To fully understand Scrum, knowledge about events, roles and artifacts is not enough. They are important, but the heart of the Scrum are Values: commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect.
The reason why I would like to highlight importance of the values in this post is that they can be lost in a bunch of processes, methods or improvements. In the middle of the race to achieve success, we have a tendency to forget WHY we are doing it. What was the purpose of our actions? And that’s the moment when values can help us to evaluate if we are on the right track or not.
When you are committed, it doesn’t mean that you are doing it because you must do it, but because you want to do it. In Scrum commitment can be demonstrated in multiple ways e.g. to people, Sprint Goal or own work.
What does it mean in daily activities? Taking responsibility for tasks that we committed to finish, being actively involved in all events. It means also asking questions, if there is something that we don’t understand or letting know about bugs and issues.
Why is commitment important in Scrum? Great high quality products are not created by people who “must”, they are developed by those who “want”!
This value is strictly related to Transparency (one of the 3 pillars of empiricism). When it comes to telling the truth, especially when it is not a comfortable situation for us, it requires courage. In daily life it means talking about problems, expressing opinion, even if it is different. You need to have the courage to tell about your mistakes or ask team members for help.
How can we connect this value with Scrum? Without courage you cannot be transparent and without being transparent you are not able to adapt to changes, a crucial part of the product development.
In Scrum all events have a purpose and they are time-boxed (it means that they have a maximum duration time). It helps team members to be focused on their work and the Sprint Goal. In order to achieve what our customer wants, we need to focus on their needs.
Scrum allows us to be focused on the most important elements: customer’s needs (reflected in the Sprint Goal), work that needs to be done to fulfill them and collaboration with other team members in order to achieve it. Focus means also no unnecessary distractions. Scrum Master should protect the Development Team from that and remove all impediments on their way.
This value is also part of the Transparency. It can mean sharing your ideas and knowledge with others. Openness is also related to being transparent about daily activities and challenges that appear during our work.
The important part of the Scrum is being open for changes and adapting to them. During inspection events like Retrospective, openness can help to find out what went well during the Sprint and what should be improved. That’s how the team can constantly improve their work and develop their skills.
Respect is definitely my favourite Scrum Value. I believe that lack of respect is the reason for most of the communication and product delivery issues. Only by respecting people, we can collaborate with them and have our mind open for their ideas.
In the Scrum Team, it is really important to respect the way people think, work and their level of skills. Showing respect means not judging if someone makes mistakes, but helping to fix them. This value is also important in regards to all interactions with the client. Respect helps in developing trustworthy relationships and understanding client’s needs.
The best thing related to values is that there are multiple ways of expressing and interpreting them. Every Scrum Team can have a little bit different vision of above values, but it is important to talk about them and be aware of their impact. Human body cannot survive without a heart and Scrum doesn’t work at all without values.