The Values You Need to Become a Scrum Queen

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If you’re reading this article because of the cover picture, I’m sorry to inform you that I’m not going to talk about Chanel Oberlin and the other Chanels. Instead of talking about Scream Queens, I’m going to explore the five fundamental values of scrum that might be just what you need to become a Scrum Queen (or King, whichever you prefer). But before we get there, what is scrum?

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Scrum is the most popular agile methodology for product development that emphasises customer involvement, people, and simplicity rather than process and comprehensive documentation. Scrum is iterative and incremental, which means it’s done in repeated cycles, and the product is delivered in batches rather than fully delivered at once.

Here are the five values of scrum.

In scrum, individuals and interactions are highly valued. That’s why it’s necessary to have respect for each member of the team. This means ensuring that all opinions and perspectives are heard and taking them into account.

A team often consists of people from diverse backgrounds, so each member must recognise that no individual is more essential than another, no matter what the background is.

Since one of the agile principles is incremental delivery, the future is often uncertain in scrum. It’s best to focus on what we know today and decide what the most important thing is.

The scrum framework has elements that help the team develop this value: sprint goal and backlog. The sprint goal defines the desired result of the occurring sprint that the team members have to focus on. A backlog is a smaller task that a developer works on at one time. Not only do these elements promote focus, but they also help keep the team motivated from time to time.

Nobody is perfect, but not everyone has the courage to admit it. Courage is the value you need to be able to acknowledge that you’re wrong, don’t know how to do something, or made a mistake. They might not be the easiest things to do, but it’s often better to have difficult conversations than to slow the team down.

It also takes courage to try something new, which is something common in scrum projects. After all, embracing changes is one of the agile principles.

Being open to each other allows the team to work more efficiently. When a team values openness, the members are encouraged to offer and ask for help. It also motivates them to give each other constructive feedback, which is essential to promote a growth mindset.

Another aspect of this value is to be transparent about each team member’s progress. It should be communicated thoroughly to ensure that nothing is overlooked and the sprint proceeds as expected.

It’s crucial that all members of the team are committed to the team and the project. This includes trusting each other to follow through with what the team has agreed to do. Sprint planning is where the scrum master or team leader makes sure that the team agrees to commit to one goal. There’s also daily stand-up where the team can demonstrate a commitment to each other by updating current progress on the project.

All the above values are based on the Agile Manifesto: four key values of agile that guide developers in the development process.

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

This value might be the one that is most represented in the five scrum values. While software engineers are often stereotyped to have poor communication skills, agile developers are encouraged to interact with each other. This is because collaboration is an essential key to successful development.

Working software over comprehensive documentation.

Documentation is indeed useful, but developers don’t need to spend most of their time writing it. In agile, instead of writing detailed documentation before even coding, developers should focus on providing a working software for the customer.

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.

In agile, there needs to be constant feedback from the customer. The developers then evaluate the feedback to ensure that they deliver the best product for the customer.

Responding to change over following a plan.

Heraclitus once said that the only constant in life is change, and that’s why a team should be open to changes whenever needed. That way, the product stays relevant and helpful for the users.

There are twelve principles behind the Agile Manifesto. In this article, let’s discuss two of them.

Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

Motivated team members are obviously more likely to get the job done than displeased ones. Giving them the support and trust they deserve is a way of keeping them motivated to do their work.

Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

This is the uniqueness of agile development. The product doesn’t need to be completely done to be delivered to the customer; what’s important is that the product works. That way, the customer can give feedback to help the developers do better for the following product delivery.

It’s really interesting how the five scrum values were not originally included in the Scrum Guide. They were added due to popular request. This means that people who had been using scrum realised that one of the most critical keys of a successful project is the relationship between the people. As someone who has worked in different teams (school projects, internships), I can confirm that this is true. When you’re comfortable with people you’re working with, you actually enjoy doing the work. Otherwise, it might just feel like a burden.

I hope you found this helpful. Thanks for reading!

This post is written as an assignment for the PPL course at the Faculty of Computer Science, UI.

CS Student