The new Scrum Guide is here! It’s been three years since the last revision of the Guide – has that time allowed for a complete revamp or only evolutionary changes? Read on to find out.
Previously, Scrum Guide updates responded to the way the Scrum world was doing and what its creators believed it needed to be even more successfully adopted. Take the renaming of “estimate” to “forecast” in the last revision. The purpose of that particular change was to make it crystal clear how teams approach estimation topic during planning. Not to mention fixing numerous dysfunctional interpretations of the word “estimate”.
It’s not really different this time, what happened is an outcome of practitioners’ beliefs. Driven by users’ voice (https://scrumguide.uservoice.com/), the latest change in the Guide is the inclusion of five Scrum Values.
As fundamental to Scrum as they are, the Values weren’t a part of the Guide so far, and I bet they were often omitted by practitioners. Apart from the votes, you might ask, are the Values that important to be included in this revision?
Values are nearly always a cornerstone of each framework or method. They are a building block which is often neglected and merely skimmed through as we read books. After all, we yearn for practices, principles and lessons we can easily employ in our everyday work. The reality is, however, as good a starting point they are, in the long term we can only implement practices and principles through values and mindfully adopt them to changing reality.
Scrum Values (Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect, Courage) define the ethos of Scrum and are often used to teach and coach Scrum Teams in becoming successful with Agile. They are essential to understanding and mastering Scrum and making it work for the whole Team and the organization. Fortunately, numerous papers, articles and books are available on the subject of Scrum Values and there’s little point reiterating their meaning 🙂
However, it is crucial to understand they are complementary to each other and rarely can one of the Values be embodied by the Scrum Team without the others. Take these pairs for example:
- Commitment and Focus – Scrum Team can personally commit to its goals thanks to the fact it only has to focus on a limited scope and horizon of a single sprint. Commitment to achieving a 1-year goal is hard. When you focus, suddenly commitment is possible and doing your best is the only natural option.
- Openness and Courage – Simply put, it takes a lot of courage to be open and transparent about challenges, your inabilities, shortcomings and real options.
- Commitment and Courage – As Scrum Team commits to achieving a challenging goal, it is aware of the consequences of a possible failure and of all the downsides it could lead to. Courageous Teams take risks to yield better results through commitment.
- Respect and Openness – Respecting others as they are and their true capabilities while they are open about them. This builds mutual trust and creates strong bonds in the Scrum Team.
This list could go on. The important lesson Ken and Jeff are probably trying to give us now is that Scrum Values must be on the forefront of Scrum implementation. Therefore, I believe their inclusion in the Guide is a fundamentally good choice. The least it will do, is to encourage discussion as Scrum newcomers read through the guide for the first time. There still might be a long way to go from there but putting a spotlight on virtuous values cannot harm.
PS What more changes could come in the future? Listening to Ken and Jeff during their webinar on new Scrum Guide, we can safely assume what won’t come 🙂 A question was raised whether they plan to include elements supporting “scaled Scrum”. Their response reassured that they’ve been scaling Scrum for 20 years now and do not believe that Scrum Guide, as an essential guide, needs any development in that direction. Just ensure that before scaling, you’ve mastered the essentials.