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The Value of the Scrum Values

Last post 10:30 pm January 24, 2019 by Chris Belknap
3 replies
02:17 pm January 19, 2019

Scrum Masters and Scrum Trainers, have you ever asked yourself how to help your Scrum Teams and training participants to really reflect on the importance of the Scrum Values for the success of a Scrum Team?

Just recently, I attended a train-the-trainer event hosted by Scrum.org’s PST Simon Reindl and PST Laurens Bonnema where I had the opportunity to run them and my fellow PST candidates through an exercise which I have developed for my Scrum trainings. It received quite some positive response from the group, and they suggested to share it with a wider audience.

So here it is:

Exercise:

  1. Ask your Scrum Team or participants to write down the five Scrum Values on sticky notes. One Scrum Value per sticky note.
  2. Ask them to write down aspects and elements of Scrum (all roles, events, artifacts, etc.) on separate sticky notes. One aspect or element per sticky note. Once the group has finished writing sticky notes, briefly take them through their notes and add aspects and elements, they missed. Keep these sticky notes separate from those created in step 1.
  3. On a flip chart, write "If the Scrum Value _______ was missing on the Scrum Team, what might be the impact on ______?". Make the placeholders wide enough for the sticky notes to fit in. 
  4. Ask someone from the group to pick a sticky note with a Scrum Value written on it. Make sure they take a pick without seeing what is written on the note. 
  5. Ask another person to pick a sticky note with an aspect or element of Scrum written on it. Make sure they pick blindly. 
  6. Ask them to stick the two selected sticky notes onto the placeholders on the flip chart, then request them to read the now complete question to the group, e.g., “If the Scrum Value courage was missing on the Scrum Team, what might be the impact on the Increment?“
  7. Ask the entire group to come up with answers and capture them. 
  8. Reflect on the answers.
  9. Start over at step #4 as many times as your timebox allows or the group finds useful. 
  10. Ask the group to write down their key take-away / next step from this exercise.

 

Tips from my experience facilitating this exercise: 

  • At the end of step 2, I usually add a couple of sticky notes, e.g., "Empiricism", "Sprint Goal", and "Scrum Values". Especially the last one adds an interesting twist to the exercise when the team reflects on a question like "If the Scrum Value of respect was missing on the Scrum Team, what might be the impact on Scrum Values?"
  • I have found the reflection to be more effective when the group already has a shared understanding of the meaning of the Scrum Values and their common misunderstandings, e.g., as described by Dave West in his blog post. If you clarify this during the exercise, the group might lose its focus on the reflection. 

Variation: 
I think this exercise would work well during a Sprint Retrospective. I have yet to try myself, though. 

 

I hope you find this exercise interesting enough to give it a try. If you do, I would be interested in learning about your experience. Also, if you have an idea of how to improve this exercise, please let me know. 

Best,

Johannes


03:20 pm January 24, 2019

Hello Johannes

I think this is an interesting approach to refresh a part of the team’s Scrum knowledge and to stimulate creativity in a retrospective!

At first the participants have to find their way into fictitious situations. Afterwards, the take-aways will have an "aha" effect due to the transfer into everyday life situations.

Thanks for sharing! I will give it a try!

Max


08:20 pm January 24, 2019

Here is a great case study that show how the Scrum Values or lack there of caused a team to fail and then succeed once they realized the value of the Values.

 

https://www.scrum.org/resources/intralinks-case-study-scrum-reboot-time-values


10:30 pm January 24, 2019

Thanks for sharing, I like it.