A Unique Approach to Team Celebrations for Achieving a Goal

I am always asking teams how they celebrate their successes, but unfortunately, regardless of the type of work the team does and the type of organization they are in, more often than not, am hearing that teams do not regularly celebrate their successes.


In part, as I drill deeper with my curiosity for these discussions, I frequently hear that teams are not always clear on when they should celebrate (which is a different conversation for another day about Sprint goals), but the second most common response is that the team doesn’t have a celebration ritual or happiness budget or other mechanisms that help support the act of celebrating their success.

One of our teams at DH Leonard Consulting recently realized that their long-time celebration habit of ending their work day 15 minutes early if their Sprint goal was met was losing its meaning. Why, you might ask? It sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? 15 minutes of found time. 15 minutes to enjoy pursuing your own personal passions. The reality was that, months into having this celebration ritual in place, the previously agreed-upon celebration habit of taking 15 minutes early had become so routine that it lost its intended celebratory meaning for the team.


As Chief Product Owner for the organization, I was watching the different trends happening across our teams related to celebration and started brainstorming with our Product Owners about what we could try to positively shake up our celebration habits. I personally love gamified apps for working out as well as professional development and so started to wonder about ways to gamify the celebration ritual. I proposed to our teams the idea of trying a random wheel spin with a variety of team selected celebrations when the Sprint goal is reached. I asked the teams to agree on at least five items to add to the wheel, but they actually agreed on seven items they wanted to have.


Below is a screenshot of the celebration wheel our teams have saved via randomspinwheel.com to use during our weekly Retrospectives so that the celebration method the team will use if they met their Sprint Goal is randomly selected live while the team watches the wheel spin on the screen.




Yes, what you see is correct. One of the items the team selected of the seven things they came up with was listening to one of the two team-proclaimed theme songs. Yet another was 15 minutes of extra water cooler time during the upcoming Sprint (as a fully-remote team we’ve been having a weekly 15-minute “water cooler” calendar commitment for over a year to provide designated time for full group chat versus only the one-on-one conversations that happen virtually before/after meetings and over Slack). And you guessed it, one of the seven items was still the 15-minute early end to the week.


We are only a few Sprints (so a few weeks in since we run one week Sprints) into this new way of approaching our celebrations, but the teams seem to have a new excitement each Retrospective when the Sprint Goal has been met to see what celebration they will land on together.


What unique ways have you mixed up your celebration routines with your team(s) to keep the excitement and energy high around celebrating achieving your goals? I’d love to hear! Let me know in the comments below, or reach out directly.