“So who’s cooking today?”
Not everyone is in the office on every day. Team members may be at school, appointments, on holiday or working remotely. We needed a system that handles cooking duty fairly and without penalizing the people who eat with the team less often. We think that we have found a very elegant solution: The (uncreatively named) ring system.
Each team member has a stack of rings on a small board in the kitchen. Whoever has the least amount of rings on a given day has to cook. The cook then gets “paid” with a ring by everyone who enjoys whatever he or she prepared. Easy, isn’t it? And in case the person with the fewest rings is not present or swamped with work, the one next in line dons the chef’s hat. The system is robust and fault-tolerant — it doesn’t actually matter when you cook because you’re always paid fairly.
New team members receive 8 rings (each) on their first day at work. For us, this has worked well with a team size of 8-10 people.
The system has now been in place for over ten years and is one of the most popular traditions in the company, both with the team and our customers. It feels absolutely natural to sit down together with all project stakeholders after a long meeting or workshop and wrap up the results in a relaxed atmosphere with good food and refreshing drinks. Lunch with the whole team is also a good time to talk about on-going projects, personal matters or the latest gadgets and rumors.