Scrum is more than just a process framework for managing complex product development. Scrum is also more than the sum of its practices, roles, events and artifacts. At its core, Scrum leverages five foundational values that are essential to making this framework work.
An understanding of these values is important because they provide the foundation for everything else associated with this framework. If you understand what these values are and how they impact the framework, you will have a much better chance of being successful using Scrum to transform your organization’s product development efforts.
Scrum is people-centric – Many frameworks pay lip service to the idea of people-centricity, but Scrum defines this as a core value and takes it seriously. The best way to explain this is to point out that the first word in the term ScrumMaster is “master.” A ScrumMaster’s job is to learn about each member of the development team and provide whatever support they need to do their jobs better. In particular, a scrum master has one primary responsibility: remove roadblocks so the team can be as effective as possible. There are many ways a ScrumMaster can do this from being available for questions on demand through pairing with team members if necessary until they have internalized enough of what’s needed to where they no longer need external help. If you think that having someone play that role sounds like micromanaging on the team’s part, keep reading.
The first question I always ask is “How can I help?” While there are many valid answers to that question, I’ve found two of them to be particularly useful:
1) Help me understand why we’re doing this? or
2) Help me understand what my individual level of commitment should be for this release.
The former sets the stage for removing roadblocks by making sure everyone has access to the same set of information which isn’t just given but understood. If you can’t answer this one then it’s your job as scrum master to find out who does know and get that information into their hands ASAP. If you’re asking questions like this on behalf of your team then it’s your job as a good ScrumMaster to communicate those questions back to the Product Owner, otherwise… there is no Product Owner. The second question is equally important because before anyone invests their time and energy they’d like to know how much of that they’ll need to commit. This requires conversations with everyone involved but particularly with the Product Owner so that expectations are set appropriately on both sides of the fence. When you get this answer you’ll know if your project can be successful or not, what else do you need?
This week I had one of these two conversations with someone new to Agile software development who asked me for just such an “assessment”. We talked about what this project would entail based on my general understanding of what they were wanting to do and tried to identify the worst case scenario so they could see what would happen.
The most important of all these items is the Scrum Master. The Five Actionable Practices Of Scrum are:
1 . Transparency
2 . Collaboration
3 . Inspection
4 . Adaptation
Regularly re-evaluate These ten items encompass everything needed to have a successful project with anyone you work with in any role—Product Owner , Scrum Master, Development Team , Shareholder or Executive Sponsor for example including yourself if you are involved in the project as one of these roles!
If everyone is transparent and working together then there is nothing that can derail your project. It’s up to you to implement this in your daily life and work environment. I truly believe when learning about Agile it should be mandatory that you practice these items everyday on everything you work on! As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect” don’t forget it!
Collaboration in scrum is a team effort, and there is no specific role that can accomplish collaboration. Anyone on the scrum team—team members, scrum master, or product owner—can be responsible for leading and promoting effective and efficient collaboration within the scrum team and with outside stakeholders.
All too often we see teams working in isolation from each other. This does nothing to help us reach our common goal of producing better software – it may even make matters worse! People doing this might think their work is done when they’re not at the water cooler gossiping about things, but they’re sadly mistaken as long as those people remain isolated from everyone else .
Re-evaluation in scrum is a process in which we re-assess ourselves and our work against the scrum values, so we understand what it is to be agile. This also applies to ensuring that we’re picking up on any dysfunctionality such as three of our own (or all four) doing something not in line with the scrum meeting framework – whether that’s for technical reasons or otherwise.