With the onset of the spring season approaching quickly, so are the seasonal changes that lead to people feeling less than 100%. For agile teams everywhere, velocities are at risk - not just from a staff member being sick, but for multiple agile team members getting sick as a result of someone who should stay at home (to get better), instead of coming to back work too soon.
I started referring to this as Agile Spread last year, when we had a team member miss a couple days, due to sickness. The individual returned on day three, when it was obvious that their sickness was not completely gone. After being in the room with all of us for a day, we finally convinced the individual to go back home.
Unfortunately, that was not quickly enough, because the fallout from returning to the office too soon caused a couple other team members to start experiencing the same symptoms. What's even worse, is that a couple days later, two more team members seemed to encounter the same symptoms. As a result, our velocity took a hit for that Sprint, since we had three team members missing work.
If You Are Sick — Stay Home
One of the ground rules for our Agile team is that "if you are sick or not feeling well, do everyone a favor and stay home." If you feel like you are able to work, go for it. Just use your VPN connection and work remotely. Use of chat tools, email and our sprint boards allow remote work to occur without any issues.
Our agile room is ample in size, but no room is big enough to combat someone who is not well and spreading something through the ventilation system. That's what happened in our case. It started with light sneezes and worked its way into a subtle cough - then the rest of the symptoms kicked in and the team member took a quick dive into feeling terrible.
It seemed like it took a few weeks to get through this vicious cycle, but we did. Now, everyone is on guard, ready to boot someone out if they come into work sick. Really, it's nothing personal, except we don't want to be sick too.
Have a really great day!