One of the most powerful exercises we run during our Advanced Certified Scrum Master (ACSM) is the Journey Lines and Top Traits exercise. I thought I would share the details of the exercise here, so you can run it with your own team.
I took inspiration from an exercise in Lyssa’s book called Journey Lines. The process is simple – on a blank chart (like the one here) a team charts their professional career as journey through positive and negative emotions.
They can add any life events they feel are pertinent, and even annotate the line to help explain it. The idea is that all team members complete their own journey lines as the first part of the exercise – this typically takes 5-10 minutes.
The follow up to the journey lines exercise is something we have added ourselves. We give each team member a “Top Traits” card (like the one shown below).
Then one member of the team will narrate their journey, while the rest of the team listen. We encourage team members to only share what they want to share (to increase safety) and ask the listeners to resist interrupting. Once the narrator has described their whole journey, the listening team members are invite to answer the question “What attributes does this person (the narrator) bring to this team?”.
This idea being that the listeners will suggest personality traits (based on their own emotional intelligence and intuition) of their fellow team member. If the narrator “accepts” that they have that trait, they write it onto their Top Trait card. We continue that process until five traits have been suggested and accepted. The narrator can reject a suggested trait if it’s way off the mark. Once traits have been filled in, the remainder of the card is completed – the narrator is challenged to share a nickname they have (currently or previously), draw a self-portrait in the top corner, and state their SUPERPOWER. This is a skill they feel they have more than anyone else. Repeat this process for all team members, until everyone has a complete Top Trait card (usually about 8 minutes per team member).
Hope you enjoy the exercise – give it a try and let me know how it goes! Interested to experience this exercise first hand? Check out or upcoming Advanced Certified Scrum Master (ACSM) classes near you!