Scrum Values can be demonstrated and used anywhere within Scrum Framework: By all 3 accountabilities, during each event, and also during each Artifact creation/maintenance.
This is the first article of series Scrum Values During Scrum Events. Next articles will follow other events
- Sprint Planning
- Sprint Review
- Sprint Retrospective
Scrum Values are life blood for the the Scrum Framework. — Ken Schwaber.
The success of Scrum relies on 5 values: Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect & Courage. These drive our work, behaviours and actions throughout. Moreover, these are not just limited to Scrum Teams. These can and should be demonstrated across the organization.
When these values are embodied by the Scrum Team and the people they work with, the empirical Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to life building trust. — Scrum Guide 2020
The core of Scrum is Empiricism. Everything in Scrum exists to enable transparency, inspection, and adaptation. Scrum Values help to build trust and create an environment where transparency can be promoted. This improved transparency enables quality inspection & adaptation.
Daily Scrum is one of the 5 Scrum events. It is an internal meeting for Developers of the Scrum Team with the purpose to inspect its progress towards the Sprint Goal, created during the Sprint Planning event. This inspection allows Developers to create or adapt their plan for the next 24 hours.
Daily Scrum is a key inspect and adapt meeting that increases the probability to meet the Sprint Goal and the success of the Sprint.
Because of its frequency, the Daily Scrum creates one of the best opportunities for Scrum Master to observe how well Scrum values are being demonstrated and used by the Developers.
Commitment is about dedication and applies to the actions and the intensity of the effort. It is not about the final result. — Gunther Verheyen ‘Scrum- A Smart Travel Companion’.
Scrum Teams are committed towards the Sprint Goal, their overarching purpose of why they are creating an increment during the Sprint. The Sprint Goal is a step forward towards Scrum Teams’ Product Goal.
Daily Scrum acts as a reminder of commitment towards the Sprint Goal.
Scrum Teams also show commitment towards the Scrum Framework — Roles, Events, Artifacts, and rules that bind all these things together. Developers can ask questions to themselves to check their commitment. For example:
- Are we meeting the purpose of the Daily Scrum?
- Are we finishing it within 15 mins?
- Is the event taking place on a daily basis?
- Who is/isn’t participating during the Daily Scrum?
Let me share a real-life scenario with you:
A couple of times in my Scrum Master career, I have encountered situations where Developers decided to reduce the frequency of the Daily Scrum to do it only twice a week. The discussion went something like below:
Developers: Mr Scrum Master, We don’t want to do the Daily Scrum on daily basis. Can we reduce it to only 2 days a week?
Me: Hmmmmmm. Why?
Developers: Previous Scrum Master created the rule for us but we don’t think it is worth the time. We are too busy. We’d rather love to spend our time on the ‘real work’.
Post that discussion I put some effort first of all in teaching the team the real purpose of the event and also to make them feel that they own this meeting. It is their meeting to make sure they are on track and if not, then adjust. That required some convincing, coaching, and teaching. Here is an important lesson:
PLEASE don’t make Daily Scrum just a tick box activity.
It is essential that Developers feel that they own the Daily Scrum rather than the Scrum Master. Scrum Master’s role is to make sure the event takes place and its intended purpose is met. Scrum Master can coach/teach how to best accomplish this purpose within 15 mins.
It is essential that the Developers feel that they own the Daily Scrum rather than the Scrum Master.
Focus is important to get clarity in a complex environment. It allows doing our best. Scrum Teams’ commitment towards the Sprint Goal provides the focus for discussions during the Daily Scrum.
Typical antipattern that I have seen during many Daily Scrums is that it gets turned into a status meeting focusing more on the individual tasks rather than Sprint Goal. In those moments, it feels that Developers are trying to prove that they were/are busy.
This could be the outcome of a misunderstood purpose of the Daily Scrum or a resource-utilisation focused organizational culture. Accountability of fixing these lies with Scrum Masters.
As a Scrum Master, your aim should be to help developers to bring the focus back to the Sprint Goal.
Few tips to enhance Focus during Daily Scrums
‘Walk the Board’: With this facilitation technique, rather than using the typical ‘3 Questions: What did I do yesterday, What I am going to do today and Do I see any impediment’, Developers discuss the work with the help of the team board i.e. representation of the Sprint Backlog. This enhances collaboration and communication.
Working Agreements: Another practice that can help Developers focus is building working agreements around the Daily Scrum. It is important that Developers should feel accountable for these agreements, hence these should come from them.
Below could be a few examples but allow your Developers to be creative and use their context.
- Everybody is on-time
- No mobile phones
- Make sure the team board is updated before the Daily Scrum
- Mark the ‘Blockers’/’Critical issues’ impeding the flow of the work beforehand
- Start the Daily Scrum with ‘blockers’
Openness is really important for building transparency. During the Daily Scrum, Developers demonstrate openness by sharing the true progress of the work, even if it is bad. They share issues, successes, impediments that are in their way to achieving the Sprint Goal.
Team Boards (such as Scrum Boards, Kanban Boards, etc.) can increase the openness about the progress/impediments. Such boards make the progress highly visible.
Tip: Keep the board in the priority order to have a more focused and valuable discussion.
If the work is blocked, Developers show openness by sharing it and also by asking for help. However, we should know that we need not wait for the Daily Scrum to highlight and discuss the blockers.
The adjustment must be made as soon as possible to minimize further deviation. — Scrum Guide 2020.
Respect is important for building psychological safety. This feeling of safety promotes collaboration and communication i.e. promotes openness.
In Scrum, we respect each other. We respect diverse skills, experience, knowledge, views, and opinions. When things go bad we don’t start pointing fingers or blaming each other. We respect that in a complex environment there could be undesirable results.
During Daily Scrum, Developers respect each other by allowing space and time to collaborate and communicate. There is no I vs You OR Us vs Them. There is no coder vs tester, no senior vs junior.
In great teams I have worked with, I have seen people offering help to team members who are struggling. This respect for each other builds trust that is the foundation for high-performing teams.
Courage is needed to show behaviours and actions for all the other four Scrum Values. We need the courage to share the undesirable news, to come out of our comfort zone, to ask for help, to challenge each other, to hold each other accountable for team goals, to adhere to Scrum rules. In nutshell, to do the right thing.
I once had one scenario where a senior stakeholder was present during the Daily Scrum. The individual started interrupting the discussion by asking questions about a Sprint Backlog item. As a Scrum Master, I had to show courage and respectfully tell the individual that this is no problem-solving event. You can ask questions when Daily Scrum finishes. He agreed.
Imagine if I would have shown courage but without respect. The individual may not feel welcomed. Worst, I could lose my job.
Scrum Values complement each other and we need all of them.
Scrum values drive our actions and behaviours. They act like guideposts when we feel lost. Because of its frequency and timebox, there is no better event than Daily Scrum to turn these values into a habit.
Below are the key learnings of this article:
- Scrum Values enable empiricism by supporting transparency, inspection, and adaptation
- Scrum values create a foundation for trust
- All 5 values can be demonstrated during the Daily Scrum
- Scrum values complement each other