Scrum Notes 2013-20

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Living the Scrum Values ▶️

Image by Johaina Bani Oraba, from the Omani Observer.

How should we live the scrum values? Here's one way: by examining how we are not living them. At the end of each day put a few minutes aside for a personal introspective, and ask yourself questions similar in nature to the following...

Focus: When today did I become distracted? When was I trying to multi-task, or rapidly task-switch? When did I allow myself to get sucked in to social media while trying to get work done?

Respect: When was I disrespectful? When did I ignore someone, talk over them, fail to listen properly, dismiss an idea, assume to know better? Did I talk negatively about someone? Did I give unsolicited feedback? Did I take someone for granted? Did I forget to say please or thank you?

Openness: Did I keep secrets today? Was it necessary? Did I share my work, my difficulties and my successes with my colleagues/friends/family members? When someone asked me how I felt and I said "fine" was that true?

Commitment: Did I make any commitments? Did I honour them? Did I look for excuses/justifications or seek someone else to blame when I was unable to deliver on a promise? Did I over-commit, making promises I knew deep down I wouldn't be able to keep? Was I vague, avoiding commitments altogether?

Courage: When was I cowardly in my interactions? Did I use avoidance tactics rather than confront? Did I have a "not my problem" attitude or hide my head in the sand? Did I say yes, to appease my colleague/manager/spouse when really I wanted to say no?

We can also ask questions like this of ourselves, of each other and of our team as a whole at our sprint retrospectives, balancing the conversation by offering positive observations to one another. Scrum values must be more than words in the scrum guide. If we want to become effective in our work, to continue to improve both our products and our processes we need to agree a set of common values and strive to live up to them. This takes effort, time and mindful attention. It requires us to step out of our doing self and into our observing self, a shift which requires cultivation to become a habit.

This essay forms the core of the Scrum Alliance elearning module Continuous Improvement through the Scrum Values.

Sheffield, 30/06/2021   comment