Scrum Values and The Tale of the Cowardly Cow

Today I was self-respecting – as I often do towards the end of an engagement – and found myself looking for inspirational quotes around opportunity..of which plenty abounds in India.  As I considered everything I happened upon in the last six months, both professional and personal, I realise that I have been lacking in something.  Courage.

As I tried to focus on when and where and how to improve I began to correlate with Scrum values.  Over the last several years these ideals became so embedded in my way of working that I simply forgot about them..and recent exploration has confirmed my fears – that most people who are actively pursuing or practicing Scrum are also lacking in conscious knowledge of these core ideals.    I only recall ever seeing these in black and white in the very first Scrum book I read by Ken Schwaber and I can’t think of reading anything relating these directly to the Scrum practices.  If you have, please let me know!

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So, what are Scrum Values?

These are simply the traits that guide good Scrum.

WARNING: these values will probably lead to a great life too…

Commitment…. to commit is to pledge or engage in, interestingly the prefix -com- means together and completely.  We human beings make commitments every day simply by being.  We commit to be at work when we’re supposed to, we engage in picking up milk on the way home (just as we pledged in the morning), we make ..and meet… a lot of small commitments as a matter of habit. I often think this value is more about conscious commitment – making a promise together and doing everything we can to keep it (remember that sustainable pace!).  We need to be equally aware as a team of our commitments to each other in order to deliver what we initially promised.

Commitment is the driver for sprint planning, and it’s required from everyone involved in that sprint – be they scrum team members or temporarily assigned or needed by the scrum team.  And it continues to drive daily stand-ups when we pledge to our team what we will take on next so that they can plan their work better.

Focus is about concentration and direct attention.  For Scrum teams this can be portrayed in a simple picture showing who focuses on what.

Scrum focus by role

Focus is required throughout sprints, from planning to retrospecting.  Everybody should have only one priority to focus on at any given time, this means each development team member should be giving all of their attention to a single feature or user story! (These folks should be protected from outside noise too by the bigger circles.)  Focus does not necessarily increase productive hours, but it will certainly increase quality and probably morale to boot (less stress!)

More on Openness, Respect and Courage to come…

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