Service Team Health Monitor
The service team Health Monitor gets your team to look at the big picture so that, over time, working through the queue will feel less like... well, work.
USE THIS HEALTH MONITOR TO...
- Understand your strengths and weaknesses as a service team.
- Identify plays your team should run (and why).
AND I NEED THIS... WHY?
Service teams are more common than you might think. It's not just customer support and the IT help desk. It's accounts payable. Recruiting. Legal. Public relations. Build engineering. Even design teams that operate like an in-house creative agency are service teams. What makes these all service teams is that your queue is made up of requests from people outside your team – whether it's reviewing contracts for internal customers, or providing tech support for external ones.
No matter what type of service you provide, your team can't deliver their best work unless you're working well together. Even though you may rely heavily on tools as you work through the queue, those tools are worthless without the right people and processes. Getting that in place means more time for those all-important special projects that help you prevent fires rather than fighting them.
Over the years, we've observed eight attributes common amongst healthy service 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.
WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED
Bring in the people on the front lines of running the service, as well as your team lead. Others stakeholders, including customers should sit this one out.
HEALTH MONITOR AT-A-GLANCE
- With your team, read the definition of each attribute (displayed below) of healthy, high-performing teams out loud. On the count of three have each person rate how they feel the team is doing compared to each definition (thumbs-up/green, thumbs-sideways/yellow, thumbs-down/red). Record the results of each attribute team rating on a Health Monitor grid.
- Choose one or two of the attributes rated yellow or red. Select plays that will strengthen these areas.
- Schedule your next Health Monitor checkpoint (we recommend monthly).
PREPARATION - What you need to complete a Health Monitor
Get a Health Monitor grid
A Health Monitor grid is where you record the team ratings for each attribute. It is best to keep a reference of past Health Monitor ratings so you can see how results change over time. You can draw the grid on a whiteboard, download a PDF, or set it up as a Confluence page using our blueprint. View example of a completed Health Monitor grid.
Are you facilitating the session?
Team health assessment (10-40 min)
Read the name and definition of the first attribule out loud to the group.
On the count of three have everyone give their rating for that attribute.
Thumbs up / green: "We're strong here"
Thumbs sideways / yellow: “We're ok... but a little shaky"
Thumbs down / red: "We're not healthy"
Repeat for each attribute.
There is a team lead responsible for team performance, communication, defining process ownership and advocating for service improvements both inside and outside of the team.
You have the right specialist skills and experience with an even distribution of work. The team is empowered to make decisions or escalate where appropriate, and individual service excellence is recognized.
The scope of services offered by the team are defined and documented with clear success metrics that are communicated and agreed upon with key stakeholders.
Service levels for the teams' service mandate are defined and visible to key stakeholders. There is a queue management, categorization, prioritization and escalation processes in place to meet service level agreements.
Team members are skilled at understanding, empathizing and resolving requests with an effective customer feedback loop in place that drives improvements and builds trust to improve service offerings.
The team has the necessary tools to deliver on the service mandate. Processes, including those that operationalize new services, are well documented and have defined workflows and owners.
Vendors and partners are known, key contracts and relationships are documented with operational level agreements established.
The team captures feedback, key performance indicators are realistic, valuable and reporting is accessible.
Note how many reds, yellows, and greens there are. Then decide on a rating and record it on your Health Montior grid. Keep the discussion brief and don't try to solve problems yet. Just understand why everyone chose the rating they did.
Over time, your Health Monitor grid might look something like this:
Next steps: choose plays to strengthen yellow and red attribute ratings
Here are a few suggested plays for improving in each area. Don't treat these as prescriptions! You know your team better than anyone, so check them out, explore other plays, and do what you think is best.
Schedule your next Health Monitor checkpoint
Health Monitors work best when done on a regular schedule; results will change as a projects change. Most teams schedule Health Monitor sessions on a monthly basis. If your team has a lot of red areas, consider a weekly or bi-weekly cadence until you're feeling a bit stronger. Weekly checkpoints can be super-quick (15-30 minutes) since there is already a baseline for your team to work from.
Tips for facilitating a Health Monitor
Setting the context
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
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.
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!
Not so sure about all this?
No worries. We answered users' most common questions about the Health Monitor in this handy-dandy blog post.Read it now
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