There is the Scrum Guide and with the definition of Scrum come the rules of the game. Scrum does not have a lot of rules, but the ones that exist are pretty defined. One Product Owner per Product Backlog for example. Time-boxing, events, roles and artifacts are all outlined, labelled and explained. Talking about a black and white picture.
But the Scrum Guide also defines the 5 Scrum Values, the “5 Guys of Scrum”. Focus, Openness, Commitment, Courage and Respect. Teaching Scrum courses means of course that the Scrum Values are integral part of it. They are everywhere for good reasons. But students often struggle with the softness of the Scrum Values because they are less tangible than a time-box for a Daily Scrum. Because they are less concrete, it is harder to wrap your head around it from a business perspective.
Let’s do that for a moment and take a look at Focus (We will explore Focus and the other 4 Scrum Values also in this free online learning event) :
Focus for a Product Owner means focusing on ordering a Product Backlog. That order translates into what is important for the customer or the organization at that time. Development Teams craft a Sprint Goal to establish focus for their work ahead and not being side-tracked and pulled into too many different directions. Development Teams also focus on quality and getting things to “Done”, based on a shared understanding. Scrum Masters focus on Scrum itself and help teams overcome issues and impediments that block them organizationally. They keep an eye on the effectiveness of the process framework itself and help teams to improve over time. In a value-driven (Scrum) versus a plan-driven approach (traditional project management), we focus on value as a whole. We focus on building the right solution, not focusing on solving the three constraints (scope, schedule and costs) of traditional project management, which causes so many headaches.
Let me give you an example how the business lures for focus. Let’s grab a concept that is not mentioned in the Scrum Guide. Why do stakeholders and Scrum Teams like the concept of a Minimum Viable Products (MVP) so much? Well, an MVP establishes focus, gives them orientation and gives them a piece of the product they work towards to.
Without focus, teams are drifting, possibly building less desirable features, things customers don’t want or need. They lose track of progress or quality and get easily distracted. Without focus, there might be a lack of trust in the Scrum Team but also between the Scrum Teams and the leadership team. Without focus, we see behavior and results creeping in, business schools and leadership books typically warn us about. Successful start-ups are focused and because of that they earned the trust of investors.
Focus means business. This Scrum Value means business. Cha-Ching!
If you like to hear Cha-Ching a 5 times, join me during this free online session “Scrum Values = Business Value”.