In Scrum Fundamentals, Values


Scrum Values: Courage


Every team should have their own values to help them make decisions that are right for them.  Values act as a guide, they help a team stay true to itself, and also adapt so that they find new ways to live their values.  Scrum comes out of the box with a set of 5 values.  The Scrum values help us to think how to apply Scrum as it was intended. The Scrum values are Commitment, Courage, Openness, Focus and Respect.  Here we take a look at courage.


Courage for the Development Team

The team is committed to quality and good design, but it takes courage to stand up for these ideas, and say this is all we can deliver this Sprint and maintain a quality product.

Initially it can also take courage to ask your team mates for help.  Maybe you are used to working along on problems, banging your head against a brick wall until you finally manage to smash through.  But now by being courageous and asking for help, maybe another member of your team knows another way over, under or around that wall.  


Courage for the ScrumMaster

It takes courage for a ScrumMaster to be the guardian of the rules, but if they have been agreed, then as long as you are applying the rules for the benefit of the team, the Product Owner or the organisation, courage may be needed.  As a ScrumMaster I remember ending a Sprint Review at the end of 2 hours (this is what had been agreed), only half the work had been reviewed.  The Product Owner was furious (and he was a lot more senior than me), but the problem was this was the first time he had seen the work, and there was little trust in the team, therefore he was going through everything in a lot of detail, wasting the time of other important stakeholders.  Anyway having the courage to do what had been agreed changed the Product Owners behaviours and he went and worked more closely with the team, as a result the next Sprint Review was a lot more effective.

Half of the role of the ScrumMaster is working with the wider organisation on organisational development issues that will allow the team to be more successful.  This means working with and influencing anybody within the organisation, this may require courage.


Courage for the Product Owner

One of the most important things a Product Owner does is to say “No”, but this takes courage.  When stakeholders give feedback it is important to them, but as a Product Owner you are committed to delivering the right thing for your customers.  Saying I will add it to the backlog, with the knowledge it will never get to the top is not courageous, and leads to an ever growing backlog that needs to be managed. 

It also takes courage for a Product Owner to be a Product Owner.  If new to the role, it may take courage to say, hey I don’t know how to do this.  The Product Owner is ultimately responsible for the success of the Product, that’s a lot of responsibility and a courageous Product Owner embraces this, and it helps them thrive in the role.


Learn more about the five Scrum Values in our Scrum Fundamentals series.

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