In Scrum Fundamentals, Values

Scrum Values: Openness


Scrum Values:  Openness

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 openness.


Openness for the Development Team

As a young developer each week I would sit in the weekly project status meeting and say things like I am 80% through my work package, the following week I would be 81% through.  It’s funny how that last 20% took most of the time.  I was not being very open, and there was no transparency on the progress I was making, as I was only talking code I had written, not how much potentially shippable product we had.  The fact that in an Agile world we measure progress in terms of the amount of working product, allows us to have an open conversation about what is still left, this transparency is essential for building trust with customers. Teams who get this wrong are not open about the progress they are making, they will call things done and move on, this debt has to be paid off before the product can be delivered, this approach erodes trust. 


Openness for the ScrumMaster

As a ScrumMaster I find it best to avoid scribbling lots of notes in your notebook while the team is having a conversation.  Otherwise the team will start with the looks, what are they writing about me now.  If something is important to be captured write it on a sticky note and paste it on a relevant part of the teams wall of information radiators, or better still ask the team to capture it.  Try to be open about everything, living this value really helps build trust.  How could you be more open?


Openness for the Product Owner

A great Product Owner doesn’t work alone, they are open and vulnerable enough to get input from stakeholders, customers and the team about every aspect of their work.  They are the final decision maker, but the act of co-creation around the vision, the Product Back, the Sprint Goals, gets everyone skin in the game.  Being open about why you are making decisions is also an important way to help build trust in you as a Product Owner.


The Sprint Review is a key time for the Product Owner to be open, it is an opportunity to not only look at what has been done but to look ahead at where we are going next.  Being open to the feedback that you get from everybody present, and being transparent about what you are going to do with that feedback. It doesn’t mean you have to put all feedback at the top of the Product Backlog, but you do need to show that you have listened to the feedback and you are open about what you are going to do with it.


Learn more about the Scrum Fundamentals in our blog series and download a free version of the Scrum Guide.

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Scrum Values: Respect