Scrum Values – What Do They REALLY Mean?

Elyse PlattFri, 08/23/2019 - 16:30

I had the opportunity to co-teach the Professional Scrum Foundations (PSF) course recently. This experience got me thinking about how we can live the Scrum values each day and what can be attained when we truly embrace these values and avoid getting caught up in the practices.

Commitment to behaviors, not outputs. We may forecast work items and set goals; we are not committing to a set of Product Backlog Items as new items may emerge and others may change or become obsolete. We commit to the success of the team which includes continuous improvement and always doing our best work to deliver value. I heard a great analogy from Agile Coach and Professional Scrum Trainer, Jeff Maleski. A sports team may be committed to winning, but they may not win every time; this doesn’t change the spirit of their commitment.

Focus on the work of the Sprint. Focus helps get things done sooner and minimize waste. For example, the Development Team’s shared accountability to deliver a “Done” Increment creates focus on an outcome rather than on individual tasks.

Respect each other to be capable, independent people with diverse experiences, skills, opinions and personalities. We respect stakeholders by only reviewing “Done” Increments in a Sprint Review. We respect the framework and its purpose while developing our own unique applications and complementary practices.

Courage to do the right thing and work on tough problems. We ask clarifying questions and admit what we do not know; we hold each other accountable and engage in productive conflict; we do not cut corners under pressure and do not work on low-value features; we have the courage to change direction when necessary.

Openness about all work and challenges with performing the work. There is openness in transparent (visible and comprehensible) artifacts.

If something doesn’t seem right or practices seem to lose their impact, it’s time to revisit these values and ensure we are attaining the purpose of Scrum. It is in living the Scrum values that we create trust; when trust is present, transparency can thrive; once things are transparent, we can inspect progress or deviations and adapt accordingly.