Measuring team happiness - where the metric meets motivation by Nienke Alma

Speaker Nienke Alma
Measuring team happiness - where the metric meets motivation
  • talk
  • 30
  • 45
  • coaching


Team happiness seems to cause a lot of discussion in the Agile world lately. Although many believe there is a correlation between happiness and productivity, Agilists disagree on the effect that measuring team happiness has on the growth of teams. Some think the happiness metric could help increasing velocity significantly. Others state that this metric provides just a limited understanding of a team’s perception of their well-being, which makes it difficult to effectively use the metric for the team’s advantage.


The discussion on the happiness metric also shows how much people struggle with the measuring process itself. What questions do you ask to get an understanding of the Team Happiness? How frequently do you measure? How do you analyse and read the data? Inspired by one of the strongest proponents of the happiness metric, Jeff Sutherland, Agile Coach Nienke Alma decided to give it a try herself. With just a simple excel template and a good dose of enthusiasm she started to experiment with measuring team happiness in four teams.


After a few sprints, the data that the teams collected brought new inspiration. Apart from happiness trends, the data also seemed to provide insight in what motivates individual team members. Suddenly Daniel Pink’s “Drive” (the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us) came into play. The team happiness measurements made visible that Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose were aspects influencing the happiness of the team members. Connecting the happiness metric of Sutherland with the three factors that motivate people of Pink added a whole new dimension to the team happiness measurement experiments. What if the happiness metric could help to influence the motivation of individual team members? Would that make them happier, and therefore the team happier? And would that have an effect on the team performance?




- Short introduction of the happiness metric according to the point of view of Jeff Sutherland
- Explanation of how I introduced the happiness metric at my teams
- Explanation of how team happiness was measured in my teams
- Short introduction of the ideas of Daniel Pink on what motivates us
- Explanation of the analysis of the happiness metric that I have done together with the teams, including the link that I made with Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose (the three motivation factors of Daniel Pink)
- Explanation of the results of the happiness metric so far
- Invitation to the audience to further discuss the use of the happiness metric combined with the ideas of Daniel Pink


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Last Updated 04 Jan 16:53