Scrum Values

Scrum Values

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One of the most popular Agile frameworks, Scrum, is extensively used by various organizations throughout the world. This is because it inculcates a sense of responsibility in individuals, gives shape to complex problems, and enables work to keep moving steadily. Moreover, Scrum is very flexible and can adapt to any kind of culture and situation. Every organization and enterprise has its own set of values, and so does Scrum. 

Scrum has 5 values that guide every individual of the team and Stakeholder in making decisions. These are very important values and are crucial to successfully implementing the Scrum framework in the organization. Just as organizational values drive organizational behavior, the Scrum values drive the behavior of the Scrum team members and help them realize their full potential. If you have managed or led a Scrum Team or are managing it, you would certainly know that it is only by fully understanding and applying these 5 Scrum values the organizations can reap the full benefits of the Scrum framework. These values are the foundation stones of the Scrum framework. The project needs to achieve its full potential and every team member commits to adhering to and following these values. The power of Scrum is further boosted by these values as they provide the direction for decision-making.

5 Scrum Values

The 5 Scrum values are described below:

1. Commitment

Commitment is the first Scrum value. This is necessary if an Agile culture is to be developed in the organization. It may look simple, considering its literal meaning. To many, it may mean attending the work daily with a positive attitude, meeting the deadlines, and following the instructions to the hilt. However, in the context of Scrum, commitment is about remaining dedicated to the goals set as a team. This commitment should be akin to the commitment of the members of a military unit, who have to go through several life-and-death situations and things can change in a jiffy; every member of the unit has to remain fully committed to the success of the mission and to the remembers of the unit. You may say that projects may not be life and death matters. It may be true to a large extent, but the same level of desperation must be shown for the completion and success of the project. Scrum teams must work like such units and collaborate closely to achieve the common goal. 

This brings to the fore the matter of trust. Each member must trust the other members and their ability to deliver the best value. This can be accomplished only when each team member is fully committed to the team, the project, and the organizational goals. Another important aspect of commitment is that the teams commit to completing as much work as possible within the given time frame. An important role has to be played by the Scrum Masters and team leaders in encouraging commitment within the team. They can do this by enabling Sprint Planning in a proper way so that mid-Sprint disturbances are minimized and the team stays protected from any sudden changes in the project scope as also from avoidable pressure from other stakeholders. Scrum emphasizes continuous improvement and optimizing efforts. So, an important aspect of commitment is constantly reflecting on the common goals and ensuring the right prioritization of tasks so that maximum value can be delivered. A very good way of fostering commitment is through the right kind of communication of Scrum Masters and team leaders with other members of the team.

2. Focus

This second one of the 5 Scrum values states, "Everyone focuses on the work of the Sprint and the goal of the Scrum team." As the teams are dealing with complex and unpredictable projects, focusing on the job at hand becomes imperative if any worthwhile results are to be achieved. Focus is all about not deviating and staying on course and aiding the other members of the team in doing so. The Sprint is the main element of the Scrum framework which is a period of work that is time-bound and clearly defined for completing a series of tasks to accomplish a stated goal. So, to focus on these tasks, teams must remove distractions to the maximum and try to multitask because these distractions can add to the time required to complete the Sprint and the team may deviate from the results it is supposed to achieve. This may lead to working overtime, defeating Agile's very purpose. The focus must be on the tasks being done and their effect on the stated Sprint Goal. 

The iterative, incremental approach used in Scrum and delivering on time are the hallmarks of staying focused on the Sprint Goal. This inspires the team to produce more and deliver faster. Standup meetings are important in explaining the Sprint Goal to the team and planning what and how much would be done in the given timeframe. Scrum Masters should talk freely with the team members about how much workload an individual can carry so that they are given only achievable tasks, which will help them stay focused. Overloading individual members would only overwhelm them. So, limiting the Work in Progress (WIP) is a good way to promote focus. There are elements in Scrum that encourage focus. Some of them are described below:

  • The team's focus should be on the "Done Increment" until the end of a sprint.
  • The Scrum team's immediate focus is on the Sprint Goal, which guides it toward delivering what needs to be done.
  • Every role in Scrum has specific accountability and responsibility, which means every team member is clear about his or her priority and can focus on it. Ultimately, this contributes to achieving the team goal.
  • Sprint events are time-boxed in Scrum, which gives a sense of urgency to the whole team and helps them focus on the objective of the Sprint event.
  • When prioritization is done in the product backlog, the team knows what the most important thing to do is and can focus on that.
  • All these elements contribute to the team's better focus. Staying focused also helps reduce resource and time wastage, enabling timely delivery. 

3. Openness:

This is the third Scrum value. When we say openness, it means to keep an open mind, and in Scrum, it implies that during communication between different roles or disciplines, everyone should be open-minded and welcome new ideas or suggestions, which will aid better collaboration and result in a better forward movement of the entire team. The Scrum guide says this about openness, "The Scrum team and its stakeholders agree to be open about all the work and challenges with performing the work."  Openness can also be described as transparency, which is one of the three pillars of Scrum and a requirement of empiricism. So, everyone should be open about how the work is being done, the progress of the work, and the problems being faced. Moreover, the team should be open about collaborating with other disciplines and skills, with the other stakeholders, and with whoever is needed to achieve the team goal. Openness is also essential in sharing feedback and learning. 

Suppose the Scrum team strives to achieve maximum forward movement in the minimum time. In that case, each individual in the team must be open and rigorously honest about their own progress. Further, the team members have to be open about the problems they are facing during the daily Scrum meeting, as the meeting is meant to identify the problems and find their solutions. If the members are not open about their concerns, the very purpose of the meeting will be defeated. Openness with fellow team members is also essential and no member should view the other as a competitor. Instead, they should be seen as people making an invaluable contribution toward the project's success. Scrum Masters can take the lead in promoting openness in the team by being transparent about everything. There are a few elements in Scrum that encourage openness. Let us have a look at them also.

  • Although the team has a fixed Sprint Goal that guides progress, the plan to achieve this goal is flexible, and the team is open to changing the plan based on any new learning. 
  • If the Sprint is limited to 30 days or less, it encourages openness to changing direction when new information is received. 
  • Transparency in the product backlog shows openness with stakeholders and they would know what work has been planned and what follows next.
  • Since Sprint Retrospective is focused on continuous improvement, it promotes openness in receiving feedback, reflecting on it, and changing the way of working.

4. Respect

This is the fourth one but certainly not the least one of the Scrum values. Respecting people means treating them equally regardless of age, education, or background. In Scrum, it means that one member's contribution is no less valuable than any other team member. What is important is how all the members function as a team toward achieving the team goal. Respect should also be given to the customers and other stakeholders. Every member of the team must appreciate the skills and capabilities of the other members of the team. Mutual respect within the team should encourage respecting others' views and opinions even if people disagree with them. The Scrum guide says for respect, "The Scrum team members respect each other to be capable, independent people." So, in essence, it emphasizes trusting other team members once the roles have been assigned. Since the Scrum teams are self-organizing, respect for each other is indispensable. 

This will nurture an environment of productivity, engagement, and nice human behavior. The Scrum framework has many elements that promote respect, which are described below.

When the whole team attends the Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective meetings, it fosters a culture of respect for every role, responsibility, and different viewpoint. 

As the Development team owns the product backlog and does the work, they get to decide how much work they will do in a Sprint and the method of doing it. This shows their respect for their capabilities, knowledge, and skills.

A development team is a cross-functional team with people with different skills and experiences. This promotes respect for diverse skills and ideas.

When the team reviews only the "Done" product in Sprint Review, it demonstrates respect for the stakeholders as it brings the actual progress in front of them with transparency. Besides, when the Product Owner sets realistic goals, it again shows respect for the stakeholders' expectations.

Scrum focuses on delivering the highest possible value. This shows respect for the organization and its resources (including money) by not spending money on unnecessary or unimportant items.

Apart from the above, respect means that no member or leader of the team should micromanage what other is doing. Nor should they erode anyone else's skills or abilities by trying to take over their tasks. When members have mutual respect, it encourages better communication which is a key factor in the success of any project.

5. Courage

Courage is essential for achieving anything. Courage is displayed when people push themselves beyond their comfort limits to achieve success. The Scrum guide says of courage, "The Scrum team members dare to do the right thing and work on tough problems." By doing the right things and focusing on the goal rather than yourself, you can accomplish great things, solve the most difficult problems, and produce amazing results. Also, the other values of Scrum like being open committed, and respecting others need courage. The Scrum teams must have the courage to be open about the progress they have made and the roadblocks they are facing. Asking for help also needs courage. So, they should not be afraid of seeking help whenever required. They should not be afraid of trying out new methods and should be ready to face the unknown. They should be willing to ask difficult questions if they are unable to understand something or encounter a problem.

Perhaps the greatest courage required is to accept the fact that nobody is perfect. So, each team member should be ready to accept others' imperfections and cooperate with each other for the overall benefit of the team and the stakeholders. The team needs to have the courage to take calculated risks. Here again, Scrum Masters have an essential role to play. They can lead by example by demonstrating courage. The ability to adapt quickly is the 

Embracing Courage and Scrum Values

Scrum framework's foundation. And accepting the change requires courage. So, Scrum Masters can play a vital role in nurturing courage in the team members. The ability to question the status quo when it hinders progress needs courage. Scrum Masters can demonstrate this by standing up to stakeholders for any undue or unwarranted changes.

We can say that the Scrum values are the guidelines for working as a team. So every member of the team should try to adopt them wholeheartedly. They foster teamwork. They also help the team to go through the most difficult situations and handle the most complex tasks. When all of these values are combined, they significantly improve a team's performance. These values help in creating standards that determine how a team functions. When teams adopt these 5 Scrum values, they follow the basic tenets of Scrum. The team works in harmony and produces optimum results.

Conclusion:


The essence of Scrum lies not only in its methodology but also in the values it upholds. Simpliaxis offers Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certifications to empower professionals in mastering these values. As one of the most widely embraced Agile frameworks, Scrum instills a sense of responsibility, shapes complex problems, and ensures steady progress. Its flexibility allows adaptation to diverse cultures and situations, while its five core values—Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect, and Courage—serve as guiding principles for effective teamwork and performance. By embracing these values wholeheartedly, teams can navigate challenges, achieve optimal results, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. With courage at its core, supported by the nurturing guidance of Scrum Masters, teams can challenge the status quo, drive progress, and excel in their endeavors.

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