Activity discussion – Neos Sprint 2015 – Frankfurt

Notes of the discussion about (in)activity during the codesprint in Frankfurt.

We discussed how we should define if people are active, and how we should recognise inactive people. This is important so we can have a fair and open attitude while discussing open spots in the teams.

General thoughts

  • As we’ve different fields of work we’ve also differences in measuring activity, and we should reflect that.
  • Make people (active) member should not be based on personal likings. Same for ‘confronting’ someone with inactivity.
  • We should not favor the old crew.
  • We need to define a concrete, measurable rule.
  • Special circumstances should be handled by synchronizer with common sense
  • Activity / Inactivity counts for team members
  • The synchronizer should get back to people who tend to become inactive
  • Inactive team members will not be on the active team member list and can be replaced by (not kicked out) an active contributor can fill up his skills
  • After for example half a year of inactivity you’re removed from the team
  • It makes sense to have a minimum amount of time per month that needs to be spent (in the end an average per year including sprints). As a rule of thumb we’ve talked about roughly 8 hours a month excluding meetings. Add a sprint and you’d probably have a total contribution time (including meetings) around 16 hours a month or more.

What to measure

What we can measure seems to boil down to:

  • Time spent (we don’t aim for asking for logs :stuck_out_tongue: )
  • Presence (meetings, slack)
  • Contribution (actual tasks, technical discussions, and so on)

Meeting time

With the new team structure it’s extremely important to be an active participator of meetings. Also the presence in meetings is easiest to measure. Because of the importance we would aim for a minimal presence during those meetings:

  • Standups
    • Actively participate in all standups, be it via discourse or actual joining in a hangout
    • Join at least one standup hangout a month
  • Planning / Retrospective meetings
    • Actively participate in all of those, be it via discourse, via communication with the synchronizer or actual joining the meeting
    • Join at least every other meeting


We’ve discussed how the proposed badges system could help in displaying activity. As we don’t aim for controlling we could even allow people to send in an amount of time they’ve spend over a month. After a small check for example a synchronizer could just give out a batch for that.

By giving out batches also easily show & reward active contributors

This is all still in a very rough state, but we’re very interested to receive feedback.


Regarding meetings: I’m sometimes reluctant to join a meeting because I have this oh-so-much-time-for-so-few-gain feeling. We should definitely work on making meetings more effective and plan them, otherwise it can add up and become a waste of resources. Meetings are also special for me because they require me to be available at a specific point in time, with a stable internet connection. That sometimes can make it hard to join.

I recommend thinking about how we can keep live-meetings to a minimum and make them more effective. Maybe read this for inspiration:

And you might have guessed it: yeah, a new tool, that we also might test-ride :wink:

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