by Nancy Couture

Tip No. 5: Show appreciation and have fun!

May 18, 2017
IT LeadershipIT Skills

The fifth tip for successfully creating and leading agile data management development teams.

A key success factor in agile data management is self-managing teams. As a leader of self-managing teams, you need to develop a unique set of skills, moving from command-and-control to communication and enablement. 

This is the fifth installment of my series entitled “Five Tips for Leading Agile Data Management Development Teams.” Here I discuss Tip No. 5: Show appreciation and have fun!

Who says you can’t work hard and still have fun? Ideally, the fun activities are ones that encourage team collaboration and exceptional performance.

High-performing teams need to balance working hard and having a little fun. Be supportive of that fun—make sure it happens. To paraphrase, all work and no play makes for a very dull working life.

One typical activity is a post-release celebration. Be part of the celebration, allowing some fun and recognizing team members for their efforts, before focusing on the next release. You may even want to include the team’s business stakeholders in the celebration, which may help to solidify ongoing relationships.

One of my favorite experiences with a self-managing team was our tradition of Joke Wednesday. At each Wednesday stand-up, someone needed to come up with a joke. Some of the jokes were great and others caused the entire team to groan—all part of the fun! Team members would go back to their desks with big grins on their faces. Surprisingly enough, everyone looked forward to Joke Wednesday—something that lasted only a few minutes a week but provided great dividends.

During team meetings, and even stand-ups, find opportunities to recognize team achievements. Make team members feel good about themselves and their achievements. This can be a powerful motivator. 

Some additional ideas: 

  • During the retrospectives, count up story points completed and keep track of the record number completed. Whenever the record is broken, schedule a Developer Day.
  • Developer Days should be scheduled after every three or four sprints. These can benefit the team members, but some great solutions can be developed at the same time.

By encouraging these types of activities, you and your team will reap the benefits.

  • You will be viewed as more approachable and supportive.
  • Team collaboration will increase.
  • The team will feel good about themselves and their achievements.
  • They will feel recognized and appreciated.

Remember: a performing, cohesive self managing team is a great place to be: exciting, stimulating, supportive and successful… and fun!

You can find links to all the blog posts in this series on my author page on