Happiness as an organisational performance metric

Daniele Davi'
7 min readFeb 23, 2021
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Are “happy” people more productive?
You would be surprised to know that the problem on how to quantify happiness at work is well known and studied from decades. You can measure your “employee turnover” or attrition rate and infer happiness. You can use a more direct approach, similarly to the way you quantify your customer’s satisfaction with a Net Promoter Score (NPS).
In Scrum, there are more than one “Happiness Metrics” and they all derive from the work done at Toyota by Taiichi Ono about what Kaizen should be, and the best ways to get there.

And I have been there.

I have been lucky enough to be the scrum master of a team that was called by other teams across the organization “the happy team”. It is not common to have such a combination of professionality, synergy of goals and intents, respect, team culture, sense of autonomy, purpose, fulfilment.
The apex was to see the team eating cakes together (or healthier substitutions sometimes) just after passionate retrospectives. The happy team wasn’t living in a sort of ideal or fake happy bubble. Not at all.

The team was working hard, feeling the pressure of aggressive timelines, having difficulties, even some recurring issues. Conflicts were just healthy tensions among different roles. Disagreement was perceived as richness of perspectives, an opportunity to learn and change view.
Even during an intense argument, there was no space for rudeness, toxicity, passive aggressive behaviour, stubbornness, unprofessional attitude. No jerks were allowed in the team and if by any chance someone toxic ended up in the organisation, they didn’t survive a long time.

This ideal environment wasn’t something granted or easy to achieve. Everything was even more interesting from the agile perspective due to the very innovative nature of the project, a hyper-regulated industry, an over-cautious market, intransigent audit processes and strict CMMI policies.
Yet, there was an incredibly joyful atmosphere, developers challenging each other in respectful and friendly ways, very open communication, many smiles.

How was it possible?

  • A Company culture founded on…
Daniele Davi'

Author | Coach | CTO | Human | Explorer | Traveller | Photographer ... https://danieledavi.com/