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Examples of Team Morale Boosters

Last post 10:32 pm December 6, 2019 by John Varela II
10 replies
04:02 pm December 5, 2019


I'm Scrum Master for two teams. I have the same PO for both. While other team SM/PO's reward their teams with team outings and breakfast, we generally just give praise during Retros and have a strong rapport/relationship. 

We love our teams and want to reward them for doing great work. We also know they stress a bit in a crunch (end of project) and want to boost their morale.  

What do you all do to reward your teams? Big and small, let me know!

04:20 pm December 5, 2019

Rewards for good work is tricky, because when you do it (and when you don't) and with which team can have the opposite effect.

What I do is: celebrate successes together! So have one big cake for both teams, if one of the teams has done some exceptional thing.

When it comes to teambuilding (which you might see as a reward), my teams have budgets to spend. They decide themselves what to do with it. Next to that I organize teambuilding sessions on the subjects of trust and transparency, which are activities which do not cost anything.

Also, there is no problem with team organizing AND paying for something right? I had breakfast events in the pass where everyone brought things themselves and we put them together. We can compliment eachother on their cooking at the same time ;)

04:24 pm December 5, 2019

Thanks Xander, 

Could you share some ideas on the team building sessions on trust and transparency? 

Best Regards,


05:02 pm December 5, 2019

There are some great exercises and activities that you can use here:


08:48 pm December 5, 2019

Thanks Xander! One small problem is that the department has lunches together on Fridays and we have just gone through a string of birthdays where there was a cake just about every week. Add in Thanksgiving and food may actually result in less morale haha

I really appreciate the ideas though. One team went rock-climbing together. I guess throwing axes could be productive too. lol 


01:50 am December 6, 2019

I currently work with a Scrum Master who is loved by all. He gets the job done. He's a cheerful and likable individual. In addition, he brings home-cooked breakfast and desserts (native to his cultural background) for the team every few weeks. He does this out-of-pocket.

Food is the easiest to do. Ask management or HR to reimburse you. But if they don't, it would be your call to invest in your team.

Small dollar-amount gift cards are great too. 

Anything that makes the team members feel appreciated.

05:28 am December 6, 2019

What do you all do to reward your teams?

In my experience, the best reward a team can have is to be acknowledged and taken seriously by the organization. If executives can recognize a team’s value by demonstrating servant-leadership, and tackle the organizational impediments which have been raised and which get in the team’s way, then the team will feel rewarded. 

02:12 pm December 6, 2019

Mark, food is an eternal team builder. We definitely get fed in our department. Also, we sit in a room of 30 people. I always feel I alienate the others if I just reward our team/teams. 

Ian, I absolutely agree. Our company/executives/managers do a good job of recognition and I make sure in our Retro's to point out how well they are doing and when I see improvements. 

I will definitely take a mix of everyone's suggestions and try hard in 2020 to give some extra small fun things to boost morale. 

03:21 pm December 6, 2019

Did you look at tools like Moving Motivators in order to know what is their personnal fuel ?

05:11 pm December 6, 2019

I follow @Ian Mitchell's method and have found that the team feels much more rewarded.  Anything else comes from the team itself.  They will organize outings, happy hours, lunches on their own. I support them when I can by helping with the logistics, arranging for the company to cover costs occasionally.  If the team feels good about the work they are doing and feel appreciated for doing it, rewards and recognition is felt.

10:32 pm December 6, 2019

I'm gonna apply a different perspective to this conversation.

To build morale indicates there is a need to identify what team success actually is rather than identify the mechanism that resonates in their ability to feel appreciated.

Teams want to be recognized for doing/achieving what they believe makes them successful at being a very good Scrum Team. I specifically use the words Scrum Team and not Dev Team because the health of collaboration together as a Scrum Team, simply weighs more and means more.

Often times working hard to deliver something huge at the right time doesn't feel good.

To many teams, that's a problem and if the company doesn't recognize that fact, then the team will know that they truly don't have the respect and support of the company on their side. Like any stakeholder, they are only happy if they get the results that makes them feel good.

  • Why is the team working so hard? 
  • Are they working more/longer days?
  • Who set the delivery day and feature expectations if it wasn't the team itself?
    • Is there a plan to shift this ownership back onto the Scrum Team?
  • Do they feel they are over-developing or wasting time doing gold-plating?
  • Do they feel they should be working on something else? "Why this right now?"
  • Are they in control of their backlog?

Sometimes it's about ensuring the team has sufficient ownership in their work to be proud of why they worked hard, that work was the right work.

Other ways of recognizing the team is to allow them to provide feedback and be taken seriously about the changes they'd like to make going forward. Delivering on something they own and worked the way they wanted to will really help them enjoy success because they defined it, created it, and achieved it.

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