Recently a new version of the Scrum Guide was introduced, describing the Scrum Values (commitment, courage, focus, openness, respect) again. These values were removed from an earlier version of the Scrum guide, but now reintroduced. Kenn Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland (the co-creators of Scrum) explain this reintroduction in this extended video: https://www.scrum.org/About/All-Articles/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1020/Changes-to-the-Scrum-Guide–ScrumPulse-Episode-14
It’s a good idea to take these values to your Scrum team and introduce them. Scrum Masters should know about these values and how to interpret them. Because, as with many things: if you don’t interpret them the right way, it could have dramatic consequences.
Gunther Verheijen blogged about them in an earlier blog in 2003: https://guntherverheyen.com/2013/05/03/theres-value-in-the-scrum-values/
Why were these values reintroduced to the Scrum Guide?
I think because Scrum is always the means and never the goal. The way you play the game determines in many ways the impact the team has on its (and the organizational) goals. Many Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches will agree with me that one of the pitfalls of Scrum is the mechanical execution. Just doing a trick, without knowing the reasons for doing it that way.
The Scrum Values are about attitude and behavior of individuals and teams. And when we talk about attitude and behavior, we talk about culture. So really these values are about your (team/organizational) culture.
Great this addition to the Scrum Guide! It can make the team culture more tangible, the way Scrum was meant to be used.
Scrum Masters (as peers and/or with their team) should think about how the Scrum Values are transparent or if they are not, how they can become transparent, so that it will enhance your team culture and performance. This way you will grow as a team. The value is mainly in the conversation, not so much the outcome. However, you can use this workshop also to craft your team Manifesto, for instance.
Use this workshop freely and adapt it to meet the needs of your target audience.
- Flip charts
- Min 2 hours (depending the agenda items and length of discussion)
- Interpretations (30 min)
- Desired and undesired behavior (30 min)
- Call to action! (30 min)
Scrum Values explained
To be well prepared, I will dive into these five Scrum Values with you. Please use this text as material to facilitate your discussion if you wish or just as background information on the five Scrum Values.
Scrum experts know that “commitment” at the end of the Sprint Planning in the Scrum Guide was replaced by “forecast”. Because we operate in a complex environment we do not know what will happen in the upcoming sprint. By misinterpretation of the word “commitment” (we are sure that we can do it, so we commit to it) that word in this context was replaced by “forecast”. However: commitment is still valuable. It means: dedication to the team, dedication to quality, dedication to collaboration, dedication to continuous learning and improving, but also dedication to the Sprint goal.
To build a strong team you need brave individuals. They need to be brave to speak up when they know they can do better. Have the courage to be transparent on all levels. Brave to accept and help others understand that a plan is never the same as reality.
Being Agile does not mean saying “yes” to everything. You need to have focus on that which is most valuable. It means making choices and not doing other (also valuable) things. It means knowing why stable teams matter and letting them work towards a sprint goal. Focus does not mean pleasing all of your stakeholders by doing something for everyone in a sprint. Focus will make you more effective.
Openness and transparency go hand in hand. Transparency isn’t a Scrum Value, it’s a pillar on which the framework relies. Without openness, no transparency. Without transparency no Scrum and no Agile. Openness in what you can and cannot do. What knowledge is missing, what you have learned, which stakeholders are most important. Openness about your team’s goals and achievements. Openness will bring you much further as a team.
How can you be respectful towards each other, but still be open and transparent, brave enough and apply focus?
Be respectful, but not polite. Without respect there is no basis for growth. But don’t keep it safe. If we protect a child too much it will not learn and therefore not develop into a grown human being. The same goes for teams.
Words have many meanings and associations. It’s important to know and hear from each other how we interpret these values.
Write down these 5 values on flip charts. (1 value per chart). Everyone writes a couple of associations (other than the value itself) that they associate with the Scrum Value. Those can be other values, or synonyms, or otherwise. Don’t use sentences. Use no more than 2 words to describe your association. When everyone is finished, let everyone take one post-it from a team member that they want to discuss. Time box this discussion.
Desired and undesired behavior
Every Scrum Value leads to desired or undesired behavior.
Re-use the flip charts with the Scrum Values. Use green post its for desired and red/pink for undesired behavior. Or split the flip chart in two columns. Everyone posts 1 desired and 1 undesired behavior per Scrum Value. As alternative and less safe option: use specific team examples for this exercise. When everyone is finished, choose 1 behavior that they want to discuss. Time box this discussion. It would be useful as a team to come to some agreements about this behavior, so that people can address this if the situation occurs.
Call to action!
To what action will these Scrum Values lead? For you as individual or as a team?
Write a user story per value that leads to a certain action for you or your team.
Example: As a Scrum Master I will start an improvement backlog, so that we have focus on what we want to improve, so that we will improve only the things that deliver most value.
As a developer I will not spend longer than half an hour on solving a problem, before asking my teammates for help, so that we can solve the problem as a team and the knowledge is secured in our team.
Challenge each other on the strength of these Scrum Values that you see in these user stories. Help each other make them as effective as possible.