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Maximize Scrum with the Scrum Values: Respect (Part 5 of 5)

April 23, 2017

This is it.  The last 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 these values mean, how to apply them, and how to recognize them.

Respect is essential in solving complex problems and growing high performing teams.  This likely seems obvious, so I am going to share some of the more subtle examples of the value of respect in Scrum.

Respect facilitates empiricism and collaborative teamwork.

  • If we respect that people are naturally resourceful, creative, and capable of collaboratively solving complex problems, we empower and enable self-managing teams.
  • By having respect for people's diverse backgrounds, experiences, and range of skills, teams are able to effectively solve complex problems in creative ways.
  • When we respect that people are motivated by autonomy, mastery, and purpose, we create an environment that engages people and enables teams to become greater than the sum of their parts.
  • If we respect that people are doing their best given what they know at the time and their current resources, we enable transparency.  We make it okay to change direction based on what we have learned.
  • When we show respect for people and assume they have good intentions, we can have difficult conversations that help us figure out ways to resolve conflict and grow stronger as a team.
  • When there is respect for all opinions and perspectives, we can ensure everyone has the opportunity to be heard.  When we feel we have been heard, it is possible to fully support team decisions even if the decision was not our preference.

The Scrum framework includes elements that help promote respect.

  • The entire Scrum Team attends Sprint Planning, the Sprint Review, and the Sprint Retrospective.  This promotes respect for each role, the accountabilities, and diverse perspectives.
  • The Scrum Team is cross-functional, which means as a whole it has all of the skills necessary to deliver a usable product Increment.  This promotes respect for everyone's experiences, skills, and ideas.  This also promotes learning and growth.
  • The Sprint Backlog is owned by the Developers.  Since they are the ones doing the work to create the Increment, they decide how much they can do in a Sprint and how to do the work. This demonstrates respect for their knowledge and skills, as well as a respect for working at a sustainable pace.
  • By only reviewing a product Increment that meets the Definition of Done in a Sprint Review, we bring transparency to our true progress.  This demonstrates respect for our stakeholders.
  • A Product Owner seeks input from, collaborates with, and sets realistic expectations for stakeholders.  This is another demonstration of respect for stakeholders.
  • The Scrum Master's focus is on the health of the Scrum Team and the effective use of Scrum.  Having a role that focuses on teaching, facilitating, and coaching demonstrates a respect for people and teams and their capacity for growth.
  • Scrum's focus on delivering value shows respect to our organization by not spending money on low value features or things that may never be used.
  • Having a usable Increment of value by the end of the Sprint shows respect to our organization by not forcing more investment to realize value.  It gives the organization the flexibility to make investment decisions. 

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

I hope you have gained some insights from this five-post series on the Scrum Values.

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