Happiness Metric

The Happiness Metric Scrum Pattern provides a way to measure the intangible aspects of team satisfaction, such as morale and motivation, and use that information to make continuous improvements.

The Happiness Metric Scrum Pattern is a method for evaluating team satisfaction and well-being in Agile software development. It involves regularly surveying team members on their happiness and using the results to identify areas for improvement in processes and practices. This pattern helps organizations understand the impact of team morale and motivation on productivity and quality of work.

Let’s take a closer look at the Happiness Metric Scrum Pattern – what it is, why it matters, and how to use it. Our goal is to help organizations understand the importance of measuring team satisfaction and well-being and how the Happiness Metric can be used to improve their teams’ overall productivity and quality of work.

Happiness Metric: Why Does it Matter?


The happiness and satisfaction of team members is a critical factor in determining the overall productivity and quality of work in Agile teams. There are several reasons why happiness is so important in this context:

  1. Increased Motivation: Happy and satisfied team members are more motivated to complete their work to a high standard. This motivation translates into better quality work, more productivity, and an overall improvement in team performance.
  2. Improved Collaboration: Happy and satisfied team members are more likely to collaborate effectively with each other. This leads to better communication, more efficient problem-solving, and an overall improvement in team performance.
  3. Reduced Turnover: Happy and satisfied team members are less likely to leave their organization. This reduces the cost and effort associated with recruiting and training new employees and helps organizations retain their most talented employees.
  4. Better Attitude: Happy and satisfied team members are more optimistic in their outlook. This positive attitude spreads throughout the team, creating a more positive and supportive work environment that fosters creativity and innovation.

As you can see, happiness and satisfaction are critical factors in determining the overall productivity and quality of work in Agile teams. By regularly measuring and tracking happiness, organizations can create a better work environment, increase team motivation, and improve overall performance.

How do I Use The Happiness Metric Pattern


While people measure happiness and satisfaction in many ways, here is a simple, straightforward approach to implementing this pattern with your team.

You can use the Happiness Metric in 4 steps: 1. Survey Your Team Members, 2. Analyze the Data, 3. Adapt to Your Insights, and 4. Repeat Regularly.

Let’s break this down…

1. Survey Your Team Members

The first step is to survey team members on their happiness and well-being in the work environment. This can be done using a simple questionnaire or survey tool. Typically, I will survey team members the morning of the last day of a Sprint, before the Review and Retrospective. This is helpful as you can use the data from the survey during the team’s Retrospective.

I like to ask the following questions on my surveys:

  1. How happy are you with your role?
  2. How happy are you with your team?
  3. How happy are you with your organization?
  4. Are you working at a sustainable pace?
  5. What is one thing we can do to improve your happiness?

For the first four questions, I use a simple Likert scale from 1 to 5. Question five is free text. This makes analysis and review easy.

An example of a happiness metric survey in Mentimeter.
An example of a happiness metric survey in Mentimeter.

You may wonder why sustainable pace is a concern in regard to happiness. Observing teams during the aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I realized that working at an unsustainable pace often leads to unhappiness and a decline in both the quality and quantity of positive results (seems like common sense right?). Despite this obvious connection, many teams still push themselves to work beyond their limits. The sustainable pace metric serves as a key predictor of team happiness and a valuable topic for discussion with your team.

It is important to promote confidentiality in this survey. While Scrum is based on transparency, it is not safe to assume your team feels as if they have psychological safety on your team. As such, a bit of anonymity can reveal potential unspoken issues and reduce group think. Use tools like Mentimeter, Survey Monkey, or something similar to promote anonymity.

2. Analyze the Results

Once the survey results are in, the team can inspect the data to identify areas for improvement in the team’s processes and practices. This may involve identifying the specific issues impacting team members’ happiness or broader trends affecting the team as a whole. Present the data to your team during their Retrospective. Review how the responses have trended over time and ask them to identify any insights they see from the data.

I use a simple line chart showing the responses to the Happiness survey over time. You can overlay data such as your team’s velocity and other metrics to identify patterns or changes in the objective metrics of your team.

Using Mentimeter to display Happiness Metric survey results over time
Using Mentimeter to display Happiness Metric survey results over time

To maintain anonymity, I like to ask questions similar to the following: “Why might someone on our team rate question 1 as high or low?” By phrasing questions this way, I am not asking someone to reveal what they scored on a given question and I am working with my team to build empathy into others’ thoughts and feelings.

Towards the end of the discussion, I will show the responses to question five and ask them to discuss and consider these responses as part of the team’s Kaizen.

3. Adapt to Your Insights

Based on the results of the survey, the team can implement changes to improve the work environment and address areas of concern. This may involve making changes to the team’s processes or practices, or addressing specific issues raised by team members.

Your team should include these insights and analyses when selecting a Kaizen. Additionally, your Scrum Master can use the insights and the responses to the question “What can we do to make you happier?” as part of their routine interactions and support of their team.

It is absolutely critical that you respond and react to the information gleaned in this process. Asking your team what will make them happier will give you great insight into how to build a high-performing team. However, failing to respond to the information you are presented with can kill your team’s happiness over time.

Keep the OODA loop in mind when considering this metric. Observe and Orient to the data you are presented with. Then make a Decision on how you will respond, and then ACT on that information. Moving through this loop quickly will significantly improve your team’s outcomes.

4. Repeat Regularly

It is important to conduct regular surveys to track progress and ensure improvements are sustained over time. I like to do this once a Sprint as part of the Retrospective. I’ve seen other teams do it far more regularly. Happiness isn’t a static metric. Measuring, understanding, and responding to your team’s fluctuations in happiness will go a long way to building solid morale.

Happiness Metric Conclusion


To wrap up, the Happiness Metric Scrum Pattern is a valuable tool for teams to measure and understand their overall well-being. By regularly conducting surveys and analyzing the results, teams can identify areas for improvement in their processes and practices, leading to a happier, more productive work environment. The pattern also highlights the importance of maintaining a sustainable pace, as working at an unsustainable pace can lead to decreased happiness and reduced outcomes.

Incorporating the Happiness Metric Scrum Pattern into your team’s processes will lead to a better understanding of what makes your team happy, and help you to identify the changes needed to improve overall team satisfaction. By making happiness a priority, teams can create a positive and supportive work environment that leads to better outcomes and improved productivity.



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