Scrum is built on principles and values. These values guide decision-making, provide clarity in times of ambiguity, and most importantly, communicate why agile teams do what they do. The values behind the Scrum framework are: focus, respect, commitment, courage, and openness [SCHWABER 02].
To focus means to concentrate, to direct attention on something. In Scrum, the team must have focus if it is to accomplish everything that needs to be done to deliver a potentially releasable increment of functionality. Focus means working on one project at a time. It may mean having dedicated “team time”, where the entire team is off email, instant messaging, mobile phones, and meetings. Focus is doing whatever it takes to allow the team to concentrate on the delivery at hand for the entire length of any given sprint.
As the saying goes, respect is earned, not granted. In Scrum, this is especially true. Respect for one’s teammates, or lack thereof, can make or break a project. High-performing Scrum teams trust each other enough to admit to obstacles. They have faith that when one team member commits to a task, that team member will follow through. There is no us versus them on a true Scrum team.
A commitment is a pledge or promise, an obligation to deliver. Commitments should not be made lightly—they should be made with as much information as possible. The team reconfirms its commitment to the organization and to each other during each sprint planning meeting. At the end of sprint planning, each team member should have the same level of understanding about what the team is forecasting it can accomplish during that sprint.
Courage is the ability to face difficulty in spite of your fears. Alleviating these fears is one of the best ways teams and organizations can help team members be courageous. A team that demonstrates the understanding in the face of frank discussion coupled with leadership that has proven it will listen to bad news objectively help give individuals the courage to speak their minds. Remember, when teams lack the courage to do what they feel is right, the right thing will likely not be done.
Openness enables teams to be receptive to new ideas. Nowhere is a team’s openness more apparent than in the sprint retrospectives. Having the willingness to receive new ideas, perceptions, and ways of thinking helps develop learning organizations and high-performing teams.
Value in Scrum is not only the business value that you should deliver to your customers, but also mainly the personal values that you want to respect to achieve this goal. Always remember that you want to be Agile, not just to doAgile.