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International Scrum Master Foundation

Steen Lerche-Jensen

3.4 Five Scrum Values

Some years ago, five values were added to the framework that each member of the team uses to guide their decision-making. Since the values are quite new, not many people know and understand them, but they are important to the successful implementation of scrum.
Let us have a look at them:

The development team members have the courage to do the right thing and work on tough problems. The team members support each other in doing the right thing and in taking informed risks so that we may learn and improve along our path to greatness including:

  • Admitting that nobody is perfect
  • Delivering undone versions of product
  • Sharing all possible information to help the team and the organization
  • Admitting there are no perfect requirements for capturing and facing fast changes in reality

Everyone focuses on the work of the sprint and the goals of the development team. When we are dealing with complexity and unpredictability, focus is essential in order to get anything meaningful done. Because we focus on only a few things at a time, we deliver the most valuable items sooner. The scrum framework includes elements that help promote focus:

  • The team should focus on having a Done increment at least by the end of every sprint.
  • Each scrum role has a distinct accountability, which helps individuals know what to focus on as their priority. Ultimately, this contributes to team work outcomes.
  • The development team focuses on a sprint goal to guide the team in what to deliver.
  • The product backlog is a prioritized order of tasks, that directs focus on what is the most important thing to do next.
  • Time-boxed sprint events create a sense of urgency and help us focus on the purpose of the event.
  • The scrum events and artefacts help create focus on inspecting progress and new information, so the team can adapt at frequent enough intervals.

Development team members must be committed to success and be willing to create realistic goals and stick to them. Perceiving individual achievements as secondary, every scrum role commits to the success of the team, thus, creating an environment of trust, productive problem solving, and high team standards. The keys to this are as follows:

  • The product owner demonstrates commitment by making the best decisions to optimize the value of the product, not simply trying to please every stakeholder.
  • The scrum master demonstrates commitment by upholding the scrum framework, which means we do not extend the sprint or other time-boxes under pressure to get to Done.
  • The scrum master also demonstrates commitment by removing impediments that the

development team cannot resolve themselves, rather than tolerating the status quo in the organization.

  • The development team demonstrates commitment by creating an increment that meets their definition of Done and not something that is almost done.

As self-organizing teams, we cannot do without respect for each other, in order to cultivate an engaged, productive, and humane environment for all. The scrum framework includes elements that help promote respect:

  • The entire development team attends sprint planning, the sprint review, and the sprint retrospective. This promotes respect for each role, the accountabilities, and diverse perspectives.
  • The development team is cross-functional, which means as a whole it has all of the skills necessary to deliver a Done product increment. This promotes respect for everyone’s experiences, skills, and ideas, as well as learning and growth.
  • The development team owns the sprint backlog. Since they are the ones doing the work, they decide how much they can do in a sprint and how to do the work. This demonstrates respect for their knowledge and skills, as well as respect for working at a sustainable pace.
  • By only reviewing a Done product in a sprint review, we bring transparency to our true progress. This demonstrates respect for our stakeholders.
  • A product owner seeks input from, collaborates with, and sets realistic expectations for stakeholders. This is another demonstration of respect for stakeholders.
  • The scrum master’s focus is on the health of the development team and the effective use of scrum. Having a role that focuses on teaching, facilitating, and coaching demonstrates a respect for people and teams and their capacity for growth.
  • Scrum’s focus on delivering value shows respect to our organization by not spending money on low value features or things that may never be used.
  • Having a potentially releasable increment by the end of the sprint shows respect to our organization by not forcing more investment to realize value. It gives the organization the flexibility to make investment decisions.

The empiricism of scrum requires transparency and openness by making known the arrangement of our work, our progress, our learning, and our problems. The team should be open to collaborate across disciplines and skills, to collaborate with stakeholders and the wider environment, to share feedback and learn from one another. The scrum framework includes elements that help promote openness:

  • Limiting a sprint to 30 days or less promotes an openness to changing direction base on new information.
  • The sprint goal is fixed and provides guidance, but the plan for reaching the goal is open to change based on what the development team is learning.
  • A transparent product backlog demonstrates openness with our stakeholders about what is planned for the product (and what is not planned) and what is likely to be next.
  • The focus of the sprint retrospective on continuous improvement of the team’s interactions, processes, and tools invites an openness to feedback, reflection, and changing how we work.
  • The sprint review demonstrates openness to sharing progress with our stakeholders, as well as openness to feedback and collaboration with them.

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