Getting ROI out of a Happiness Wall

agile, blog, management30

There are so many people on this world and they already had so many great ideas. It is tough to come up with something completely new. But, that’s OK. We have a saying in the Netherlands: “better well stolen than badly invented”. OK, roughly translated that is. It is not necessary to re-invent the wheel every time if a good wheel already exist out there that you can just use. Moreover, combining two existing wheels sometimes just makes a better wheel and allows you to feel creative as well.

Jurgen Appelo combined the Feedback Wall and the Happiness Index into the Happiness Wall. I really like the idea, it is simple to implement, simple to use and provides powerful feedback.

A former colleague of mine was using a Return On Investment (ROI) diagram in his meetings. When people left after a meeting, he would measure their perceived ROI. He asked them to place a dot along an ROI line. The ROI line consists of line going from a very low ROI, to a very high ROI :). The closing question could for example be: “for this hour that you spent here in this retrospective/meeting/event, how do you measure your return on investment in regards to time spent here? Are you super happy and it was really worth your time, then put a marker on the top right. If you feel, man what a tedious boring meeting, put a marker at the bottom left. So please put a marker when you leave the room.”

When you ask me to fill in  how happy I am after drinking some beers with colleagues that I really like, I will say probably very happy. However, is the ROI high or low? Or when you have a meeting and the ROI was high, but the meeting itself was so boorrrring, will you attend next time?

Is happiness in itself feedback enough or should you also combine it with the ROI that people experience? I believe the goal of meetings should be to organize them in such a way that they make people feel very happy and that they have a high ROI for participants. A very high happiness score and a very low ROI…. well maybe next time just plan an evening out with your colleagues? A low happiness score and a high ROI… well it will probably result in people complaining they have too many meetings. I believe the fun factor should always be present in meetings.

What I now did was to combine the Happiness Wall and the ROI diagram. How much did you like the meeting and how high was the ROI? Using this approach gives me insight in both how fun it was and how high the ROI is. This provides me a bit more feedback about the meetings or workshops. Moreover, people can write feedback on sticky notes or just put one sticky note on the wall to present their happiness/ROI ratio.

In the example above, people really liked the session. However, the ROI was so so. Excellent feedback in this case, because we were doing a tryout of a new talk. For a talk we really want the ROI to be high. Happiness being so so s OK as long as the ROI is excellent.

When you have a meeting/workshop/presentation/etc. think upfront what score you would like to score. Is the ROI important or is the Happiness score more important?

Did I invent something new? Nope, just combined two existing tools. It works for me, maybe it will also work for you, just let me know what you think of it.


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