How to Run a 30 Minute Spotify Health Check for Your Squad

Today's focus is squad health, answering the question some may have "How do I check in on my squads and focus on improvement without taking up too much time?" 

There are two parts to answering this question, the first being "Check in on squads" and the second being "Focus on improvement"
It is important to differentiate between the two as capturing results on their own really does not provide much value to the squad, however when you can analyse and focus on improvement as a team you will see change come organically.

PART 1: Check In on My Squad

The Spotify Health Check model was published by Spotify R&D in 2014 and has been a pretty solid tool for a light weight, quick and easy model for checking in with squads. The model focuses on the use of traffic light voting or 1,2,3 point voting.

To begin with there are 11 simple categories with 11 simple questions:

For example the category of "Easy to Release" is broken down into three answers:

You can choose to do this virtually via a form application such as Google Forms (example above) or in the office using a whiteboard and some markers.

Squad Health Check workshop

PART 2: Focus on Improvement

Here's where my twist comes into play, the improvement and how you can get your squad to focus on each area no matter what status they are at. To do this set up a 30 minute get together with your squad to:
  1. Go through commentary
  2. Present the results to the squad
  3. Provide 15 minutes for brainstorming to run through all categories and individual recommendations (e.g. Tuesday/Thursday release cycle too restrictive)
  4. Discuss and take note of one or two goals per category to take away for the team to focus on (e.g. Conversation with release team on ad-hoc release process for small changes)

The aim of the game is to hopefully make progress on these actions even if you can't fully complete it, as long as you are on some path towards a happier and healthier squad. 

Happy health checks everyone!