Saturday, July 7, 2012

About the Happiness App

The response to the HappinessApp has been really gratifying. Happiness in general seems to be an idea whose time has come.

This app came about as I participated in the Delight-the-Client exercise of Steve Denning's and my Radical Management workshop in May. Given my role as Scrum/RM Trainer & Coach, how could I delight my customer faster?

I thought: The earliest side effect of introducing Scrum is often significantly improved staff morale. How could I make this improvement visible quickly? Employee surveys are time consuming and expensive. The idea for an app was born. I came home totally enthusiastic ("jazzed" as they say in the US), wrote a vision and some user stories, asked some colleagues what they thought of the idea.

The initial user feedback was (mostly) really positive -- and gave me some really important changes in direction from my original idea! So off I went. A tweet to find a development team - I found someone who really understood what I was trying to accomplish - and 3 weeks after the initial idea, development started.

The development process is of course Scrum. We do TDD and continuous integration. And I think the definition of done will take on three or four new items in the next sprint. Improvement is a continuous process.

Today, we are about to finish Sprint 4, and you can record your happiness level, display the history graphically, and install the app on your iPhone. A web site is up and you can register for the beta program. Next week, we plan to start inviting the first beta testers to participate and we'll start integrated the Happiness App into social media.

Every week, more features become available. Every week we can adjust the plan to take advantage of what we did and what learned last week. This is the really cool part of doing Scrum - the visibility of progress is obvious so I can adjust the plan can to best pursue the vision.