In Scrum Fundamentals, Values

Scrum Values: Focus

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 focus.


Focus for the Development Team

Keeping things as simple as possible really helps with Focus.  Many organisations worry about how much stuff (output) we are able to deliver or talk about a team’s productivity.  A great team is focussed on maximising business outcomes with the least possible output.  It is therefore important for the team to focus on the vision when making decisions, what’s the simplest thing that allows us to deliver the value to the customer.

In Scrum small is beautiful, things are simpler and it makes it easier to focus.  The team itself is no more than 9 people, as you get bigger than this it becomes very difficult for the team to function.  The work is broken into small chunks, that helps the team focus on getting stuff Done.  Time is small, we don’t have to worry about everything we are doing on the project in the next 18 months, because if we think about/plan that there are too many unknown unknowns.  It’s what can we focus on? that we know enough about for the next Sprint.  Each Sprint the Development Team focuses on the Sprint goal, adapting how it delivers based on what it is learning about the problem domain.

Stop spinning lots of plates working on everything, this is stressful and ends up with nothing getting done.  A great team focuses on finishing things, once something is finished then maybe it is time to start something new.


Focus for the ScrumMaster

It is important for a ScrumMaster to create an environment whereby the Development Team can focus.  Therefore protecting the team from interruptions that takes them away from their focus on achieving the goal.

There is also a focus needed on yourself, a great ScrumMaster will set time aside for developing themselves.  If you don’t invest in yourself how can you expect others to invest in themselves.  


Focus for the Product Owner

One of the most important things a Product Owner does is focus everybody on the Vision, making sure the team and stakeholders are aligned around the outcomes we are trying to achieve.   They focus on the market, this understanding helps them make decisions on what to focus on next.

They also focus on what the team is delivering, so that they can give timely feedback and avoid wasted effort delivering the wrong thing.

The fact that the Product Owner is 1 person and not a committee helps bring focus to the team.


Learn more about the Scrum Values and Roles as part of our Scrum Fundamentals series, and download a pdf of the Scrum Guide.

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Scrum Values: Openness