It can be challenging to get the best out of agile frameworks if the team doesn’t understand why they’re using them. That’s often down to poor implementation when a company switches to scrum. They focus on the results they hope scrum will bring rather than focusing on why we use scrum methodologies in the first place.
This is why the five scrum values are so important for teaching, implementing, and maintaining scrum. They are the core of the scrum methodology and the key to unlocking scrum’s full potential. Those values are:
These values are often looked at but then completely ignored. For most teams, it’s simply a poster on the wall as they continue to do what they think scrum is. Sure, they may be feeling some benefits from the framework, but by ignoring the central values, they’re missing out on many of the benefits scrum has to offer.
The five Scrum values:
Before we look at how we can implement these values, let’s take a moment to understand what they represent.
Working with any form of agile methodology is useless if you can’t adapt as you work. Life is unpredictable and can throw you a curveball at any point in a project. Someone working with scrum methodology needs to have the courage to pivot from the original plan if and when the project’s parameters change.
It’s also vital that anyone working on the project has the courage to rise to a tough challenge. Not everything is easy, and not everything has a simple answer. If you’re going to succeed with agile and scrum frameworks, you need to keep that in mind at all times.
Scrum isn’t a framework that needs heroes. It’s about working with the entire team to bring value to the product you’re trying to create and not about individuals getting time in the spotlight. Everyone on the team must trust one another to follow through on tasks and deliver to the best of their abilities. This can only be achieved when each team member commits to the team and the project.
While not strictly exclusive to agile and scrum, focus is crucial to a scrum team’s success. Sprints offer a minimal amount of time to achieve a specific set of goals, which means there is simply no time for teams or individual team members to drift off track. The only things that should matter during the sprint are those tasks. Anything else can wait.
Even if the team is running ahead of schedule and thinks they can squeeze in an extra item from the product backlog into the current sprint, they should focus on the tasks for this sprint. There’s nothing wrong with being too thorough when it comes to creating products with value.
Feedback is essential when creating a new product. After all, if the product does not address the user’s needs, there’s no reason for anyone to use it. For a product to truly offer value to the end-user, the team needs to involve the end-user in every development step.
The same can be said for addressing stakeholders. As stakeholders tend to be out of the loop regarding how and why a product comes together, they may have unrealistic expectations. By simply opening up to them and keeping them in the loop with developments, they can better understand how their team works and how a product is developed.
Working in a team means respecting the abilities and contributions of every team member. No one’s work is more valuable than another’s, and every opinion is valid, even if the team chooses to go in a different direction.
How to implement the five scrum values in your team
Implementation can be difficult, but it is imperative to get it right. Like we mentioned earlier, some teams simply put up a poster and move on. That’s not going to help much, so let’s look at some quick but effective ways of implementing the five scrum values.
Your team needs to feel confident enough to speak up about any mistakes, be it their own doing or something they’ve noticed from another team member. They need to feel like they can say no to unrealistic expectations and accept failure. After all, not every sprint can be a success.
This can be difficult for any team member, but it can be even more challenging for some of the more introverted people on your team. As a Scrum Master, you need to create an atmosphere that supports your team when they need to step up and offer their views.
When planning sprints, try to set realistic goals rather than shooting for the moon. The more your team achieves the set goals, the more confident they will be in their abilities. That will give them the “I can do this” mindset that helps them to commit to the tasks at hand. Occasionally, you’re going to get some pushback from the stakeholders who would prefer you get a product out as quickly as you can. Using courage and turning down their demands can help the team commit to tasks as they know the goals are achievable.
With the ever-changing nature of scrum and agile frameworks, keeping the team focused can be extremely tough. This is why it’s so important to commit to time frames and tasks when undertaking a sprint. One team member going off track is all it takes to derail an entire sprint. Once you have finished planning your sprint, you need to ensure every team member focuses on achieving those tasks in the timeframe given. Anything else that comes up can be added to the product backlog for later sprints.
Every project has its challenges, and every team makes mistakes. These are just facts of life, so why hide from them? A good scrum master will ensure that team members can approach them if something has gone wrong or if a deadline is unrealistic.
The best way to implement this throughout your team is to lead by example. Be open with details of your progress, mistakes you have made, or any issues you are facing. If the team can see their leader being honest and open, they’ll have no problem adopting that same mentality.
While responsibility is shared across the entire team, as Scrum Master, it’s important to remember that you are the de facto leader of the scrum team. You have a responsibility to set the tone for the team, and your actions will influence how the rest of the team feels like they can act.
Simply remember that every person on your team is an individual with their own opinions, skills, and workflow. Be kind to them, be helpful, and offer an open ear for anyone that needs to speak up.
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