 

What is a team health check?

A team health check in agile is a tool for teams to improve their collaboration and project results. To do this, the tool uncovers problems and potentials within teams and projects. Based on this, you can develop measures and solutions that increase employee satisfaction and performance. By conducting regular team health checks online or offline, you also gain insight into where your team is making progress over time - and where there are still areas for improvement.

Particularly well known is Spotify's Team Health Check. This is a workshop that teams use to look back on the work they have done so far. To do this, they evaluate various indicators such as 

  • collaboration, 
  • value of what is delivered
  • fun at work and
  • learning experience.

In our detailed guide "Spotify Health Check: Everything You Need to Know" we will show you how exactly the workshop works and how you can benefit from it.

 

Team Health Check Template for practice

Basically, you can use an agile team health check template to examine all work and functional areas of teams and organizations. These 3 areas are particularly relevant for uncovering problems and potentials:

 

Agile maturity level

The agile maturity level shows you how agile the working methods in your organization are. It also tells you how adaptive and willing to learn teams and departments in the company are. The goal of an agile transformation is to implement the agile way of working at all organizational levels in such a way that all areas have understood and accepted it and are living it. 

Decisive indicators for the agile maturity level are

  • agile values,
  • team autonomy,
  • customer focus,
  • agile events and
  • planning.

 

Team psychology

Team psychology uncovers how strong an organization is mentally to overcome challenges. It answers how well teams are positioned "in their heads" to identify and fix problems. These indicators play a crucial role:

  • task design
  • innovation
  • motivators
  • team
  • working environment

 

Functional areas and operating business

To gain directional insights for your organization with a team health assessment survey, you need to cover all functional areas in the organization with it. The operational business includes these:

  • finance & controlling
  • human resources (HR)
  • marketing
  • purchasing
  • sales department
  • Software development
  • Leadership teams
  • strategy

Before we get to the team health check template and the specific agile team health check questions, a quick note for you: In order to successfully master an agile transformation, Project Scagile teaches you all the important skills for working professionally with agile in 7 different modules. The safe agile online training is free of charge. Feel free to take a look!

 

Agile team health check template: How the health check works in practice

A team health check works like this:

1. Definition of the right team health check questions

You choose the right questions for you and your team to evaluate the collaboration. I will show you which questions these can be in practice in a moment. 

2. Assessment of the employees with discussion

Your employees can rate the questions using a scale that you determine. This can be, for example, a traffic light system that gives an evaluation using the colors

  • green (things are going very well),
  • yellow (there are some problems) and
  • red (things are going very wrong).

Alternatively, you can have employees rate questions and theses with a level of agreement. For example, these gradations are possible:

  • Strongly disagree
  • Disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Agree
  • Strongly agree

If you visualize the assessments of your employees, you get a clear overview of how the question or thesis you have posed stands. In this way, you can discuss each agile team health check question in detail in the team - and thus work out a solution. Because: Your employees will often not agree on how they want to answer a question.

 

 

3. Development of action items

You now know what is going wrong in the team and where you need to start in order to fix it. To do this, you develop action items to eliminate problems and better exploit potential. Strictly speaking, the third step is no longer part of the team health check template. However, it is a direct consequence of the team health check. If you do not take any action after the health check, it will of course have no effect on your organization.

 

Team Health Check Items for practice

Depending on the goal of your team health assessment survey, you should focus on different questions. And: You should always align the questions with your team. I'll show you which questions are particularly common in practice. You don't have to take notes here. I've made the team health check questions available for you to download below. 

 

Agile maturity level

A team health assessment survey of agile maturity is useful if you want to find out how far along your organization is with agile transformation. It may be that some departments are further along than others. I will show you agile team health check items for the indicators "agile values", "customer orientation" and "agile events":

Health check items on agile values

1) Each team member can decide freely and independently about his or her commitments.

2) We are open to constructive feedback and can grow from it.

Health check items on customer orientation

1) The planning of our sprints is always based on achieving the greatest possible customer value in the given time.

2) We also share unfinished work early with stakeholders to get feedback as soon as possible.

Health check items on agile events

1) Each member of the development team contributes appropriately to the sprint plannings. 

2) The last sprint reviews have created a good basis for the preparation of the subsequent sprints. 

 

Team psychology

Team health check items that focus on team psychology are appropriate, for example, if 

  • a team has only been working together for a short time, or
  • you want to check whether your team works proactively and strives for improvements in the processes.

I have selected the indicators “team”, “innovation” and “motivators” as examples. For these, you can use these health check items, for example:

Health check items on the team

1) I regularly get useful feedback on how well I am performing and how I can improve. 

2) In our team, I am not afraid to ask "stupid" questions. 

Health check items on innovation

1) I have to do things in my work that should actually be done differently.

2) We have a constructive exchange of knowledge between newer and experienced colleagues.

Health check items on motivators

1) I am free to schedule my work as it suits me. 

2) The results of my work have great significance for the company.

 

Functional areas and operating business

With team health check items on operations, you can take a close look at one or more specific functional areas of your organization. In this way, you can determine how agile the way of thinking and working is and where there is a need for optimization. I have selected the functional areas of “HR”, “management teams” and “software development” as examples:

Human resources

1) We ensure that our corporate and leadership principles are also lived out in the teams' everyday lives.

2) We make sure that new colleagues always feel welcome.

Leadership teams

1) We encourage our teams to make decisions independently.

2) Hierarchies do not hinder direct exchange between teams.

Software development

1) We take pride in the software we develop.

2) Releasing our software is easy, safe, painless and largely automated.

Download PDF – team health check questions

 

Team health check template from Echometer

If this selection of possible items for a team health check is not enough for you, you should take a look at the software tool Echometer. This covers all questions about agility and team psychology in all relevant functional areas. This allows you to define valid KPIs both at management level (e.g., the Agile Center of Excellence) and individually at team level (e.g. Scrum Master). The focus of Echometer is on cultural metrics. The tool measures these interactively and diversely in retrospectives.

For you, this means that you can not only track how a project is progressing, but also how your team is developing and how this affects performance. How exactly it works, shows Echometer in this crisp video.

 

What are the 4 points you need to consider in a team health check survey?

In order for your team health assessment survey to efficiently address issues and uncover potential, pay attention to these 4 points:

1. Customize the health check template

Every organization, every team and every project is different. You therefore need to adapt your team health check survey to the work culture in your organization, the way people work and the goals of a project. Only then can you gain important insights from the team health check questions.

2. Use different items

My agile team health check template already hinted at it: You can bring in lots of different items for a health check. You should use this variety. That way you make sure you cover different perspectives. This increases the value of the health check's output.

3. Don't ask too many questions

The variety of items can tempt you to use a myriad of items. However, there is a risk of overlapping content. This makes it harder for you to evaluate the results of your team health check. Therefore, make sure that you only cover one aspect with each item.

4. Be aware that the data is subjective

The data from a team health check survey is purely subjective. This is because you do not obtain hard data such as KPIs, but rather personal assessments of individual employees. You should therefore thoroughly review the results of a health check before you derive any action items from them. And: You should not use the data to compare teams with each other. The subjective data makes it difficult to make a fair comparison between teams.

 

Conclusion

You can use a Team Health Check Survey to uncover important areas of improvement and potential in teams. Take a look at our free eBook. It will also help you to do this. It shows you 12 team workshops from a psychological perspective.

Avoid these 7 mistakes in agile transformation

There are 7 common mistakes companies make when scaling agile methodologies. In “Project Scagile”, experts share their experiences in 7 free webinars on how to avoid them 👇
Learn more

Transform your organization sustainably going "culture first"

Echometer transforms Team Health Checks and Retrospectives to a "cultural barometer" of your transformation and puts teams at the helm of change.

Not sure yet?

Articles you may also be interested in

Book a 20-minute online demo now and find out how you can use Echometer to promote agile work in your organization.