The Scrum Values are the human components of Scrum. When exercised by members of the Scrum Team, better products are released because team members are more creative, productive, and empathetic. Without the Scrum Values, the Scrum Framework could be used to deliver complex products at all costs—without regard to the wellbeing of the Scrum Team.

In this post, we want to explore the meaning of each value in more detail and ways for you to exercise these five values. These five values have helped our product team create structure in our weekly releases, as a distributed team, and will help yours achieve the full potential of Scrum. 

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How to Exercise the 5 Scrum Values

Commitment

“People personally commit to achieving the goals of the Scrum Team.” –The Scrum Guide

Because Scrum Teams are self-organizing, everyone on the team—the Product Owner, Developer Team, and Scrum Master—must exercise a high degree of responsibility. This degree of responsibility is referred to as Commitment in the Scrum Values.

Responsibility doesn’t hold the same weight as Commitment. The former does not involve a pledge; the latter does. This is important when you are working as a team. The pledge is what motivates each team member to remain responsible throughout a sprint and produce incremental deliveries of a “Done” product.

At Tara, we show our commitment by doing the daily standup for 15 minutes every morning. Each team member will specify what they have accomplished yesterday and today so that everyone can gain visibility into their teammates’ progress. This not only aligns the team towards the sprint goal but it also encourages each team member to commit to what they’ll deliver in the next 24 hours.

Courage

“The Scrum Team members have courage to do the right thing and work on tough problems.” -The Scrum Guide

Scrum is a framework for addressing complex problems that often present people with a choice: do the easy thing, or do the right thing. By exercising the value of Courage, each team member commits to do the right thing. Sometimes this can mean being open and vulnerable about the challenges you are facing. 

Focus

“Everyone focuses on the work of the Sprint and the goals of the Scrum Team.” -The Scrum Guide

In pragmatic terms, Focus and Commitment are what move a sprint forward. The other three values are vital but they are more soulful than pragmatic. When team members commit to focus on the sprint, a “Done” product is more likely to be delivered on time. 

The Product Owner focuses on maximizing the value of the product; the Development Team focuses on delivering a potentially releasable increment of “Done” product at the end of each sprint; and the Scrum Master focuses on promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide.

At Tara, we run simultaneous sprints across all teams in a remote environment to help instill priority and focus on execution. By tracking daily priorities and development progress via an ultra-focused dashboard, our team has very little difficulty moving to a remote organization and shipping product without disruption. 

Openness

“The Scrum Team and its stakeholders agree to be open about all the work and the challenges with performing the work.” -The Scrum Guide

Transparency has become a buzzword in the world of startups and business culture, but Openness is not a buzzword or a trend; it’s a vital human component of Scrum. It’s what brings a Scrum Team together and what motivates individual team members to complete items they’ve committed to in the Product Backlog. 

In traditional project management, the status quo is that engineers spend precious time wading through tickets while EMs and PMs continue to lack visibility at the release level. Fortunately, this is not a problem that we have to face at Tara. As Git data is connected to tasks and to sprints, teams outside of product, such as sales and marketing, can have direct insight into when releases are happening. Total transparency is the key to development success!

Respect

“Scrum Team members respect each other to be capable, independent people.” – The Scrum Guide 

Respect is a value that makes Scrum timeless and boundless. Regardless of the biases and political climate in the world at any given moment, members of the Scrum Team continue to treat one another—and themselves—with respect. 

It seems like this value is the most important, or the anchoring value of Scrum. Without respect and the kindness that comes from respect, what’s the point of building great products? Respect creates a strong foundation for great products to rest on. It also makes the experience of building great products a positive one.

Which Scrum Values Are You Exercising?

Remember that, like Scrum itself, exercising the values is an adaptive process. These are not set in stone and should be adapted based on each team’s goals and needs. Any framework is meant to provide guidance and a starting point; there is no one-size-fits-all model.

Is your team currently exercising the five scrum values outlined above? Which ones are you successfully exercising and which ones can you improve on? Leave your comments below or shoot us a tweet @taradotai!