One of the topics that came up during our recent face-to-face team meeting was eating our own dog food. We recently released activity tracks and journeys into the Mind Settlers adventure platform, and it’s time for us as a team to use them! Here’s how we created a customized team track 2 weeks ago, which is changing our behavior for the better.
Tracks and Journeys
A Mind Settlers track contains a number of actionable practices that can be sourced from any platform, framework, or activity library. Tracks can have different purposes (e.g., Launch a Scrum Team, Build a Feedback culture, Support Retrospective Action, etc.).
Individuals (and teams) can start a journey on any track they find potentially useful. Practices in a track have specific activity targets — mark activity against it and you get credit towards the target. Once they’ve marked their activity against all practices, they complete it and earn rewards. We reckon journeying is a good way to ‘gamify’ behavior change and growth.
Here are the questions we asked and then answered during our face-to-face session, which led us to an activity track that everyone agreed would be valuable — and that they feel motivated to do.
1. What practices could be in our team track?
We started with a simple post-it note brainstorm, to give everyone the opportunity to suggest activities we could include. What kinds of actions did we want the team to take (and then track) in Mind Settlers?
Suggestions ranged from logging our peer review sessions or retros, to bug hunting or giving kudos to each other.
2. What type of track should it be?
The grouping and discussion we had after that made it clear that we wouldn’t get a lot of value tracking work that we were already doing — while it would be nice to make the work visible to others, it wouldn’t provide us with improved outcomes or new learning or innovation.
Since we’d finished a team retrospective earlier that day and come up with some good actions to start and increase, we decided to incorporate those on our board. These were new actions we wanted to take but weren’t doing yet — the perfect kinds of items for a track!
3. How long should it take someone to complete it?
Working through this targeted list, we realized we wanted practices in our team track that didn’t take weeks or hours to complete — minutes was best, as we all had our regular work to do, too. Most practices can be done in 5 minutes or less, though Bug Hunting, Show and Tell and Water Cooler Chat can take longer.
We also agreed that the entire track should take 1–2 weeks to complete, as anything longer than that has a reward that is too far away.
4. Who’s going to write it up?
Since we’d collaborated on the content, it made sense that we all pitch in to create and publish the track and practices in our Mind Settlers platform — it belongs to all of us.
So last week we published our track Retrospective Action — Agility Scales Team with 8 Practices with a target of 23 marks. Here’s a screenshot again:
Many of us are using it every day! We can see the actions marked by each other and also see how far along we all are. As we speak I’m in the lead, but Pedro is one mark away…
Appreciation (Giving Kudos) given on Slack has more than doubled I’d say — we’re taking time to do it more often. Play Together has been embraced, judging by the emoticon puzzle contest, and by the amount of joking going on during our Zoom meetings. We’re seeing activity across all 8 practices. :)
The motivation we have to eat our own dog food is up. We’ll keep experimenting, adjusting and supporting change.
Would you like to see it in action in San Diego at Agile 2018? Jurgen Appelo and some of the Agility Scales team will be there. If you’re attending, please let us know if you’d like to meet up.
Would you like to create or use tracks? We’re looking for people interested in experimenting with them for their own teams and purposes. Join our Slack Community and reach out to @paula-c.