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Maximize Scrum with the Scrum Values: Openness (Part 2 of 5)

March 19, 2017

This is the second in a five-part series about the Scrum Values.  These values are focus, openness, courage, commitment, and respect.  Without the Scrum values, we are just going through the motions and will not maximize the benefits of Scrum.

These five values are easy to remember, but it can be difficult to understand what they mean, how to apply them, and how to recognize them in teams and individuals.  In this post, we illuminate the value of openness.  Openness is essential when we are dealing with complexity and unpredictability. 

Openness facilitates empiricism and collaborative teamwork.

  • Being open about our work helps create transparency to our progress.  Without transparency, any attempts to inspect and adapt will be flawed.
  • Openness enables team members to ask for help.
  • Openness allows team members to offer help to each other.
  • Openness enables team members to share their perspectives, feel heard by their peers, and be able to support team decisions.
  • When our assumptions turn out to be invalid, openness helps us admit we were wrong and change direction.  This applies to a feature we thought would be valuable.  This also applies to how we chose to implement a feature in the product.

The Scrum framework includes elements that help promote openness.

  • Limiting a Sprint to one month or less promotes an openness to changing direction based on new information.
  • The Sprint Goal is fixed and provides guidance, but the plan for meeting the Sprint Goal is open to change based on what the Developers are learning as they do the work.
  • A transparent Product Backlog demonstrates openness with our stakeholders about what value is planned for the product (and what is not planned) and what is likely to be next.
  • The Sprint Retrospective's focus on continuous improvement of our team's interactions, processes, and tools invites an openness to feedback, reflection, and changing how we work.
  • The Sprint Review demonstrates openness to sharing progress with our stakeholders, as well as openness to feedback and collaboration with them.

These are just a few examples of how the Scrum value of openness 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.


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