February 20, 2020

More Business Value

No Focus Scrum Value IconIf you like to explore how the 5 Scrum Values are directly tied to business value, please join me in this free online learning event on Monday Feb 24.

In my last blog post, we looked at Focus as one of the 5 Scrum Values and explored how this Scrum Value is directly linked to business value.  

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Today we want to take a slightly different approach and look at this topic from a little more of a pessimistic angle. I am sorry to be downer, but we want to explore the impact on business value if there is a lack of focus or no focus at all? What is the impact on business value if focus is compromised?  Let's explore the symptoms in a Scrum Team or organization if Focus is not part of the culture anOrder Free Scrum Posterd we use single but very common scenario to shed light on this topic. In the context of today's topic, we will relate this to business value and the bottom line. 

The "5 Guys of Scrum" (Focus, Openness, Commitment, Courage and Respect) are often seen as soft, touchy and something that sounds right, but is hard to measure. The 5 Scrum Values are very easy to agree with and to read over it in the Scrum Guide.  They are not black and white definition like other Scrum rules. They are more a culture that emerges with Scrum. Together they create trust.True, we could argue that some teams are more focused than others in regards to Scrum and it is not easy to measure the Scrum Value itself? Similar to the 4 value statements of the Agile Manifesto, we can strive for more, but the sky is the limit.  But even with that there are still ways to link the culture to business value. For example, let's take a somewhat typical example based on my experience: 

How many times do priorities shift during your Sprint?  

We can measure interrupts relatively easy. But when I am coaching or teaching teams, I often hear things like "That's just the way it is here!". Yes, it requires courage (another Scrum Value) to speak up but the lack of Focus makes it hard, if not impossible, to deliver the Sprint Goal and the business value. The Spring Goal gives the Development Team a goal to strive for in the Sprint. We need to give the Development Team a chance to go after the Sprint Goal. Without a Sprint Goal, the work inside a Sprint becomes a random to-do list without the context and frame of a business goal to achieve. How focused can a Development Team be during Daily Scrum, if the priorities shift frequently and the Sprint Goal becomes obsolete? The development team begins to drift through the Sprint and is "just" trying to get work done. But are they getting the "right" work done? A lack of focus during a Sprint also impacts the Sprint Review and the Sprint Retrospective. 

In Sprint Review, the Development team is not seeking to get approval by the product owner that work is completed. The Sprint Review includes a reflection on the Sprint Goal and business value that comes with it. If priorities shift, this will be hard to do. Last but not least, with frequent a lack of focus on Sprint Goal due to changing priorities, the Development Team won't feel like owning the process and subsequently stops improving it as a result of that.

If you like to explore more values with me, join me at my free online learning event.

I have also created this Scrum in 5 Minutes video and in the Scrum Value Pair Retrospective that can help Scrum teams increase the Scrum Values and indirectly increase business value. Cha-Ching!