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How our team used: Health Monitor Play

Inspired by the question on how our experiences with Team Playbook went we want to share some insights.

What is the Health Monitor play from Atlassian Team Playbook about?

A few months back we ran a "Health Monitor" session.

This particular play can help teams to understand what is the status quo - what is going well, where is room to improve and all of this within a well structured framework.
Not every team will have a special trigger to do this.

Why could it make sense to give Health Monitor a try?

It could be that (just to name a few, this is by no means a complete list)

  • it is considered as a proactive inventory on how the team is doing
  • out of curiosity
  • when there is a (latent) feeling there are topics that are left unarticulated throughout the team
  • when the team is tasked with fluctuation and/or growth

In our case it was at a time when our team was formed pretty new (several new people came in while we had some fluctuation, too).
We felt we need to check what was going well in a structured way and had also the feeling we had to improve on different topics to work in a better way together.

How did we use Health Monitor and what have we learned so far?

From the experience it was a good point in time to do it not too early, the "new" team had to form and settle for a few weeks. Then (not earlier!) the Health Monitor was run using the tools recommended - to be honest, the squeaky rubber chicken which is recommended to have was a bell and even this was used rarely but I think everybody got the idea.

chicken1.png
A squeaky rubber chicken is a recommended tool to bring discussions back to a harmonized level in case the going gets rough.


We found the playbook run best when adapted in details to the own team.
On identified points where we rather had a "light red" than a "dark yellow" we focused and brainstormed during the following weeks. We were interested in seeing how the pain points could be addressed.
Then we setup follow-ups during the next weeks to check which topics improved and where still some more detailed considerations would be needed.

To celebrate successes we also discussed the topics where we are already "green", this sounds easy. However, the challenge is to keep those on "green", not risk to get them "yellow".
From running the play we learned the colleagues we won for the team had a very positive effect on those topics we struggled with. They brought in fresh insights from the outside and helped us to get a fresh look onto things, from a different angle.

A summary from my personal point of view

In my own words the Health Monitor is not the secret sauce to fix whatever kind of issue in a team but it is a incredible helpful tooling to do a checking of the status quo, in a structured way.
Using a squeaky rubber chicken the meeting can be given a more easy-going touch, but we never had the feeling it is a burden to have meetings like this - so the feelings of other teams might be different on this, in particular.

The willingness of the team members to take part, contribute and improve in my opinion is crucial, though.

We shared results on an internal page and recommended the play to other teams as well. No question - there are more plays available from the Team Playbook page.
Unfortunately, then the circumstances around March 2020 kicked in and the whole idea was a bit of postponed. With remote work bringing new challenges to (every?) the team there are many opportunities to do more plays - I am sure.

3 comments

Kat Marketplace Partner Mar 07, 2021

We have the same chicken here! 

Like Bridget likes this

Thanks for sharing your experience, @Daniel Ebers

Love the chicken idea - got one for my new job 🐔

Like Andrew Kendris likes this

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