Nov 23, 2021
Entrepreneurship
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 min read

How Fucked am I Matrix: What your Retrospective has been Missing

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The How Fucked am I Matrix (or HFI Matrix) was designed for team members to not only learn about how they optimally operate, but also about their fellow teammates.

It monitors each member’s energy level and workload each week which gives both them and you a good idea of where everyone on the team stands. This does three things for the entire team:

  1. In the short term, it allows you to see who might have too much on their plate and who might have too little on their plate for the week.
  2. In the long term, it helps you learn about each member’s energy and work cycles (EX. John is typically really motivated and has lots of stuff to do for two-ish weeks. Then he usually has very little energy the next week and needs some help getting tasks done. John can also take notice of this cycle and start mitigating his crash by taking some rest time during the second week of his typical cycle.)
  3. Creates an open culture. Sharing how energized you are and talking about how you feel in general helps slowly build and maintain an open company culture.

In short, how do you use it?

To use the HFI Matrix, get your small/core team together and have each person place themselves on the matrix based on how energized they are feeling and how much work they feel like they have. Then, have each person (including yourself) talk about why they placed themselves where they did.

I’ve found that it works best when using it twice per week, once in a Monday standup and then again later in the week in a retrospective. This allows team members to think about how their energy and workload changed throughout the week. They can start to really dig into what changes those two things.

Also, I’ve found this helpful as just a personal, random check in to see how I’m feeling throughout the week.

Matrix Breakdown

Axis: Vertical (Workload)

The vertical axis is your workload, from low on the bottom of the axis to high on the top of the axis.

Axis: Horizontal (Energy)

The horizontal axis is your energy, from low energy on the left end of the axis to high energy on the right end of the axis.

Quadrants

In general, each quadrant represents the following:

  1. Upper right = High energy, a good amount of work to do.
  2. Upper Left = Low energy, a good amount of work to do.
  3. Lower left = Low energy, not much work to do.
  4. Lower Right = High energy, not much work to do.

What to do when you or a teammate is in a certain quadrant of the matrix

  1. Upper right = Not much, this is a team member that is feeling good and is taking on a good amount of work. There is a risk of burnout.
  2. Upper Left = This team member likely needs some tasks taken off their plate and delegated to team members who are further right on the energy axis, likely to those who are in Quadrant 4.
  3. Lower left = This team member might need some help or they could possibly just need to rest and rejuvenate.
  4. Lower Right = This team member’s potential is possibly being underutilized. They can likely help others out who are in Quadrant 3.

In general:

  • People in Quadrant 1 are best suited to help those in Quadrant 3
  • People in Quadrant 4 are best suited to help those in Quadrant 2

HFI In Use

Here are some examples of using this with my team over the past year. You’ll see that we use each matrix twice per week, once on Monday during our standup and once on Friday during our retrospective. We often talk about what effected where we were on the matrix throughout the week and try to map out that journey with an arrow path.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me at hello(at)danstrangfeld.com