February 19, 2021
Quite a lot has already been written about Scrum Values. And for good reason. I also believe that they are of such essential importance in connection with the three pillars of Scrum (Transparency, Inspection and Adaptation) that I would like to go into them again in this article.
The Scrum Guide says the following about the Scrum Values:
These values give direction to the Scrum Team with regard to their work, actions, and behavior. The decisions that are made, the steps taken, and the way Scrum is used should reinforce these values, not diminish or undermine them. The Scrum Team members learn and explore the values as they work with the Scrum events and artifacts. When these values are embodied by the Scrum Team and the people they work with, the empirical Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to life building trust..
Scrum Guide 2020
Scrum is more about the behaviour than the process. In relation to the Scrum Values one could also say
The easy thing about Scrum is to know the components of the framework. The difficult thing about Scrum is that its strength only unfolds through sincere adherence to the Scrum values.
It is therefore essential for the success of a Scrum Team that it has internalised these Scrum Values and also lives them in its daily work.
Let's look at the five values and their short description (according to scrum.org) again and reflect on them:
Scrum Team members have courage to do the right thing and work on tough problems
In my opinion, this value refers in particular to being able to ask uncomfortable questions in an unbiased manner and to give honest feedback. Criticism should always be constructive and, if it becomes personal, always take into account Respect. For example, what use would a Sprint Review be if no honest statements were made? If the Scrum Team does not dare to contradict stakeholders (the same applies the other way round, of course) and no open discussion can take place, the Sprint Review becomes a simple presentation.
Everyone focuses on the work of the Sprint and the goals of the Scrum Team
This value is about the Scrum Team being able to concentrate on its original tasks. Sometimes this is not possible because parts of the team are surprised by urgent tasks that are not part of the sprint backlog. Usually, the product owner makes sure that such situations do not occur.
A good example of Focus is the Daily Scrum meeting. In our Scrum Team we have the tendency that the Daily Scrum meeting is used as a kind of status report of the individual developers. Instead, the Scrum Team should clearly focus on the Sprint Goal. Part of this is, of course, also the progress of the individual developers - but with regard to the Sprint Goal that was jointly set beforehand in Sprint Planning.
People personally commit to achieving the goals of the Scrum Team
Commitment is about dedication, perseverance, engagement. It's not so much about reaching a certain goal in a given period of time. In the development of complex software, this is difficult to predict anyway. As a Scrum Team, for example, we commit to good cooperation, to adhering to our previously defined quality guidelines, to transparency, to questioning processes and adapting them if necessary, and of course to following the Scrum Values.
We have already identified an example of a lack of commitment in some of our retrospectives. Things were identified and recorded as needing improvement but not taken into account in the following because they were considered less important in the heat of the moment. With a little more commitment, such improvements would also be implemented - they usually bring added value.
Scrum Team members respect each other to be capable, independent people
An absolutely essential value. Lack of respect undermines people working together. And without good cooperation, no Scrum Team and no cooperation of Scrum Teams with stakeholders will work. Nothing more to say.
The Scrum Team and its stakeholders agree to be open about all the work and challenges with performing the work
Transparency, openness and honesty enable the Scrum Team to tackle complex tasks together. Developers are open to the problems and questions in the team. There is no collusion between stakeholders and team members or dishonest behaviour. The Scrum Team is open to change and new technologies, open to making adjustments and not setting barriers for themselves. Among other things, it also requires courage to be open. Without having all information openly presented, no good decisions can be made. For me, openness is one of the most important Scrum Values of all.
Together with the basic pillars of the Scrum framework - Transparency, Inspection and Adaptation - the discussed Scrum Values form the heart of Scrum, so to speak. If a Scrum Team has internalised these values and reflects them in its daily work, it will successfully manage complex tasks through collaborative work and this will lead to satisfaction and fulfilment of the team players. What could be more beautiful in working life?
Working as a software engineer for many years mostly in the JVM environment. Skilled in Scrum and Agile practices, currently scrum master of nerd.vision.