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After much research, we have updated the Team Health Monitor to one template, available for all teams, with new and improved team health attributes.

4Ls Retrospective

Using this simple framework, reflect back on your work and use what you've learned to improve as a team.

Pencil icon
Prep Time
5 mins
Stopwatch icon
Run Time
60 mins
Connected people icon
People
2-8
People discussing in a grid

4Ls Retrospective

Using this simple framework, reflect back on your work and use what you've learned to improve as a team.

People discussing in a grid
Pencil
Prep Time
5 mins
Stopwatch icon
Run Time
60 mins
Connected people icon
People
2-8

4Ls Retrospective

Using this simple framework, reflect back on your work and use what you've learned to improve as a team.

Pencil icon
Prep Time
5 mins
Stopwatch icon
Run Time
60 mins
Connected people icon
People
2-8
People discussing in a grid

Health Monitors


The Health Monitor is your team's chance to take an honest look in the mirror. You'll assess your team against the eight attributes most commonly found among healthy teams. At the end of Health Monitor session, you'll identify strengths to exploit as well as challenge areas to grow.

Anybody can run a Health Monitor session, so don't wait for some directive from on high.

Read why Health Monitors help your team Copy link to heading Copied! show

As a leadership team, you are a multiplier. You have many people looking to you for inspiration and direction. You produce work that is visionary and strategic instead of tactical and operational. Your leadership team might consist of senior executives charged with increasing customer engagement by 30% this year. Or it might be a collection of junior leaders from across the company whose teams are taking your product to market in a new country.

Over the years, we've observed eight attributes common amongst healthy leadership teams. This Health Monitor is a chance for your team to get a reading on each of them – to check your vital signs, if you will. From there, you can run other plays that change the way you work so you're building muscle in your weak areas, and follow up with quick checkpoints to track your progress.

Although the leadership team Health Monitor is most effective when run at the start of an initiative, you can run it at any point. For longer-term initiatives, we recommend running the full leadership Health Monitor play every three months, with quick checkpoints every 2 weeks.

Bring all members of your leadership team. Remember: these are the people responsible for directing the day-to-day work involved in this initiative – not the ones executing it.

Team performing a health monitor

See how it works in under 60 seconds

What you'll need

Remote

Video conferencing with screen sharing

Digital collaboration tool

In-person Optional

Butcher paper

Red, Yellow, Green markers

Notepads

Optional templates

Atlassian Templates

The 8 attributes of healthy teams

According to our years-long research and our work across hundreds of teams internally and externally, we have ascertained 8 attributes that make for a healthy and effective team.

1. Team cohesion

We have the mutual trust and respect necessary to be an effective team for healthy collaboration. We have a strong sense of connectedness between members.

2. Balanced team

We have the right people, with the right skills, in the right clearly-defined roles. This enables us to successfully deliver the value for which this team is accountable.

3. Encouraging difference

We seek and voice different viewpoints from diverse sources, both internally and externally, and we take the time to respectfully work through points of difference.

4. Shared understanding

We share an understanding of our mission and purpose and our key milestones to deliver our strategic plan effectively as a team.

5. Value and metrics

We understand the value we provide and the value back to the business, our definition of success and how that value is tracked and measured. We ultimately leverage our metrics to make decisions and action as necessary.

6. Suitable ways of working

Our ways of working together within the team enable us to do our jobs effectively, whether we are distributed or co-located. This includes the tools we use, how we meet and collaborate, and how we make decisions.

7. Engagement and support

It's clear to other teams how and when to engage with us, teams do this effectively and consistently receive the support they need to progress. We have a clear understanding of who we depend on, and who depends on us. 

8. Continuous improvement

We always make time to celebrate our successes as well as earnestly reflect on, take action against, and fulfil our improvement opportunities. We have regular and intentional feedback loops within and outside of the team to make improvement decisions.

Instructions for running this Play

1. Prep 5 MIN

The Health Monitor is a Play wherein you and your team will discuss how well you meet these 8 attributes, and make a plan to continuously improve. Doing a Health Monitor on a regular basis will help you move along your journey to becoming a dream team.

As the meeting facilitator, book 60 - 90 minutes with your team to run this Play. Send your team a short description of what this Play will entail, and take the time to review the attributes on your own so that you can communicate them to your team. If you will be doing this Play remotely, make a copy of our Trello template for use during the Play and invite your team.

Tip

If your team includes 8 or more people, you might want to divide into sub-groups and work through the initial ratings for each attribute. Then, come back together and converge on full-team ratings.

2. Set the stage 5 MIN

Open the meeting by explaining to the team that as a group you’re creating a set of behavioral agreements to guide how to work together. Ask the team to:

  • Keep an open, curious mind
  • Practice active listening and encourage everyone to contribute
  • Avoid interrupting or dominating the conversation

Voting criteria

Each of your participants will be asked to vote how well they think the team is doing against attributes with a “thumbs up” (green), “thumbs sideways (yellow), or “thumbs down” (red). How you think about red, yellow and green will be unique to your team. Use your intuition and don't worry about establishing standardized criteria for each color – that only distracts from the discussion.

Explain to your team that when an attribute is being considered, the team will be asked to add their vote, either to the digital collaboration space, or in person through a thumbs up, sideways, or down. A note taker should record the votes in the case of in-person meeting on a piece of butcher paper or whiteboard that all can see.

Tip: Questions you can ask to prompt discussion include
  • Why did you vote the way you did for this attribute?
  • What feedback on this attribute are you curious about or would like to learn more?
  • Why do you think others voted this way?

3. Reflect 5 MIN

Introduce a moment of quiet reflection by asking attendees the following questions:

  • What is important to us as a team? What behaviors can we agree to as a team?
  • Think of teams that work together well. What do those teams do that we could adopt?
  • What can we do on this team to avoid past mistakes from other teams?

Ask everyone to jot down their responses privately.

4. Draft agreements 10 MIN

Next, ask attendees to come up with one agreement that will lead to successfully working together as a team, using their reflections as a guide. Have everyone add their ideas to the digital document or whiteboard in the Brainstorm section.

If you have a small team (4 people or fewer) have each person write down two agreements.

TIP: PEOPLE, NOT PROCESS

This Play is about working together as people so if ideas around documenting technical processes come up, put those in the Parking Lot.


Follow-up

Schedule your next 4Ls Play

Once a quarter is a good start. Once you get the hang of it, try every two weeks, once a month, or after the end of a project cycle or sprint.


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Still have questions?

Start a conversation with other Atlassian Team Playbook users, get support, or provide feedback.

Still have questions?

Start a conversation with other Atlassian Team Playbook users, get support, or provide feedback.

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New to the Health Monitor?
Let us guide you through it.

We will take you step-by-step through a Health Monitor, record results, and recommend next steps for your team.

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Tips for facilitating a Health Monitor

Setting the context Copy link to heading Copied! Show

The purpose of the Health Monitor to assess how well your team is working together. Brutal honesty is the key here. It's not all doom and gloom, though: you'll uncover good things too, and exchange some high-fives…

You'll be assessing your health strictly within the context of the project you're working on. There are no right or wrong answers, and everyone's opinion is equal.

During the Health Monitor Copy link to heading Copied! Show

If your team includes 8 or more people, you might want to divide into sub-groups and work through the initial ratings for each attribute. Then, come back together and converge on full-team ratings.

If you're new to the Health Monitor, it helps to display the names and descriptions of the eight attributes on a screen, so the team can see them easily.

How you think about red, yellow and green will be unique to your team. Use your intuition and don't worry about establishing standardized criteria for each color – that only distracts from the discussion.

Make sure each person has a voice and a chance to contribute to their group's ratings individually before moving into whole-team discussions.

If your team members tend to "settle" or call something "okay” when it really isn't, start with red as the default rating for all attributes, and make groups justify their way to a green rating.

Resist the temptation to solve problems, and just focus on observations.

Next steps Copy link to heading Copied! Show

Set a regular cadence for Health Monitor checkpoints. Are your reds and yellows moving toward green? Have any of your greens slipped into the red? Regular checks help keep momentum high and catch problem areas before they become destructive.

Some teams incorporate checkpoints into an existing team ritual, like a weekly team meeting. Other teams periodically replace rituals like sprint retrospectives or stand-ups with a checkpoint. But you can schedule the checkpoints separately, if need be.

For the checkpoint, pull up your Health Monitor grid. Have the full team assess how they're doing on each attribute using the same red/yellow/green ratings.

Pay special attention to the attributes you chose to focus on during the full Health Monitor session. When one goes green, choose a new focus and look for plays that will help. Remember: the plays are different ways of going about your daily work, which means you can run them even if you aren't struggling. Preventative care works for teams just like it works for our bodies!