Kudo Cards to express gratitude and recognize talents

Leonor Bonets
7 min readAug 15, 2020


How to implement a light and different way of giving and receiving positive feedbacks? How to promote the recognition of good attitudes and not only good deliveries? How to do it all in a visual and fun way?

My first contact with Kudo Cards was at the Management 3.0 Foundation Workshop and it was love at first sight.

Kudo cards received at M30 Foundation Workshop

The day after the workshop I started planning the implementation of Kudo Cards in the team, but for that to work I carried out other practices to promote integration and unity, which you can check in the posts below:

With a mingled team, the next step was to prepare the following:

  • Kudo Cards;
  • Kudo Box;
  • Kudo Wall.

Kudo Cards Preparation

1. I requested the Brazilian Portuguese version of the cards on the Management 3.0 website;

2. I got geek-themed cards on the Agile League website;

3. I took the files to a printing company and had 10 of each printed per person.

Kudo cards

They look beautiful, don’t they?

Kudo Box preparation

I spent a lot of time making the box look joyful, positive and inviting! Even my daughter had fun placing some stickers :)

I draped and decorated a shoe box for the Kudos and also made another box for the blank cards and pen.

Kudo Box

Kudo Cards and Kudo Box presentation

I used Sprint Retrospective to present the material. I explained the meaning of the word KUDO:

“The public admiration that a person receives as a result of a particular achievement or position in society.” — dictionary.cambridge.org

Kudos is a noun used in the English language, originating in the Greek kydos, which serves to congratulate or recognize someone’s merit. It is synonymous with honor, glory and recognition.

I mentioned that everyone could give as many acknowledgments/thanks as they wanted for individuals and the team and long as they were positive points — that was the only rule.

Every card should be placed in the Kudo Box, which would be sealed until the next Sprint Retrospective when it would be opened and the kudos distributed.

I warned them not to leave the writing of the kudos for the last minute, as they would risk forgetting who to thank.

I left the cards and the Kudo Box on the table next to our desks, where we held our daily meetings.

Preparing the Kudo Wall

The Kudo Wall location must be carefully chosen, as not everyone is comfortable with this type of exposure, but at the same time, the Wall exists precisely to exhibit. It has to be close to the team and visible to others.

“Praise in public and correct in private.” — Mario Sergio Portella

I got a flipchart sheet and put it on the wall that was close to our desks, but far enough away from the hall so that other teams would have to walk among us to be able to see what was written. I got string and some small clothespins and set up a line to hang the cards.

Opening the Kudo Box

In the first weeks, the Scrum Master and I made sure to identify at least one kudo for each team member and put it in the box. We didn’t have much hope that the developers would write anything in this first round, as they were not used to giving thanks.

I took the Kudo Box to our Sprint Retrospective. Everyone was anxious for the opening of the box to find out if they had received something.

I opened the Kudo Box and each card was read by the person who received it. Some were embarrassed to read, others were thrilled, grateful, and even surprised!

After reading all the cards, it was time to hang them very proudly on our Kudo Wall:

Kudo Wall’s Grand Opening

Doesn’t it look great? Even the boys said it was beautiful!


We had more cards than we expected for a first-round, even the developers added thanks!

Throughout the Sprint I realized that the more you give thanks, the more you can identify the good things people do, which often goes unnoticed.

We have a person on the team who makes everyone coffee every morning. I thought it was nice to give him a kudo for our daily coffee and he was very happy for the recognition and everyone around him too because this attitude was already part of our routine and nobody noticed that it was something to be thankful for.

The Kudo Cards serve not only to congratulate people for technical or strictly professional skills but also for moral and personal highlights. To recognize these aspects within the team is an extremely important step for team building.

The implementation of this practice supplied the lack of feedback (either a 360 or a 1:1) felt by the team and reported negatively during Sprint Retrospectives.

Our Kudo Wall drew the attention of those who passed by the hall because nobody knew the Kudo Cards. In the very first week, our managers were curious about the it, both the immediate manager and the one above him. I explained the whole concept of kudos to them and how it was helping with the feedback in the team and they were very excited s and also put their kudos in!

The outcome could be seen in the second round, the team was surprised and happy to learn that they received recognition from coordination/management.

Kudo Wall after the second round

Lessons Learned

Kudo Cards was implemented in a multidisciplinary team with men and women between 22 and 45 years of age. I noticed that women and younger team members are the most participatory. The others don’t thank very much, even receiving kudos in every sprint, but I don’t give up!

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out” — Robert Collier

Online Kudo Cards

We were suddenly faced with the coronavirus pandemic and everyone stayed home working remotely. It was necessary to change the process of kudos to be carried out online.

Kudos can be created and filled out at kudobox.co:

The card image can be saved and kept in a virtual kudo box which is “opened” during the Sprint Retrospective.

Or you can create the card using the “Cards M3.0” app:

Once the card is filled, it is possible to send it to different means of communication, such as WhatsApp, Outlook, and the most interesting for us: Teams. Microsoft Teams is the company’s official means of communication and we have a specific group for our team to communicate. We can send kudos to the group or a person.

Sending kudos through the M3.0 app to Microsoft Teams and Whatsapp

I used Microsoft Teams Planner to create the virtual Kudo Box, where cards can be attached to a task. To maintain the dynamics of opening the box during the Sprint Retrospective, the task is configured so that the image is not displayed:

Virtual Kudo Box in Microsoft Teams

The Kudo Box is “opened” during the Sprint Retrospective, where each card is opened and assigned to the recipient:

Opening of the virtual Kudo Box

Once we have opened all cards they are placed on our Confluence page:

Personal learnings about the move from in-person to virtual

Managing virtually the kudo box and the kudo wall take quite an effort while the physical ones doesn’t.

Did I mention how great and beautiful the physical kudo wall was?

Well, the virtual kudo wall does not have the charm of physics and is not so functional since it’s not visible to everyone all the time.

On the other hand, printing kudos is not necessary, just having an internet connection and willingness to thank! Isn’t that the kudos’ intention? ;)



Leonor Bonets

Group Product Manager/ Tribe Leader/ Management 3.0