The 5 Scrum values and how to implement them
So you’ve decided to implement the Scrum framework in your company.
If you do it without internalizing the Scrum Values, you may as well drop your team in the jungle without a compass.
Tagging on an experienced Scrum master won’t be enough to prevent someone from getting eaten by a tiger before you find your way through.
The core values should guide every Sprint, meeting, and decision of your team. But being able to list them during a quiz or test isn’t enough.
In this article, we’ll explain the Scrum values and pillars, what they mean for your team and company, and how to best implement them in your processes.
What are the 5 Scrum values?
The 5 main values of Scrum are commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect. They should work as a compass for your implementation of Scrum and Sprints.
They’ll help your team self-organize and know the right thing to do whenever they’re stuck.
Let’s go through them in detail:
The first and most foundational Scrum value is commitment.
There’s a reason Scrum is named after a full team huddle from rugby. Unless everyone on your Agile team commits fully to the same goal, working in the same direction, it won’t be possible to work fast and adapt.
Team members must own up to their commitments and do what they say they are going to do. It’s also important to not overcommit, or take on more than you conceivably can, as this will affect the rest of your team.
When you take ownership of a project, you need the courage to take it in the right direction, sometimes in spite of input from your managers, clients, or executives.
This means asking hard questions of each other, stakeholders, and the product owner whenever discussing the product backlog or Sprint.
Scrum is about continuous improvement. That means forging new paths — not blindly following old processes because that’s the way it’s always been done.
The value of focus in Scrum is twofold. First, you need to focus by limiting your Sprints to clearly achievable goals.
Second, once you’re in a Sprint, you use unrelenting focus to finish everything you set out to do, quickly.
The daily Scrum meeting is the perfect example of how important focus is to the Scrum. You only cover three things:
- What you did yesterday.
- What you’re doing today.
- What’s in the way of completing today’s tasks.
There’s no wasted time, with just 90 seconds per person.
In Scrum, openness isn’t just about sharing everything with your team about your own progress during the daily standup.
It’s also about being open with your client throughout the whole process. The customer is viewed like another team member — someone you collaborate with and can bounce ideas off of.
You must work to get your stakeholders’ honest opinion during the Sprint review, so you can truly meet your definition of done, or make the necessary adjustments to your iteration.
This value also encompasses the idea of being open to learning and implementing new solutions and techniques.
What sets an Agile team apart is that they can collaborate without clear leaders and work together to adapt quickly to changing priorities. How can a team self-organize if you don’t respect each other?
Always give everyone the time to share during the daily Scrum, Sprint planning meetings, and other Scrum ceremonies. Always listen to everyone involved, from team member to stakeholder.
You also need to respect the Scrum process itself.
Unsurprisingly, these values share some common ground with the Agile principles and values from the Agile Manifesto. Learning both will help you understand the greater context of Scrum.
Why are the Scrum values important?
Companies and teams that are ‘mature’, aka experienced with implementing a framework or methodology, complete 21% more of their projects successfully.
But when it comes to Agile, only 11% of companies have gotten there. The rest are still stuck in earlier phases of adoption.
The Scrum values are a roadmap to help you successfully become a mature Agile organization.
If everyone involved internalizes the values, from the development team to the product owner and stakeholders, it’ll be a much smoother process.
What are the 3 pillars of Scrum?
The 3 pillars of Scrum are transparency, inspection, and adaptation. These pillars were the original foundation of the Scrum framework, before the Scrum values were added in 2016.
The pillars are inspired by the “empirical process control” theory. It states that knowledge comes from experience and making decisions based on what you already know.
Basically, it’s all about learning by trying and testing, rather than researching and planning.
That’s why Scrum employs an iterative process, creating a product one small piece at a time, always factoring in new information at every stage.
Most, if not all, the moving parts in a project should be clearly visible to the entire Scrum team responsible for the project.
Team members should have a clear understanding of the Sprint goal, current status, and long term vision of the project.
You must frequently inspect all “Scrum artifacts,” which are the most important outputs from your Scrum team:
- Product backlog: The list of all requirements and user stories (feature from the user’s perspective) the completed product should have.
- Sprint backlog: The list of user stories to tackle during a Sprint.
- Product increment: The product iteration (version) you produce at the end of a Sprint.
Agile teams are adaptable. This isn’t news to anyone. In Scrum, this means that you evaluate your progress before, during, and after each Sprint.
Are you still on track to finish the product that your stakeholders want and need? If not, your product owner and every Scrum team member must meet and realign the project.
You can’t adapt without first inspecting and knowing where you stand. The three pillars need each other to function as a stable foundation for your Scrum process.
How to implement the Scrum pillars and values
Theoretically knowing the values is all well and good, but it doesn’t matter unless your team internalizes and uses them in the process.
Share the product backlog with all members and stakeholders
Make transparency, openness, and inspection easier by sharing the product backlog openly with everyone involved.
Hold backlog refinement meetings to adapt your priorities before and after each Sprint.
Follow all Scrum ceremonies with respect
From Sprint planning to retrospective, respect is a necessary ingredient in all Scrum meetings.
Daily Scrum meetings will help you stay on track, and will hold everyone accountable for completing their tasks. But only if you respect each other’s opinions and time.
Make sure everyone keeps to the 90 seconds they’re given, so everyone has a chance to be heard.
Don’t get overambitious when planning your Sprint
When planning your Sprint, don’t aim too high. Use story points (SP), a flexible estimate of required effort, to help you stay within your limits.
At monday.com, we consider 1 SP to be a full workday. Our teams only plan up to 8 SP for each Sprint, leaving at least two days of leeway to handle unforeseen issues and roadblocks.
Assign ownership of user stories
Assign ownership of user stories or work items in your Sprint backlog.
This makes it easier for a Scrum team member to commit to facilitating everything needed to finish the item, rather than just “doing their part.”
ConclusionA Scrum team can only work effectively if they internalize the Scrum values. This is an ongoing process where everyone needs to commit to adapting to a new way of thinking and working.
Use each Sprint retrospective as an opportunity to evaluate not just the Sprint, but how your team is adapting to Scrum and the new team values.
monday.com’s Scrum planning template lets you easily break down your Sprint backlog into work items, assign ownership, and estimate SP.
It makes it easy to plan your next Sprint with the Scrum values in mind.