“We’ve got to stop every once in a while and celebrate one another and our team victories, no matter how small.” - Brene Brown

Yes, there’s more work to be done, and things could go sideways in an hour, but that will never take away from the fact that we need to celebrate an accomplishment right now.

If you are creative, you will find millions of things to celebrate that are aligned with your business’ mindset. Celebrating helps everyone in the team feel the value they have brought to this world. It unites and increases ownership.

Often people think that celebrating means going out together or having some kind of team event; however, it can be many other things too. It can be a ‘thank you’ or praise at the end of a retrospective. It can be dedicated time to think of the achievements or laugh at the failures.

So once you have mastered all of the elements of #superagile, never forget this last one - celebrate!

What it feels like

Best case

  • Team is enthusiastic for seeing the results of their work
  • Team remembers their last achievements
  • High team morale
  • Low turnover

Worst case

  • Team does not show care for actual results of their work
  • Low sense of achievement
  • Low team morale
  • Burnout

Creating the baseline

Celebration is all about creativity and can range from big lavish events to small thank you’s. It is very natural that each team will gradually develop a different celebration culture. It’s rarely the case where you can say that there’s enough celebration in a team, but if you’re just starting out, a good baseline is:

  • Celebrating each team member’s birthday, even just saying happy birthday during stand-up, to celebrate each person themselves in the team.
  • Doing a shout out to everyone part of the project after an important feature, bugfix or technical improvement was done.
  • Getting together at least once a quarter with the whole team for a bonding team event.
  • Can be anything from a dinner to paintball, even better if a team member can introduce a hobby of theirs as part of it.
  • K.I.S.S. principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Don’t overthink it, just do it. It’s better to do something small than nothing at all.

How to thrive?

Having a thriving celebration culture is about finding what works for your team and makes them motivated. The team leads should encourage the celebration culture in the company. It doesn’t have to be tickets on your board or Epics that get celebrated either – maybe you have just recently reviewed the process of making code reviews and the whole team has been super hands on and taking the topic very seriously - yep, that’s a great reason to celebrate. Celebration can also be holding weekly “thank you” rounds where team members can share what they are thankful for or why not even celebrate the biggest failures!

In addition to the previous, great celebration can also be:

  • expressing thanks for something that has been done well,
  • having lunch together with the whole team when a new member joins the team,
  • having recurring demo sessions with the company/department to celebrate (and learn from) new developments
  • having cake when a long-awaited feature is done,
  • sharing the biggest failures and, consequently, the learnings,
  • celebrating each person separately, for example celebrating the birthdays of your team members with cake or gifts,
  • having events with your team, like hiking, paintball, going to a concert or whatever else makes your team members happy.

In order to promote celebration as part of the culture, a great way for a company to promote a celebration culture is to provide a budget for each team for celebrations. As each team is different, then everyone can choose how they do it. This way, the question is not whether to do it, but rather in what ways the team chooses to do it.