April 11, 2017

Maximize Scrum with the Scrum Values: Commitment (Part 4 of 5)

We are in the home stretch.  This is the fourth in a five-part series about the Scrum values.   These values are focus, openness, courage, commitment, and respect.  Achieving the benefits of Scrum requires that people and teams understand what they mean, how to apply them, and how to recognize them.

Commitment is essential in solving complex problems and growing high performing teams.  Commitment in Scrum is often misunderstood as a promise to deliver a set scope by a set date.  That was never the intention of the word commitment in the Scrum Guide.  I hope this post helps illuminate the value of commitment.

Commitment facilitates empiricism and collaborative teamwork.

  • When we commit to the success of the team, not just caring about our individual achievements, that creates an environment of trust, productive problem solving, and high team standards.
     
  • When we commit to doing Scrum fully, not just picking and choosing the easy parts, we can fully experience the benefits of transparency, inspection, and adaptation.
     
  • Committing to continuous improvement makes it easier to change direction based on new information or empirical data.
     
  • Commitment is about dedication to doing our best.  We cannot predict or control all of the complexities in product development, but we can commit to taking actions and adjusting our behaviors based on feedback and new learnings.
     
  • When we commit to delivering value, we feel a greater sense of shared purpose that drives our motivation to collaborate.
     

The Scrum framework includes elements that help promote commitment.

  • Every Scrum role has a distinct accountability, and this is a commitment.  
     
    • The Product Owner demonstrates commitment by making the best decisions to optimize the value of the product, not simply trying to please every stakeholder.  
       
    • The Development Team demonstrates commitment by creating an Increment that meets their definition of "Done," not something that is almost done.  
       
    • The Scrum Master demonstrates commitment by upholding the Scrum Framework, which means we don't extend the Sprint or other time-boxes under pressure to get to "Done."  The Scrum Master demonstrates commitment by removing impediments that the Scrum Team cannot resolve themselves, rather than tolerating the status quo in the organization. 
       
  • Delivering a "Done" increment by the end of the Sprint promotes a commitment to quality and continuous improvement.
     
  • The Product Backlog enables a commitment to transparency.  Stakeholders can see what is currently planned in the product and the current order.
     
  • The Sprint Backlog enables a commitment to transparency of our progress.  The Development Team owns the Sprint Backlog, and it always reflect our current progress based on what we have learned.
     
  • The Daily Scrum is an opportunity for the Development Team to demonstrate commitment to each other.  They collaboratively inspect their progress and adapt their plan.  They determine how they can best work together to achieve the Sprint Goal.
     
  • The Sprint Retrospective promotes a commitment to continuous improvement as a team.  We inspect our processes, tools, and interactions and identify and commit to actionable improvements.

These are just a few examples of how the Scrum value of commitment lives within a Scrum Team to help them maximize the benefits of Scrum.  There are many more.  Teams need to continuously and collaboratively refine what these values mean for them in order to truly maximize Scrum.