As stated in The Scrum Guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, the success of the Scrum Team depends on 5 values:
Below are ways a Scrum Master can help instil those values to create high-performing Scrum Teams to build successful products, plus the consequences of not committing to the values.
In Scrum, we value the ability to focus; to focus on the current task, the current sprint, focus in ceremonies, and focus on solving problems. Having the ability to remove distractions, to give your entire attention to a task, will help get the best out of that moment for you and the Scrum Team. Lack of focus can lead to re-doing work, tasks taking longer, missing Sprint goals, delayed releases, disgruntled team members and stakeholders, disappointed customers and potential loss of business.
A good focus tool is the Pomodoro Technique which is used to focus on one item for a short, set periods of time, then having regular, consistent breaks which is useful when the team is easily distracted and/or there is a lot of work to get done. Very useful for Scrum Masters when facilitating events such as Sprint Planning.
Open to other opinions and advice, open to new ideas, open to finding better ways of working. Scrum Masters need to encourage an environment where Scrum Teams feel comfortable to be open and transparent without negative consequences. A lack of openness can lead to team members hiding mistakes or not being open to better ways of working which can stall Sprints and lead to more Sprints than required. It may also mean that the customer doesn't receive what they think they are going to receive and may not meet their expectations.
The Scrum Events allow for openness. The Daily Scrum allows for everyone to hear what everyone is working on and how the previous day went. The Sprint Review allows for stakeholders to hear how the product releases are going and to get open and honest feedback from stakeholders. Scrum Retrospectives allow for open feedback in the Scrum Team on what went well and didn’t go well. Scrum Masters need to ensure that these meetings are held and that the ground rules are known to allow for that open dialog. Open the meetings with the values and how to give constructive, positive feedback.
Respect of yourself and respect of others. Respect of everyone’s contribution and role will encourage collaboration and improve communication between all team members and stakeholders.
A lack of respect is not always obvious. But both passive and direct aggressiveness show a lack of respect and means that the team are not gelling, maybe because some people feel like they are contributing more than others. In cross-functional Scrum Teams, people are hardly ever even in regard to skill level and capability, everyone has they own unique skillset and background, they make their own contribution to their own capability. A Scrum Master needs to address issues early and show that everyone’s contribution is worthy.
The Scrum Master may need to set ground rules on what that means for the team, for example, not to criticize or attack a person, to show them how to be diplomatic, to frame feedback in a positive rather than a negative way.
Commitment to the Scrum Team, the Sprint, the Scrum Event, the Project. Commitment to getting the best outcome and achieving the goals of the Scrum Team. For example, Scrum Teams only commit to take on the tasks they know they can complete in a Sprint. Commitment during Scrum Events means that they will get the best outcome and feels good when you have given everything to a task or event and knowing everyone else is too. Overcommitting may mean that there is nothing to show at Sprint Review and extra work in Sprint Planning and more Sprints to get the Project done. But it may take a few Sprints to get into a good rhythm of knowing how to accurately estimate to what the team can commit to for the Sprint.
Scrum Masters can help the Scrum Team with their commitments by helping remove roadblocks plus deflecting outside influences and pressure from Product Owners or other stakeholders. They can encourage commitment in Scrum Events by setting ground rules on what is expected of the team, and that the most positive experience and outcome is when the team is focused and committed to the task at hand.
Courage to speak out, to speak up, to contribute, to highlight issues, to do the right thing, to work on tough problems. For example, speaking up early about a mistake or an issue will give the team the ability to fix it and be less expensive in the long term. The courage to say ‘no’ and not to overcommit on a Sprint even though influential stakeholders may want you to. The Scrum Master needs to build an environment where the Scrum Team can be courageous, by crediting people who do, and encouraging equal contribution in Scrum Events.
The Scrum Master also needs courage themselves to be able to say ‘no’ to senior stakeholders to protect the team from overcommitment and distractions. They need the courage to facilitate events when the team does not seem enthusiastic to have them. They can do this by getting everyone’s input by asking people who are not speaking up to have a say, and by getting everyone to vote, but also to explain the reasons for having them in the first place, and why resistance is useless.
These are great values to live by regardless of Agile and Scrum but by having these laid out to Scrum Teams everywhere, it reinforces these values amongst the Scrum community and helps build it into a great community in which people enjoy working. And we all want to enjoy the work we do and the people we work with, right?
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