Successful use of Scrum depends on people becoming more proficient in living five values: Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect, and Courage
— Scrum Guide, 2020
Scrum is based on values.
Values can give direction when there is no clear direction visible. When there is no rule to follow, values can help orient ourselves.
Proclaiming values alone doesn’t serve a purpose, though. We need to live up to the values in our daily actions.
This article provides an overview of the Scrum values and ideas about how to live them in practice.
Every company wants to be a high-performance organization these days. Well, at least most organizations.
That makes sense.
A high-performance organization seems to be the answer to the uncertainty, volatility and complexity we face today. It promises outstanding business outcomes and sustainable success despite these odds. It is an organization where learning and adaptation takes place.
Which responsible company owner wouldn’t want to pursue that path? But what gets you there?
Let me first tell you what will not get you there.
First, you can’t expect to do the same, give it a different name and be successful with that. No one has ever been successful in initiating change without changing anything. Instead, you will have to accept that change is inevitable and even that it could affect you. You will have to let go of things you came to like. …
A few years ago the term “Psychological safety” gained popularity.
Google had announced their results of Project Aristotle. In Project Aristotle Google set out to discover what makes teams effective. Their most striking finding: Psychological safety is essential for high-performing teams. But Google were not the first to make that finding. In fact, tremendous research of this topic has been conducted over the course of over 20 years.
One of these researchers, Amy Edmondson, authored the book “The fearless organization” (affiliate link).
Amy Edmondson is probably the most important researcher on psychological safety.
She is professor of leadership at the Harvard Business School. In her career she devoted large parts researching psychological safety. Back in 1999, she published a paper “Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams”. In that paper, she already emphasized the importance of psychological safety. Her finding was that psychological safety contributes to learning behavior in teams. Learning behavior in turn leads to improved team performance. …
Big words were used to announce the new version of the Scrum Guide. Now it is finally released. In this story, I want to give an overview of the things that I took note of.
A lot has changed in this version.
Well, many changes aim to make it easier to read and understand. But that’s not all. Funny enough, that the new Scrum Guide is a demonstration of well-known Scrum wisdom. Building a potentially releasable Increment doesn’t equal an obligation to release it. But, the new guide says, delivering more often than once a sprint, is entirely valid. …
The world is a mess.
In a perfect world, our customers would tell us what they want. More important: they would describe what they need. In the real world, however, customers do not always know what they want. Let alone that they would know what they need. And coming up with good ideas for what provides value and will be successful is not easy, either. Even the best ideas can fail in that messy world. Many ideas fail. Either they don’t solve the problem, or it takes too long before the solution provides value.
We have been aware of this for some time. It’s the reason why we embraced the idea of empiricism in the first place. …
„Its madness“, Peter thinks as he is rushing up the stairs.
He is a bit late, but that’s not what is occupying his mind. His mind is circling around his daily schedule. The upcoming meeting is only one in a bunch. Like breadcrumbs, they are scattered throughout the day. Leaving no doubt: getting things done is not his destiny. „Damn“, he thinks, as his coffee spills over. Before sitting down, he quickly heads into the kitchen to get a towel.
„Let’s give them a couple of minutes“, he hears the runner of the meeting say. Peter chuckles, wondering if he will ever experience a meeting that starts on time. Peter takes a look at the sleepy faces attending the meeting. It’s a large round, far from following the two-pizza-rule. He looks at each of the faces on his screen, pondering what their average hourly wage might be – summing up the numbers in his head. …
„What did I spend so much effort for?“, he pondered in despair.
Last months he spent most of his days working on this one thing. The work defined these months. A vision is what got him started. He had an idea that could make the life of many people easier. And he spent hour after hour to plan out this project, develop it, and prepare its launch. Almost six months had passed since then. Six months. „Wasted“, he thought.
Now, he was looking at the page with page views and registrations. He felt like a fool. All the work for nothing. He reloaded the page, again and again. After several times reloading the page, he convinced himself to let go. To let go and wait. …
We held next to the main road.
Our goal was to reach a small beach which was lesser known to tourists and promised to be less crowded. A friend had recommended it to us, saying that it was a bit hard to reach but worth it.
Now we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere and looked down a bumpy gravel road. The sun was burning and every move made us sweat.
The road would have brought us nearer to the beach and we wondered if we should take the risk. But looking down that road, we could spot some serious potholes. Otherwise, the road didn’t seem very inviting either. It seemed there was a real risk for a broken axle on our rental car if we weren’t cautious enough. …
“We are doing Scrum, but …”
Some people snort if they overhear a sentence starting like this. They think to themselves: “Oh no! Yet another person who hasn’t understood Scrum and is cherry-picking“. By many, it’s considered an anti-pattern to adopt only some tenets of Scrum. In contrast, people are taking a pragmatic stance. They might say: „It’s all about the results, and if we have to change everything about scrum to achieve that — so be it.“
There are even people who think that the so-called ScrumButs are the best about Scrum.
I tend to the position: everything about Scrum can change if it serves your needs. …
„I don‘t have any time.“
He spoke the sentence and breezed out a deep sigh. Like anyone else he had this sentence running through his mind many times in the past. He knew that there were a few reasons to use this sentence. In a meritocratic and fast-moving world it could be used like a pretty jewel, a way to pride yourself for how busy you are. …