Reasons for celebrating wins and failures

  • Celebrating wins are important because they help keep the team's morale up. When teams move quickly from one project to another, it can feel like a joyless process without deliberate celebrations.
  • Success may occur on a new experiment, and the team might want to pour more effort into it in the future. Without celebration, these moments may pass unnoticed and unexploited.
  • Identifying woes is important because it allows teams to notice what's not working, allowing them to make the necessary changes.
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The first step of incorporating wins and failures into agile is creating a safe environment where all feedback will be encouraged and welcomed.

  • As for feedback, accept it gracefully, and use it to grow - even if it is difficult to hear. When you lead by example, your team will follow.
  • Banish blame. Don't point fingers when something goes wrong on your team. If the team is worried they'll be reprimanded, they will be less likely to take risks. Instead, reframe mistakes as learning opportunities.
  • Identify any threats to psychological safety and deal with them immediately. It takes one person to create a hostile and unsafe environment, for example, by yelling at or shaming people when they make mistakes.

When you celebrate wins and failures, your team should walk away with an actionable plan to change things moving forward.

Teams want to be left alone to do the work and be trusted that they can do it. If you desire this practice to lead to growth within your team, give them the autonomy to make those changes.

To make the most of celebrating the wins and failures, share them with other teams and co-workers. It can increase morale and get your team the recognition they deserve.

Public "kudos" boards, where the entire organization can post, can be a great visual. Sharing challenges with the rest of your company may feel difficult, but the learning opportunity can help the entire organization.

The agile framework

The agile framework is about optimizing performance. One way to inspire that improvement and help teams grow in the process is by celebrating wins and setbacks.

Addressing failures is about listening to your team members' challenges and then finding ways to remove the obstacles. It's about hearing what they need to do things right, then providing it.

For example, if your team missed a major deadline, ask more in-depth questions to determine where the bottleneck happened, such as communicating with other stakeholders. Consider tools that enable better communication and collaboration between teams.

... and celebrate them every few weeks.

The maximum time between these retrospectives should be three weeks. Any longer and people will start to forget the realities of the situation. Newer teams that are still finding their groove should schedule more frequent meetings.

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The idea that we need everyone on board before taking action in the workplace prevents teams from shifting from 'discussion' to 'doing.'

'Doing' is often framed in terms of proving and performing. But if we frame 'doing' in terms of improving and learning, people will be less inclined to hold back and would be more comfortable to try something new.

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Visibility at work is when you are included, recognized, and valued by networks within your organization. Its how you get credit for your work, get considered for advancement and build influence.

Visibility is also necessary for teams. Research points out that remote team members who don't feel "seen" are less collaborative, innovative, and supportive of each other. Remote teams can face isolation from company culture, lack of face time with management, fewer informal networking opportunities, time zones, and technological problems.

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  • While trying to form a habit, starting in small increments and utilizing self-motivating feelings of positivity and celebration are strong catalysts and help reinforce the changes.
  • To make lasting changes in our lives, we need to break them down into small, easy to do ‘Tiny Habits’, and then find ways to trigger them. Once we are successful, we need to reward ourselves.

How you can use the power of celebration to make new habits stick

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