By Mark C. Layton

Scrum is founded on five values that each member of the team uses to guide his decision making. These aren’t rocket science. Instead, they fall into that familiar category of common sense. Yet they’re critical to the successful implementation of scrum, so they deserve discussion here:

  • Commitment

  • Focus

  • Openness

  • Respect

  • Courage

Commitment

Scrum team members must be committed to success and be willing to create realistic goals and stick to them. You must participate. It’s an “all in” situation where you’re part of a team, and your job is to work together to meet your commitments. Fortunately, the scrum model ensures that you have the authority and freedom to do just that.

At the core of scrum is an event called a sprint. The point here is that the sprint requires clear goals set within fixed time boxes. The good news is, in this model, you break down those goals into the smallest chunks of work possible so that you know what you’re getting into. You’ll know what “realistic” is, so you can set appropriate goals and meet your commitments.

Focus

Part of the magic of scrum is that it’s built around the very concept of focus. Focus on a few things at a time. You will have a clear role and clear goals within that role. Your job then is to do just that use your role to contribute to achieving the goal!

You’ve made your goals and commitments earlier. Focus on those goals and nothing else. Don’t worry, contribute your best, be happy.

Openness

Everything in your project, and everyone else’s project, is transparent and available for inspection and improvement. Gone are the days of six‐month‐down‐the‐road surprises.

Fortunately, the very basis of scrum is the agile pillars of empiricism — transparency, inspection, and adaptation. Information radiators (big, visible charts) and real‐time intelligence allow for unfettered action. The thing is, you’re not used to this level of exposure. But after your organization catches on, it won’t have it any other way.

You, your boss, your employees, your in‐laws — everyone’s goals and progress are open and visible. You’re famous!

Respect

Each team member is selected for his or her strengths; along with these come weaknesses and opportunities to learn and grow. Each participant must respect everyone else. It’s the golden rule within scrum.

Harmony is created by each role syncing and thereby creating a development rhythm as the project progresses. If one or another person is out of tune for a bit, because you’re held accountable as a team, it’s in your best interest to help that person.

People want to do good work; it’s in our wiring. If you seek the positive, you’ll find the positive. Just as if you seek the negative, you’ll find the negative. Respect is the burning ember of positivity.

Courage

Scrum is all about change. Scrum is about honesty, and every idea you have will in a scrum model get challenged. Is every procedure justified by “we’ve always done it this way”? Say good‐bye to procedures done by habit and say hello to a process that is built on what the team finds to be successful.

“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.” — Jacob Bronowski

Fiefdoms will be challenged. Rules will be tested. Routines will be broken. Improvements will happen. Change can be hard. Change takes courage.

Scrum takes courage.